The Japanese culture is based on working together as a group, so local experiences in Tokyo translate well into teambuilding scenarios. The Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau (TCVB) can help organize everything from Taiko drumming to team cooking to meditation that can bond and rejuvenate groups visiting the city.
A more traditional approach to teambuilding includes a tea ceremony, the ritual of preparing, serving and tasting Japanese green tea. A tea ceremony master will help attendees observe the proper way of sitting, accepting the cup and sipping the tea during a formal ceremony in a tatami room or outside in a garden. Several hotels in Tokyo host hour-long tea ceremonies. For instance, at Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo, attendees can participate in one of the onsite Japanese teahouses—one of which has been registered as a tangible cultural asset—located in the hotel’s garden.
The TCVB offers complimentary teambuilding programs for groups with 400 visitor nights staying in Tokyo. Meeting planners get a choice of an entertainment or program option, which could include a Taiko drumming class for up to 100 people or a Japanese cooking class for up to 45.
More rhythmic groups will want to take the Taiko drumming class. Attendees are divided into teams, each consisting of different sizes of drums so that various participants in the team can create a variety of pitches. Taiko drumming instructors will teach the group how to strike the drums in sync, producing a traditional rhythmic sound together.
Groups can also participate in a sushi-making class. Again, attendees will divide into teams to put together authentic ingredients onto a bed of rice and roll them inside dried seaweed. Points are based on merits such as originality, speed, presentation and working as a team. Regardless of which team wins, the group will eat the traditional Japanese meal together after getting their hands dirty.
“Tokyo is a very unique and exciting business events destination, and we definitely see an increasing interest from the surrounding market since we started the special offers for corporate events,” explains Hiro Fujimura, director of sales for the TCVB Business Events Team.
The TCVB can also organize for attendees to make their own bonsai in a planting pot. This activity is especially ideal for business meetings with an eco or green theme, as it engages attendees on this ancient form of nurturing nature. Creating origami objects is another way for groups to let out some creativity by building multifolded animals, flowers or boats.
About a two-hour’s drive outside of Tokyo stands Mt. Mitake, said to be one of the most hallowed spots in the Tokyo area. Groups can retreat to the area, popular amongst mountain priests, where they can practice meditation at the historical shine located at the top of the mountains. They can also hike among the forests and waterfalls and stay at a mountain lodge.