by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Mice Net : December 2008
japan Our second day in Kyoto started with site inspections at The Westin Miyako and Hotel Granvia. The Westin Miyako has spectacular views over the city and each of its event spaces makes the most of landscaped gardens with bubbling waterfalls. As well as having standard and deluxe accommodation rooms, this property also features traditional Ryokan rooms. The Hotel Granvia is connected with JR Kyoto Station. The style of its grand entrance continues through to the top floor which has striking inner city views. Finding myself being wrapped in a traditional Japanese Kimono at our next stop was an unforgettable experience. At Tondaya, which is a Kimono Merchant House, we had a chance to immerse ourselves in Kyoto culture and were part of a traditional tea ceremony and bento-box style lunch. The family occupying this house have lived and worked here for many generations. After a quick tour of the Golden Temple and ducking and weaving around school groups we had a chance to escape the 30 degree heat and refresh before dinner. The extravagant meal in The Garden Oriental was followed by Geisha spotting in the streets of Kyoto. Meandering our way around the backstreets of Kyoto was such a great way to experience this diverse city and we were lucky enough to spot two Geishas tacking their way down a narrow street flanked with businessmen in suits. We all needed a drink after the excitement of our first Geisha sighting and our guide James found a little bottle shop that is transformed into a standing bar at night. Guests are free to choose what drinks and nibbles they like from the shelves, and when you’re ready to leave a little old lady with an abacus counts up the damage. The two days we spent in Osaka was a combination of delicious food, quality venues and cultural experiences. Taiko-en was our first stop after checking into the Swissotel Nankai. Taiko-en is a unique venue which was built 90 years ago in a traditional Japanese style and features banquet halls with western architecture that look out over Japanese gardens. With our tummies full after feasting on the delicious cuisine of the property’s restaurant, we had a quick look around the Hotel New Otani before walking off our lunch at Osaka Castle. After exploring the majestic castle we tried our hand at making a popular local dish, Takoyaki, which is a small savoury octopus dumpling made using a tiny hotplate with cup shape indentations. Osaka is known for being the place to shop and eat, so to get the chance to have a look at the main shopping area, Dotonbori, was a treat. Making our way through the crowds passing the numerous shops – it seemed you could find everything here! And speaking of places to eat… we were treated to our last dinner of the trip at the Swissotel’s Shun Kushiage & Wine Restaurant. Kushiage is a Japanese way to deep-fry meat, seafood and vegetables on bamboo skewers. The Swissotel’s version of this cuisine has been transformed into a sensory experience where guests can enjoy fresh vegetables served on ice with a range of flavoured vinegar ‘sprays’. This restaurant is very unique and also offers a water menu where guests can choose from a range of H2O that feature different minerals and carbonation from around the world. On our last day we had the chance to look at the Osaka International Convention Centre which was built in 2000 and hosts around 2000 events per year. After a site inspection at the Rihga Royal Hotel and its array of function spaces we had some fun at Universal Studios Japan (USJ). We jumped on a couple of rides, got soaked on one, and screamed our lungs out on the rest! We also had a look at the event possibilities and could imagine how much fun a corporate group would have. For event planners looking for a unique destination I highly recommend Japan. Although Tokyo may be the city that comes to mind when you think of Japan, explore its other prefectures to discover the country’s culture, history and especially cuisine. And I must thank Minako Aoshima from JNTO who taught me a host of helpful phrases and I look forward to learning more if I ever have the opportunity for a return trip. 112 mice.net