The islands’ tagline for MICE is ‘Okinawa Japan – where inspiration meets’, and that inspiration certainly attracts a business events wave: 1,238 MICE events were held in 2018. Okinawa Prefecture is located in the southern most region of Japan and represents a group of 160 islands, 47 of which are inhabited by around 1.4m people.
The Main island offers the main business events opportunities and the Okinawa MICE brand offers various venue options and potential for scientific research to turbo charge your conference, as well as providing a unique pull for incentives groups.
Okinawa’s Naha airport is the main island gateway – and a second runway opened in March.
The Okinawa Urban Monorail, or Yui Rail, operates between Naha airport and Shuri Castle on Okinawa Main Island, and was recently expanded to now offer 19 stops along route, making it a great way to see many key sights.
As well as sharing traditional Japanese culture, the original Okinawa offer includes the Ryukyu Glassworks and traditional dancing experiences (Okinawa world) , cultural tea experiences, wellness and health options, as well as the opportunity to visit the coral fields.
Other unique Okinawa options include sampling one of the many festivals celebrated throughout the year, such as Ufuya, below. Ufuya which can be accessed from Naha Airport by car in 90 minutes, is surely one of unique venues in Okinawa. This venue is a nostalgic recreation of the traditional Okinawan village. Eight houses were built over 100 years ago and restored to serve local cuisine. A separate complex is perfect for a party.
You can even take your delegates to take a closer look into how karate began. The Okinawa Karate Kaikan karate experience venue is one such venue worth a visit
It has been written that Okinawa claims the most centenarians in the world. The laid back ambience in this ‘Hawaii of Japan’ is certainly conducive to longevity. And maybe your guests might like to explore the cuisine that feeds such longevity with one of the many cooking masterclasses available.
Numerous high-end hotels serve a thriving leisure tourism industry, bolstered by Okinawa’s pristine waters ideal for diving.
The hotel infrastructure is, of course, ideal for conferencing and Okinawa has a range of venues from boutique hotels right up to centres able to host thousands of delegates. Two of the new hotels are the Halekulani Okinawa in the north part of the island and the Hotel Collective in Naha city centre and just 15 minutes from the airport by car.
Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University
The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) is not just a top academic research institution (New Nature Index places it in the top 10 global institutions worldwide for research) but can offer a collection of meeting venues, both in its own complex and at the hotels nearby, first and foremost at the Hyatt Regency Seragaki Island and the ANA InterContinental Manza beach resort.
David Swinbanks, Founder of the Nature Index, notes that although OIST is a relatively small institution compared to the world’s top universities, it takes its place in that top 10 ranking due to its “interdisciplinarity, with the strong embrace of collaboration across fields, and in several cases, the backing of Nobel laureates”.
“Our placement in the ranking demonstrates that with the appropriate conditions world-class research can be performed in a very young university. We owe this to the strong support by the Japanese government and the guidance of leading scientists,” adds OIST President Peter Gruss.
Many scientific and research-based conferences are drawn by the quality opportunities to collaborate with OIST and its leading academics.
OIST, which is an interdisciplinary graduate school, attracts over half of its faculty and students from outside Japan and all teaching and research is carried out in English. There is also a 3:1 student to faculty ratio at OIST, which is a Special Private School Corporation, funded mostly by the Japanese government but granted administrative freedom to take innovative initiatives.
The OIST strong suit fields of research include: physics, chemistry, neuroscience, marine science, environmental and ecological sciences, mathematical and computational sciences, as well as molecular, cellular and developmental biology.
Science & MICE
OIST has held an annual Science Festival since 2008, with the number of participants increasing from 629 up to 5,000.
As well as a host of international workshops to enhance co-operation with Japanese and overseas research and academic institutions, OIST actively contributes to the sustainable development of the region.
To facilitate these objectives, OIST offers state-of-the-art facilities for research, comfortable and convenient lodging for visiting professors and exchange students, and attractive and functional venues for international symposia, workshops, and industrial-related and community-related events. Guest wireless LAN is provided free of charge across the campus.
The OIST Conference Center consists of a 493-seat auditorium, four meeting rooms, a spacious lobby and office space.
Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that OIST is currently not accepting new applications for events planned up to the end of May 2020 (usually – in non-coronavirus times – April and May is a popular time with Japanese tourists and best avoided in any case for business events), but organisers considering holding event after June 2020 are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org