Fun Activities for Overseas Visitors

Tokyo Metropolitan Government offers several complimentary tours and programs specially tailored to provide overseas registered participants with various experiences of Tokyo and its vicinity from nature and culture to other attractions [Flyer].

Tokyo City Information Desk

To join the above activities, please register on-site at the Tokyo City Information Desk located in the conference hotel:

  • Aug 7: 8:30-17:00 Concord Ballroom Foyer (5th Floor)
  • Aug 8-10: 8:00-17:00 Concord Ballroom Foyer (5th Floor)
  • Aug 11: 8:00-17:00 Main Entrance Lobby near the Bell Desk (3rd Floor)


Timetable of Programs and Tours

Date SIGIR 2017 program AM
August 7 Tutorials and
Doctoral Consortium
T-1 Meiji Jingu Shrine
August 8 Main Conference(1) T-5 Day trip to Mt. Takao (9:00-17:00)
August 9 Main Conference(2) C-1 Dress in Kimono 
August 10 Main Conference(3) T-3 TOKYO SKYTREE T-4 River Cruise and Hama-rikyu Gardens 
C-2 Japanese Tea Ceremony
August 11 Workshops T-1 Meiji Jingu Shrine T-2 Edo-Tokyo Museum and Asakusa

Japanese Cultural Programs

To provide an opportunity to experience Japanese traditions, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government will offer complimentary Japanese cultural programs, conducted in English. Participants from overseas, including their family and friends, can attend any of these programs free of charge. To take part, please visit the “Tokyo City Information Desk” at the conference venue. Children under 18 are not admitted to the Japanese Cultural Program.

  • C-1 Dress in Kimono (August 9)
  • C-2 Japanese Tea Ceremony (August 10)


Tokyo City Tours

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will offer a range of complimentary bus tours with an English-speaking guide for participants from overseas and their families, to help them enjoy the most popular sightseeing areas in Tokyo. Participants from overseas, including their family and friends, can participate in any of the tours free of charge. To join the tours, please visit the “Tokyo City Information Desk” at the conference venue.

Half Day Trip

T-1 Meiji Jingu Shrine (August 7, 13:30-17:00; August 11, 9:00-12:30)

The Meiji Jingu Shrine is a Shinto shrine, established in 1920, dedicated to Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken. Over 100,000 trees were donated by people from all over Japan back then, creating the expanse of forest and gardens that can be seen today. On the first few days of every New Year, more than three million people visit Meiji Jingu, making it the most-visited shrine in Japan. The Meiji Jingu Shrine is also the place where Japanese people honor life events, such as births, weddings, and New Year’s celebrations.


T-2 Edo-Tokyo Museum and Asakusa (August 11, 13:30-17:00)

The Edo-Tokyo Museum introduces the history and culture of Edo (the ancient name for Tokyo). You will hear fascinating stories about the city’s captivating past, be able to look at a traditional playhouse (theatre), and experience scenes from everyday life that will transport you back in time to the Edo period (1603-1868). This museum presents visitors with a unique opportunity to compare and contrast old Edo with modern Tokyo, so you can appreciate how Tokyo has transformed over the years.

Asakusa Temple is a historical haven in modern Tokyo, a gem of the old Edo (1603-1868). Founded in 628, it is the capital’s most famous and oldest Buddhist temple. The famed entrance gate Kaminari-mon (Thunder Gate), with its huge red lantern, is a symbol of Asakusa. A 200 meter street of traditional stalls leads from the Kaminari-mon to the temple, and is always a highlight for visitors.

t2_1  t2_2

T-3 TOKYO SKYTREE® – A view above all others (August 10, 9:00-12:30)

The capital city’s latest icon, and the world tallest broadcasting tower at 634 meters high, is located in Sumida ward, where Edo culture thrives to this day. The elevator, moving at a top speed of 600 meters per minute, will take participants to the glass-enclosed 360°observation deck at 350 meters above ground. The main structure consists of a steel skeleton reinforced by steel frames to double the standard strength. Many of the famous features of the Tokyo cityscape, including Rainbow Bridge in the bay area, and, on a clear day, Mt. Fuji in the distance, can be enjoyed from the observation deck.

t3_1   t3_2

T-4 River Cruise and Hama-rikyu Gardens (August 10, 13:30-17:00)

This half-hour boat cruise down the Sumida River travels under some 14 bridges spanning Tokyo’s main river, showing many of the capital’s famous landmarks along the way. The cruise arrives at its destination, the majestic Hama-rikyu Gardens along the Tokyo Waterfront in Shiodome, where the participants can walk around a beautifully preserved garden which the family of the ruling Tokugawa Shogun owned from the 17th to mid-19th century and used to hunt with falcons.


Full Day Trip

Day trip to Mt. Takao – the western fringes of Tokyo (August 8, 9:00-17:00)

Travel beyond the western suburbs of Tokyo to a place where you can feel the Japanese spiritual world coexisting with nature. Mt. Takao is both a popular hiking spot and a religious destination. Yakuo-in, a Buddhist temple on Mt. Takao, was established in 8th century. The journey takes approximately an hour and a half from the venue to Mt. Takao, where you can enjoy clean, fresh air in a natural environment. You can also experience Goma Kito, a fire ritual performance by a priest. Shojin ryori, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, is included in the tour.