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DESTINATION | Kyoto, JAPAN JAN-FEB 2018 23 meetings & conventions • Venues with Verve Words Brooke Thio Hotels and resorts that inspire with creative themes Despite Kyoto's modern-day developments and its popularity with visitors from around the world, everything from the city's architecture and artefacts to its customs and festivals are marvellously well-preserved. Travel between Kyoto and neighbouring air hub Osaka also takes just 30 minutes on average, so its easy for international business travellers to hop over for meetings and events. Spaces that speak volumes Daigoji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the largest unique venues in Kyoto with seating for 750 guests in the Reihokan Hall, where most of its 75,522 designated National Treasures and Buddhist relics are housed. The temple also offers three landscaped outdoor spaces available for 200 to 1,500 people, and a function room for 120. Above: Scenic views at Daigoji Temple and Shijo Street Once the home of great Japanese painter Seiho Takeuchi, The Sodoh Higashiyama is today a private venue with a naturalist aesthetic, particularly in The Terrace, where full-height windows showcase the lush greenery outside. Five contemporary rooms are available for 50 to 200 guests. A sightseeing experience like no other awaits on Kyoto's public transport, namely the Eiden electric train line (Rakuhoku area) or Randen trolley line (Arashiyama area). Rail cars can be chartered for a travelling breakout session, reception, or party, with food and drinks served on board, while audiovisual equipment can also be supplied. It makes presentations that much more interesting. THE MAIN STAGE Kyoto's main conference facility, the Kyoto International Conference Center (ICC Kyoto) is in the midst of expansion. Reservations are already being taken for its New Hall, which will open in autumn 2018 with: • 2,000sqm of space for large-scale events • A capacity of over 4,000 guests in one zone, when combined with the existing Event Hall • A grand foyer and VIP room showcasing 30 products from Kyoto's traditional industries, such as ceramics, lacquered wood, and brocade upholstery Cultural immersion For newcomers to the country, participating in a Japanese tea ceremony can serve as a fine introduction to core Japanese values and customs. Several places offer this experience to foreign visitors but Kyoto's Murin-an Garden has perhaps the most picturesque setting. Active groups can learn to move to the same beat with a Taiko drumming workshop. Playing the traditional instrument, which means "fat drum", will build listening skills and team cohesion as different rhythms combine to create a complex and rousing sequence.

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