On Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, Sapporo is
emerging as a favorite meeting destination for its all-around ease. The city’s event facilities and 20,000 hotel
rooms all lay within one kilometer of Sapporo Station,
which connects visitors to New Chitose Airport in 37
minutes via the airport express train. Hotel rates are also
half the cost of what they are in Tokyo.
There are a number of venues to choose from, and Sapporo Convention Center is among the most versatile. Its
multipurpose spaces, including the 28,000-square-foot
main hall, can accommodate conferences, exhibitions,
and meetings. Unusual off-site venues — like Sapporo
JRA Racecourse, Japan’s only racecourse with event space,
hosting functions of up to 300 guests — are plentiful.
Sapporo’s educational institutions and research facilities have played a large role in attracting notable academic events. The Asian Chemical Congress will meet in
Sapporo in 2017, largely due to efforts by Sapporo-based
Dr. Akira Suzuki, a 2010 Nobel Prize laureate for chemistry. And the city is no stranger to hosting major international events, including the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the
34th G8 Summit in 2008.
With four months of snow, Sapporo has some of Japan’s best ski resorts. Groups can visit (or meet at) the
Okurayama Ski Jump Stadium — built for the 1972 Winter Olympics — any time of the year. Other group-friend-ly attractions include sake and whiskey distilleries, hot
springs, and a number of outdoor activities.
For more information: Sapporo Convention Bureau —
Dima Azarov, MICE Sales and Services; + 81 ( 11) 211 3675;
Sendai is known as The City of Trees because of its many
parks and the thick rows of Zelkova trees that line its
main avenues downtown. But Sendai is just as smart as
it is beautiful, as the city is home to a major academic
research hub. Sendai’s more than 16 universities and
colleges — along with research institutes like Tōhoku
University’s New Industry Creation Hatchery Center and
its International Research Institute of Disaster Science
— offer a wealth of expertise and inspiration for the
meetings that convene there. Tōhoku University also has
its own collection of on-site spaces for conferences, including the acoustically calibrated Kawauchi Hagi Hall,
which seats 1,235 people for lectures.
In March 2011, the most powerful earthquake in
Japan’s history struck the coast near Sendai, causing a
CREATIVE CELEBRATION During Sendai’s Tanabata Festival,
colorful streamers made of washi paper and bamboo along with
other intricate paper decorations fill downtown.
tsunami that ripped through the city and the rest of the
Tōhoku region. Since then, Sendai has rebuilt much of its
damaged infrastructure. The new Sendai Subway Tozai
line opens in December 2015, and the Miyagi Exhibition
Center (Yume Messe Miyagi) — the largest expo facility
in the Tohoku region, with more than 80,000 square feet
of exhibition space — has resumed operations. Groups
interested in learning more about the disaster and the
city’s recovery can take the Disaster Risk Reduction Tour.
For more information: Sendai Tourism, Convention,
and International Association — + 81 ( 22) 268 9603;
PERENNIAL FAVORI TE Sapporo was ranked No. 7 on TripAdvisor’s
2013 list of 10 rising destinations, and No. 3 in Japan on the International Congress and Convention Association’s (ICCA) 2014 list.