Ancient Japanese swords, samurai duels and swinging jazz music, all topped off with a round of sake. What if I told you a night this wild was hosted by none other than the Tokyo Metropolitan Government?
Eyes around the world are on Japan thanks to the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the recent G20 Summit and the country’s ever-continuing surge into foreign markets. Right now, the iron is ready to strike for showing just what makes this city special.
Popular among foreign tourists, The Japanese Sword Museum hosted the first in TMG’s series of “unique venue” initiatives set about promoting Tokyo’s lesser-known MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) spaces. This set of events is planned to promote Tokyo’s identity as a cultural hub and highlight various venues across town, such as museums and gardens that can be used for meetings, events and receptions.
A Night at the Sword Museum
The action-packed event at the sword museum, which opened at its new, state-of-the-art Sumida Ward location in 2018, started off with the unveiling of the museum’s latest exhibition. Dozens of full katanas and independent blades, casings and holsters were set up on the top floor, creating a sea of swords wherever you turned. The immaculate, contemporary works mimicked the swords of old, allowing for visitors to see what the samurais’ katanas would have looked like in their prime.
The exhibit was a fitting kickoff for this year’s unique venues initiative, giving a nod to the larger Tokyo Tokyo program, which aims to deliver the message of Japan’s historic past coexisting with the blazing future.
Following the sword showcase, several more events were put on throughout the night to pull the audience into the katana’s history. After performing a personal cleansing ceremony, two practitioners clashed for several minutes in a mock duel. Another demonstrator calmed the atmosphere of the room with a sharpening demonstration.
A sake tasting table was also set up with a dizzying array of flavors. From light, sweet yuzu sake to cups that could knock you out in one sip, there was a bottle for every kind of sake aficionado. Accompanying the table was none other than Sae Haruta, Miss Sake 2019.
For those wanting to take a break and relax, visitors could also listen to live music or take a stroll through the facility’s gardens. The band, combining traditional Japanese styles and a more modern jazz sound, further emphasized the fusion of Tokyo’s traditional and contemporary culture.
Tokyo’s Culture on Display
With this program, the city aims to promote culturally rich locations to businesses that might have otherwise overlooked them. What might have been seen as a simple tourist attraction can be opened to new ideas for clients and special meetings. Further benefiting the local venues, TMG is offering training to help organizers gain experience in managing larger events.
The next unique venues event will occur in October at a to-be-decided location. After that, TMG plans to hold one last 2019 event in December at the Former Residence of the Maeda Family. Going into the next year, 2020’s host of MICE events will kick off at Kiyosumi Garden in March.
For those who want to see the devotion and craftsmanship on display, the current exhibition at The Japanese Sword Museum (Contemporary Swords and Artworks – The Ancient Techniques Inherited for Generations) runs through August 18, 2019.
Find details on our Events listing.