Sunday 9 September 2018
Chairman’s Reception at the Kyoto Train Museum
We commenced proceedings at the home of the famous Bullet Train. Japan’s high-speed rail network is universally regarded as a triumph of technical engineering. The journey, from a 1903 steam locomotive to the 300km per hour 500 Series Shinkansen, provides a fascinating insight into the country’s steps toward modernisation through its railway history.
Monday 10 September 2018
On the Monday spouses were immersed in ancient Japanese culture, visiting one of the city’s most beautiful districts, Arashiyama.
The tour guided delegates through the enchanting Bamboo Grove, where they were able to experience standing in the swaying realm of green bamboo before visiting the highlight of the tour – Tenryu-ji Temple, renowned for its triumphantly designed Zen garden and surrounded by breath taking mountain views.
Once spouses have taken in the temple surroundings they were treated to a truly unique zen lunch within the grounds of the Buddhist temple, at the famous Shigetsu. As spouses entered they sliped off their shoes and took their seats to experience a Shojin Ryori menu; a vegetarian Zen cuisine highly regarded for its form of spiritual practice.
Gala Dinner at the Okura Hotel
The IEC hosted an extravagant evening of entertainment and delegates witnessed the ‘breaking of the saké barrel’; the 300-year-old ceremony is often performed at celebratory events. The lid of the saké barrel is cracked opened with a wooden mallet before the rice wine is served – “Kanpai”.
Tuesday 11 September 2018
On Tuesday morning, delegated were offered the opportunity to visit to the iconic and picturesque Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine. At noon the spouse tour commenced with a fine dining lunch in the beautiful setting of Kotowa. Following lunch, there was an opportunity to tour the Sanjūsangen-dō temple – famed for its 1,000 life-size statues of the Thousand-Armed Kannon – the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, an awesome sight, which impressed with its scale and beauty.
Wednesday 12 September 2018
All Delegates Tour
A day dedicated to exploring the Imperial capital’s best preserved historic attractions in the Higashiyama region, along the lower slopes of Kyoto’s eastern mountains. We visited the stunning Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji), resplendently gilded both outside and in. A Zen temple since 1408, the pavilion is enveloped by serene gardens and peaceful ponds – a tranquil haven, which transports you a million miles away from the urban hustle of the city.
This was followed by lunch at The Sodoh – a gloriously secluded, elegant compound with immaculate gardens. After enjoying the restaurant’s exquisite food and setting, it was time to make the most of a leisurely afternoon.
Unwinding at The Sodoh’s open bar, venturing to the local area visiting the Jisho-ji temple, or simply soaking up the ambience of the district’s narrow, cobble-stone lanes. Lined with wooden buildings and traditional merchant shops and cafes, Higashiyama had been catering for tourists and pilgrims for centuries. Delegates were also able to seek out local specialties such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets, pickles, crafts and other souvenirs.