AFAR Experiences Tokyo - ITINERARY*
November 10 – 13, 2017
We spent 4 nights/3 days in Tokyo filled with compelling speaker talks, intimate and behind the scenes access to the some of the city’s most remarkable people and places, and celebratory evenings full of amazing food, music and entertainment.
Event program commenced with an opening reception on Friday November 10th at 5:30pm, and concluded with a farewell celebration on the night of Monday, November 13th. *Itinerary details are subject to change.
Welcome to Tokyo
Friday November 10
5:30pm – 8:30pm
From the spectacular rooftop of Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills, our World of Hyatt partner hotel, the opening event will be a celebration of seasonal cuisine, local artists, craftsmen and musicians. Hear from Shinichiro Ogata, the founder of leading Japanese design firm Simplicity, and take part in a sake tasting led by renowned expert John Gauntner.
Saturday November 11
Depart from hotel
9am – 10:30am
Opening Speaker Session
Award winning journalist, author and foreign affairs expert Yoichi Funabashi will open our program with an insightful overview on the current state of Japan in relation to the economics, politics and societal views. Funabashi-san will speak to us on the grounds of International House, a non-profit organization supported by the Rockefeller Foundation created to promote cultural exchange and intellectual cooperation between Japan and other countries.
11am – 1pm
Speaker Session and Lunch
The nuclear disaster of Fukushima, triggered by the Tohoku earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011, devastated an entire region. We’ll hear from Azby Brown, director of Safecast, a globally revered citizen science project, on how the communities affected have recovered, what challenges still remain, and how open data technology has contributed to that recovery.
1pm – 4pm
Breakout Session I, various locations
Tokyo culture is best experienced in small groups. These breakouts offer more intimate, behind the scenes encounters with local experts. A final list of all breakout sessions will be shared with registered attendees approximately 10 days prior to event date.
4pm – 6:30pm
6:30pm – 10pm
Dine Out with the locals
In small groups, experience Tokyo’s lively streets in the company of a trusted local resident. With your new friend by your side to help navigate, you’ll visit some of their favorite spots, like hole-in-the-wall izakayas and hard-to-find, one of a kind restaurants. Discover the back streets of Tokyo’s many vibrant neighborhoods, from Nakameguro to Shimo-kitazawa and beyond.
Sunday November 12
9:45am – 12pm
Japanese tea ceremony
Experience the exquisite tradition of a Japanese tea ceremony in a private and idyllic setting at the renowned Nezu Museum. Gain rare access to the museum’s traditional teahouse, set among the winding, leafy paths of beautifully tranquil Japanese gardens.
12:30pm – 2:30pm
Speaker Session and Lunch
The word design could be a synonym for Japan. Kazuko Koike, one of the country’s leading cultural figures and most respected experts in contemporary creative life, will lead a fascinating discussion about the role of simplicity and usefulness in Japanese design culture and in daily life.
3pm – 6:30pm
7pm – 10pm
Shinto ceremony and Dinner
At the historic Konno Hachiman-gu shrine in Shibuya, learn about Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion and experience an ancient ritual and blessing by the resident Shinto priest.
Monday November 13
9am – 11:30am
Breakout Sessions II, various locations
11:30am – 1:45pm
Lunch and Free Time
2:30pm – 4pm
Take a deeper dive into the fascinating and fanciful world of Japanese pop culture phenomena through conversation with Mami Kataoka, chief curator of the contemporary Mori Art Museum, and Matt Alt, pop culture expert. From manga to anime and everything in between, we’ll explore the trajectory of Japan’s biggest, and quirkiest, export.
4:30pm – 8pm
Farewell Cocktail and Dinner
A visit to Tokyo wouldn’t be complete without visiting the elegant and iconic Park Hyatt hotel. We’ll have private access to its renowned New York Bar and Grill for sunset cocktails followed by a very special dinner high above the magical, neon city lights.
8:30pm – 11pm
The Final Final
Let’s not say goodbye just yet. After dinner, we’ll carry on with an after party at a local establishment where the sake will continue to flow, as we toast our final night together. Kampai!
Cool Japan's Ground Zero: a Tour of Nakano Broadway
Godzilla. Giant robots. Anime. Manga. Cosplay. Video games. The Nakano Broadway complex is like a diamond-polished window into the hearts and souls of the otaku — “hyper-consumers" who worship at the altar of Japanese pop culture. Nakano Broadway is a scruffy, homegrown, grassroots free-for-all that’s evolved over the decades from a simple shopping center into a sprawling super-complex of shops, restaurants, and event spaces — the beating heart of Japan’s vibrant nerd culture and home to some of its most interesting retailers and creators, ranging from anime and manga artists to pop artist Takashi “Superflat" Murakami, who keeps his business offices there. Writer and translator Matt Alt leads a journey into this real-life wonderland to learn what makes these quirky Japanese creations so enduringly popular around the world.Bike Ride through historic Asakusa
Tour and discover the city of Asakusa in a fun and informative way by cycling alongside your local guide. During this two-hour experience, you will pass a variety of interesting locations like Sensō-ji Temple, Old Geisha House, Tokyo Skytree, Kappabashi (Tokyo's famous kitchen supply area), and traditional crafts stores. The guide will lead at your preferred pace, and you can stop occasionally to admire and snap photos of the sights. Enjoy an atmospheric east-end town that is preserving the boisterous feel of old-time Tokyo. PLAEASE NOTE: Must be comfortable riding in traffic.Beautiful Blue: Indigo Dye workshop
If you’re a true fan of Japanese traditional art and culture, you can’t miss this incredible activity. The Indigo Dye workshop will take you to an Atelier in Asakusa, Tokyo, where you can experience Aizome, or indigo dyeing, firsthand. Characterized by its naturally rich, blue shade, Aizome is also known by many as “Japan blue.” Passed down from ancient times in Japan, the rich indigo color and dyeing process has entranced visitors for generations.Shopping for Mingei - the beauty of Japanese Craftsmanship
Japanese crafts range from folk art to fine art, and we’ll enjoy the whole range of functional traditional crafts from the south-most islands of Okinawa to Hokkaido. KYOKO MIMURA takes you to Bingoya, the one and only shop in Tokyo that displays the widest range of resilient traditional folk arts. Afterward, travel to Aoyama Square, where works from government designated official traditional craft industries are displayed. You can compare the beauty of pure-traditional to contemporary design-oriented works—and buy them too!The World of Ramen
Did you know there are over 10,000 ramen shops in the Tokyo metropolitan area alone? Meet Hiroshi Shimakage—a ramen expert who, aside from having eaten at thousands of ramen shops, has also worked in the kitchen alongside some of Japan's most famous ramen masters. Join Hiroshi to check out a few of Tokyo's leading new ramen shops to learn what makes these bowls so special—and just how deep this ramen world goes. PLEASE NOTE: Not suitable for vegetarians.Craft Sake Tasting
There’s a revolution happening in the sake world. Small craft brewers are combining centuries-old techniques with modern knowhow to create complex, genre-smashing brews that tease extraordinary flavours from rice. Drink writer Nicholas Coldicott, co-founder of the Kurokura craft sake label, will lead a tasting of some of the finest and rarest sakes around, from umami bombs to citrus stunners. PLEASE NOTE: Location is at Andaz Tokyo Hotel.
