A travel bonanza was held at the Prahran Market’s Neil Perry Kitchen to celebrate everything that is Kansai! The Kansai region is made up of Mie, Nara, Wakayama, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyōgo and Shiga, as well as Tottori, Fukui and Tokushima. I’m sure you all know of Kyoto’s fascinating cultural hub full of beautiful temples and shrines, and Osaka’s delicious array of food, but the representatives that came down from the area brought with them information on some of Kansai’s hidden gems scattered all throughout the region.
The representatives from The Kansai Tourism Bureau, Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau, JR West, Nankai, Kintetsu, Keihan, Visit Wakayama, Hankyu Hanshin and Kyoto Hotel Co. were ready for a day full of events, and excited to talk to the people of Melbourne about their travel plans, provide them with recommendations and travel advice. There were brochures as far as the eye could see. Over 200 people stopped by to experience a little bit of Kansai in Melbourne. Kansai-style canapes were also served for attendees to get a taste of the region’s cuisine for themselves. Latte Art Champion Nobu Shimoyama also joined the event, serving up Kyoto matcha lattes for attendees, but if sake is more your style, the event also featured a tasting corner, with various brands of sake from different parts of the region.
Nobu from Superrandom preparing the iced matcha lattes!
This free event was the perfect opportunity for anyone wanting to put together research for their next holiday to Japan, for travel agents who wanted to find out more about the region, Japanese teachers wanting to put together an educational school trip, or even for ski/snowboarding fanatics or those who love the countryside. There really was something for everyone at the event!
I spoke with many attendees who not only enjoyed the food and drink served up for the event, but also found the information very insightful! Many guests spoke of their excitement to go to Japan again next after reading up and listening to the representatives talk about Kansai and all it has to offer. Even guests who frequently visited Japan mentioned having not yet visited some parts of the region, and their new-found inspiration and excitement to do just that. Some of the representatives were from transport companies and were able to assist attendees with their travel questions or needs, too.
Following the daytime event, the representatives moved on to a special VIP event at the residence of the Consul-General of Japan in Melbourne. Kansai style canapes were also served along with various sake from the region. The night event took on a slightly different style from the afternoon, as the night kicked off with a few brief speeches showcasing the Kansai region. The event was geared towards Melbourne-based Japanese media and those who have a close relationship working with Japanese companies and agencies or with the consulate and other esteemed guests.
It provided an opportunity for them to network, familiarise themselves with prefectures they may not know well, or learn more about them. Or experience some Japanese culture with calligraphy by Junko Azukawa or matcha lattes with Nobu Shimoyama.
The representatives used their time in Melbourne to connect with everyone they met and develop valuable relationships, and everyone they had the chance to talk with were left knowing that little bit more about Japan than before. The event ended up not only being educational, but thoroughly enjoyable, too.