Kyoto, Japan's ancient capital, has one of the highest concentrations of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world. There are 17 historical sites, including Kinakau-ji (The Golden Temple), Kiyomizu-dera with water reputed to have curative properties, and Nijo-jo Castle, the Shogun's residence during the Tokugawa Shogunate era. It is a boon for planners, since event venues in Kyoto include perfectly preserved castles, shrines and temples, gardens and feudal mansions.
Kyoto is served by Kansai International Airport (KIX), as are the nearby cities of Osaka and Kobe. International flights arrive from U.S. destinations Honolulu, Seattle, San Francisco and New York. Visitors can reach Kyoto by train in approximately one hour and 15 minutes. A taxi from KIX to Kyoto train station costs USD $18.50.
Chief among the convention venues in Kyoto is the International Conference Centre, which has 1.68 million square feet of meeting space in three main sites: the Main Building, the Annex Hall and the Event Hall. Outdoor functions can be held in the ICC's Japanese gardens.
For corporate teams participating in incentive travel and conference delegates, preferred accommodations may be found 5 Star hotels like the Grand Prince Hotel and Westin Miyako Kyoto. However, more adventurous hotel venues in Kyoto include onsen resorts (hot springs) or ryokans (traditional Japanese inns). Boutique hotels, like Mume or The Screen, are also excellent choices for small groups. Ryokan Hiiragiya, an oasis in the heart of Kyoto near the ancient Imperial Palace, has welcomed visitors since 1818. Guests sleep in one of 28 tatami rooms, soak in a Japanese bath, relax in the garden, and savor the delights of Kyoto-style Kaiseki cuisine.
One of the more unique event venues in Kyoto is Studio Park, which provides a glimpse into Kyoto's samurai heritage. Kyoto visitors will also want to stroll through the world-famous Gion district and attend performances by maiko (apprentice geisha).
In Japan, there is an intricate code of etiquette. To avoid causing offense, don't mistake "Yes" (Hai) for agreement; it merely means "I see." Also, the phrase "that would be most difficult" is one of the strongest objections. Don't press the point further if you hear this phrase after making a request.
There is very a specific etiquette related to business cards. Business cards are always held at the upper corners and handed politely to the recipient with their name visible. When receiving a business card, accept by holding both lower corners. Study it carefully and place it in a business card holder.