Join tour guide Yumiko Nakamura for a walking tour of Yanaka, Tokyo's most traditional district. One of our first stops will be Ueno Sakuragi Atari, three restored houses from 1938 that now hold a beer hall, shops, and community spaces. Ueno Sakuragi Atari is a unique chance to see the charming architecture of the early Showa period. We’ll also explore the Asakura Museum of Sculpture, which was once the former residence and studio of renowned sculptor Asakura Fumio. Lastly, the Yanaka Ginza shopping district will give participants the chance to explore unique specialty shops.
Tokyo Architecture Walk I
Explore Tokyo’s equivalent of an inner-city Beverly Hills in Omotensando—a finely interwoven fusion of wealth and eccentricity, which makes it Japan’s most desirable urban neighborhood. This tour with JONI WAKA will cover contemporary architecture, design, and fashion with historical references and behind-the-scene accounts. This tour includes notable buildings and their interiors, and will be led by internationally acclaimed architect Yoshio Taniguchi, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki, and the hottest of Japan’s new wave architects, Klein Dytham architecture.Tokyo Architecture Walk II
JONI WAKA leads you to explore Tokyo’s equivalent of Madison Avenue, the glamorous Ginza shopping district. This area has enjoyed a recent revival as a major commercial center in Japan, and the tour will cover art, architecture, design and fashion. Notable highlights will include buildings by the Centre Pompidou-Metz architect Shigeru Ban, 2020 Olympic Stadium architect Kengo Kuma, Italian architect Renzo Piano and Spanish architect Ricardo Bofill.Nikon Photo Walk
Join acclaimed photographer, and Nikon Ambassador, Matthew Jordan Smith for a walking tour of Tokyo, seen from a photographer’s perspective. You’ll receive your own Nikon D7500 to use for the duration of the photo walk, with hands on instruction to ensure everyone captures memorable photos. The tour will begin at Meiji Shrine, one of Japan’s most popular shrines. Our second stop will be Yoyogi Park, a popular gathering spot for rock music fans, jugglers, acting and hobby groups. We’ll finish the tour at Harajuku, a famous section of Tokyo and the epicenter of teen fashion and pop culture. Here, you’ll experience Japanese crepes, fashion boutiques, gift shops and more.Tsukiji Market Tour
Tsukiji fish market is known as the world's largest, busiest fish market. Here, we’ll learn about Japanese food culture and Japanese local life, with an emphasis on how fresh fish are delivered to local Japanese people. This 80-year-old historical market is planning to relocate to another part of Tokyo next year, so this is the very last chance to experience the original, traditional market! PLEASE NOTE: Must wear closed-toe, flat shoes.The History of the Kimono
Kyoko Yoshii, the fifth-generation owner of Chojiya Kimono, a traditional kimono craftsman shop with a 200-year history, is offering guests the chance to experience a customized fitting of a silk-made authentic Kimono. This activity allows guests to learn about this culturally significant garment and to wear the authentic garment in the center of Tokyo. PLEASE NOTE: wide-neck undershirts, such as tank tops, V-necks or scoop necks, must be worn on the activity day.Seasonality in Japanese cuisine: Cooking Demo
Washoku, Japan’s indigenous food culture, is characterized by its seasonal sensibility—enjoying the bounty of each season, in its turn. One of November’s culinary delights is edible chrysanthemum. Elizabeth Andoh, a Japanese food authority, has invited us to her home for a cooking demonstration and to enjoy a gluten-free, vegetarian obentō that includes yellow and purple chrysanthemum flowers and their leafy greens. The menu celebrates Shichi-go-san (literally “Seven-Five-Three”), an autumnal festival honoring children aged seven, five and three. If clear skies prevail, we get an extra treat: a view of Mount Fuji from Elizabeth’s kitchen window!Tokyo Tour with the Animals
Join SONOE AZUMA of Unagi Travel, a Japanese travel agency exclusively for stuffed animals, for a behind-the-scene walking tour of Tokyo—with fluffy stuffed animals from around the world in tow. Making stops at Meiji Shrine, Imperial Palace, Tokyo Station, and more. Sonoe will show you how she entertains and takes photos of the stuffed animal travelers in her care.I'll Do My Own Thing