Where Tokyo’s History Comes to Life

Historic spaces in the capital cater to modern needs while immersing business event groups in Japan’s cultural heritage

Tokyo’s unique and often historic event spaces offer groups a stunning contrast between the capital’s living, breathing heritage and the most modern of cities. For event planners, these spaces provide an exciting and unique alternative to venues found anywhere else on the planet.

A guide explains details about Happo-en’s historical gardens to familiarization-trip participants as they view a selection of bonsai trees

Happo-en,located in the quiet of Tokyo’s Shirokane district, served as a samurai family residence as far back as the 1600s and hosted many important guests. Today it has been transformed into a gorgeous venue waiting to be discovered and explored.

Amid stunning cherry blossom trees, there is a 500-year-old bonsai and a pond filled with around 100 massive koi carp. Happo-en offers the 240 sqm standaloneHakuhokan banquet hall for business events. The hall comes with its own kitchen with the main six-floor building featuring 23 rooms ranging in size from 54 sqm to 792 sqm.

That largest banquet room – Jour – is situated on the first floor and opens out into the spectacular gardens, ideal for indoor-outdoor events and receptions in a setting that is distinctly Japanese.

Happo-en’s chefs take delight in creating and sharing cuisine such as hand-rolled sushi as these familiarization-trip participants observed and later experienced

Happo-en is one of Tokyo’s historic venues that has been fitted out with every imaginable modern convenience. Groups will get a strong sense of Japan’s rich and varied heritage, yet will have technical options such as audio-visual equipment and online access.

A variety of cultural experience programs is offered for planners catering for business events, receptions, and gala dinners. A recent lunchtime visit included a deep dive into Japanese food culture with a Hand-rolled Sushi Experience. Happo-en has a justified reputation for the quality of its food, and its chefs are experts when it comes to sharing this intimate and delicate cuisine.

There’s quite a contrast in moods here between old Japan, and the Tokyo of today, with the city’s skyscrapers providing a backdrop to all the greenery and all that history.

While Happo-en is not a hotel itself, the surrounding areas offer easy access some of the capital’s finest accommodation choices, which are suitable for MICE groups.

One of the teahouses at Hama-rikyu Gardens

Another heritage gem adapted for business events isHama-rikyu Gardens, nestled in the heart of one of the capital’s busiest business districts. The gardens were landscaped in the Edo period (1603-1867) and were once used by shoguns who came to rest and play. Today business events can be staged with a special atmosphere in Hama-rikyu’s two quaint chaya(teahouses).

More… How Tokyo is Enhancing its Event Appeal

Tokyo’s historic theaters offer another option for business events.Noh and Kyogen theaterare both art forms dating back to the 14thcentury with silence at the core as masked performers strip drama and human emotion down to its bare necessities.

The historic stage at  Kanze Noh-gakudo noh theater

The Kanze Noh-gakudo (Noh Theater)– located in Ginza – provides the very highest level of traditional Japanese performances on a 100-year-old stage situated right in the middle of Tokyo’s most fashionable shopping district. The solemn stage can host private events – with attendees observing ancient customs such as the wearing oftabisocks. The theater’s main hall can seat up to 480 people, while its lobby area can host 80 seated and 110 for cocktails. MICE groups can also take in a performance or a talk about the art and fully embrace authentic Japan.


Nowhere near as ancient – but of no less importance in terms of Japan’s history – is the iconic Tokyo Tower. Completed in 1958 and rising some 333 meters, the famous landmark offers event groups splendid views from the 40 sqm Top Deck – 250 meters up – and an ideal venue for their “party in the sky”. For event planners who want to offer their clients an exclusive 100 sqm space in which to take in the sights, there is the recently opened Club 333. Evening or daytime receptions can be hosted for up to 70 guests who will marvel at 360-degree views of the city from some 150 meters above ground.

mesm TOKYO – This 265-room waterfront hotel in Takeshiba is part of Marriotts Autograph Collection. It offers expansive views out across the historic Hama-rikyu Gardens and on through the capital, with a French restaurant and the Whisk bar on the 16th floor where groups can enjoy sunset drinks.

Bayside views from mesm Tokyo

Meetings & Events: Theres one event room available, covering 180 sqm and adaptable for banquets (40 guests), receptions (40 guests), in a classroom setting with 42 seats or as 60 in theater format.

GRAND NIKKO TOKYO DAIBA Guests at this 882-room hotel are treated to breathtaking views of the Rainbow Bridge and over the city from its waterfront position in the Daiba area. There are nine restaurants with the Teppanyaki Icho located on the 30th level offering two private rooms, plus more of those wonderful views.

Meetings & Events: There are 12 conference and events rooms available, as well as five banquet rooms, with the largest space the Palais Royal Ballroom (above)covering 2,580 sqm with a maximum buffet capacity for 3,200 guests.


Main picture: Traditional architecture at Hama-rikyu Gardens contrasts with Tokyo’s commercial buildings in the background


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