Olympics: Japan’s plans to boost nightlife

Tokyo – Japan’s business events segment is set to get a boost, thanks to a raft of new nightlife options in major cities across the country, with more planned in the lead up to the 2020 Olympics.

The move follows a 2017 survey in which international visitors to Japan complained that tourist spots closed too early and there was a dearth of activities in the evenings.

In February, business leaders in Kansai met to discuss how to develop new forms of evening entertainment, following the release of 2017 data showing more than twice as many tourists stay in Osaka than Kyoto because of Kyoto’s lack of entertainment at night.

In March, they Kyoto Convention & Visitors Bureau (KCVB) teamed up with the Kyoto Hanatouro Promotion Council and local businesses to offer a series of evening events combining a five-kilometre-long stretch of illumination to the foothills of Higashiyama, with an ikebana illuminated flower promenade and geisha performance. The event grew in popularity, and will most likely be continued.

Matthew Stevens, KCVB’s conventions and conferences specialist, described the event as “a wonderful way to enjoy night-time in Kyoto in a way that is both compatible with our community and truly magical for all who participate.” He added that the offering was suitable for corporate groups “as it is free and easy to plan for groups of all sizes”.

Meanwhile, the Osaka prefectural government is providing subsidies to seven projects to enhance the area’s nightlife. One such recipient is Club Piccadilly, which offers Friday night shows featuring ninjas.

Over in Tokyo, a number of hotels have teamed up with production companies to host evening shows featuring traditional entertainment. One organiser is Japan’s largest travel agency, JTB, which says it plans to stage performances at a permanent venue in 2019.

The capital’s Toshima Ward also launched a committee last December to discuss how to boost its evening offerings, while Fukuoka DC, an association of industry, government and academia in Kyushu, is planning to boost the city’s night entertainment in fiscal 2018. (TTG)