What things to do when you join a exhibition in Japan?

What should I do if I want to go to an exhibition held in Japan as a visitor? You may think that business manners in Japan are difficult to understand? In this article, I will introduce how to participate in exhibitions in Japan, business negotiations methods, venue and accommodation information, and business manners.

Pre-registration for free admission

Most exhibitions are free of charge if you pre-register on the website. If you register in advance, an ID and PW will be issued and an admission pass will be sent, so print it out and bring it on the day. If you have an invitation, you can bring it with you to enter. If there is a questionnaire in the invitation, you may need to answer it, so filling it out in advance will make it easier to enter.

Admission charge may be free if you fill in the required sheet on the day. If you do not register in advance and there is no privilege of free admission system at the venue, you will be charged for entry (about 1,000 to 5,000 yen).

The entrance to the venue is often crowded and registration may take some time. Unless you have a special reason, I highly recommend pre-registration.

What's the first thing to do when you join a exhibition?

When you enter the exhibition hall, show your pre-registered admission card and go through the gate to the exhibition hall. Brochures and venue maps are distributed near the entrance. Brochures are often in Japanese only, but venue maps may be Japanese on the front and English on the back.

Your business card is required when entering the exhibition hall.

Business card

When you enter the exhibition hall, Your business card is required.

A business card is not as important in Western countries, but is an important item in Japan in terms of business manners. There are places in Japan where you can't enter without a business card.

There is no rule on the size of business cards, so there is no problem with business cards of Western size. The name of the company, your name, company address, and contact information are written on the front of the business card. It is common to write the business description on the back. Business cards are exchanged for each person, not for each company. So, it is a good idea to have at least twice as many booths you plan to visit.

To make a business appointment with an exhibitor

make a business appointment with an exhibitor

Participants in Japanese exhibitions are divided into two types: those who gather information and those who do business negotiations. If you only want to collect information, just register in advance and go to the venue on the day. If you would like to have a business talk, you may not be able to meet the person in charge even if you visit the booth on the day without reservation. I recommend that you make an appointment in advance to ensure you have a business deal.

The following is an email template for making appointments.

(The company name)
(The representative's name if you know)さま

はじめまして、私は(Your company name) の(Your name)です。
私達の会社は、(Your business description)を行っております。
御社でお取り扱いのある(The company's product name)について詳しくお伺いしたいと考えております。

(The exhibition's name)に出展されるそうですが、
(Date and time)に御社ブースにお伺いして商談をさせていただいてもよろしいでしょうか?


(Your company name)
(Your company's location)
(Your company's contact information)
(Your name)

After receiving the reply, you can decide on the details of the appointment.

In business talks, there are not many Japanese who can speak English fluently. If you can't speak Japanese, you need to bring an interpreter. The following are the services that dispatch interpreters in Japan.

What to do when visiting a booth?

Once you have made an appointment, please visit the booth to be on time. Since the exhibition venue is large, it may take more than 10 minutes from the entrance gate to the target booth, so be sure to take extra time. We Japanese people always try to act five minutes before. Make sure you arrive at the booth 5 minutes before the meeting.

You don't have to have any gifts when visiting. There is no disadvantage if you don't have the gift.

When you visit the booth, tell them that you have already made an appointment. Depending on the exhibition, a dedicated business booth may be available. If you would like to talk with them carefully, you can ask the company to reserve the booth in advance.

If you don't have any ethnic or religious rules in your country, be sure to wear business suits for the meeting. Of course, if you have rules, you can give them priority. Attire plays a very important role in the Japanese business scene. Business attire is recommended, as your ability may be judged just by what you are wearing.

What is a meeting like?

business meetings in Japan

In Japan, meetings begin with a business card exchange. After that, it is common to have a small talk, introduce each other's business outline, and get into the main topic.

1.Exchanging of business card.
Business cards are important in Japanese business manners. It is no exaggeration to say that business will not start unless you exchange business cards. It is a culture that values business cards, so treat the business cards you receive with care. Japanese people will be surprised if you use business cards as note papers.

Regarding the order of exchanging business cards, it is basically a manner that visitors give business cards first. If you have more than one person in charge, give the business card first to the person in the upper position. In Europe and the United States, you start with a handshake instead of a business card exchange, but in Japan we rarely shake hands. However, there is no problem if you shake hands because we know that communication starts with a handshake in other countries.

2.Small talk
After exchanging business cards, you can have a small talk about the weather or where you come from etc. This is the same style as English-speaking culture.

3.Introduce the business overview
Both of you and the business partner explain the company outline. As a visitor, you should explain first. It's good to show presentation documents so that they can have better understanding of your business.

4.Business meeting
Here you finally enter into the main business talk. The person in charge may not always be a decision maker. Make sure to give him/her a written document that can be shown to their boss. Some people in charge may not be able to communicate to their boss, so the materials must be understandable even for managers who have never heard of what you've explained.

5. Closing
At the end of the meeting, you will receive feedback to the business potential or a deadline of their reply. Then, although Japanese people generally do not shake hands, there is no problem to do so. After the meetig, if you send a thank you email within the day, there is a high probability that you will get a reply. In Japan, emails from people they have met in person are rarely ignored. Also, at the exhibition, they meet many people at once, so sending an e-mail can help you remember your name and the company.

Main exhibition venues in Japan

Here are the main venues for exhibitions in Japan. In Japan, exhibitions are often held in cities such as Tokyo, Chiba, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, and various exhibitions are held every day.

Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center)

Speaking of Tokyo's exhibition hall, it is a famous place called Big Sight.

Makuhari Messe

Makuhari Messe is the largest exhibition hall located about 30 minutes by train from Tokyo Station.

Portmesse Nagoya (Nagoya International Exhibition Hall)

Portmesse Nagoya is an exhibition hall located about 30 minutes from Nagoya Station.


INTEX Osaka is an exhibition venue in Osaka, the second largest city in Japan.


Fukuoka has four famous exhibition venues. You can walk to Fukuoka International Congress Center, Fukuoka Kokusai Center and Marine Messe Fukuoka on foot.

Another exhibition hall is the West Japan General Exhibition Hall.


Due to the increase in foreign tourists coming to Japan, hotel prices in Japan have been increasing in recent years. Reserving hotels in Tokyo and Osaka can be difficult. Here, I will introduce accommodation methods other than general hotels.

Business hotel

Business hotels are hotels that you can stay at reasonable price because these types of hotels don't have luxury or entertainment features. That's why it is mainly used for business purposes.
Business hotels are also rising in price, but Toyoko Inn, Apa Hotel and Super Hotel are relatively reasonable prices. Depending on the location, there are hotels with hot springs!

Capsule hotel

At capsule hotels, there are many units with a width of 1m, a height of 1m, and a depth of about 1m. You can stay much cheaper than a hotel. In the past, capsule hotels were only characterized by being cheap, but recently there have also been types that have wifi, large public baths, saunas, women-only rooms, and slightly larger and have regular beds . In general, large people feel cramped because the capsule unit is made according to the Japanese body type. Check the size in advance before staying at a capsule hotel.

You can find capsule hotels.

Renting private homes and rooms

Renting private homes and rooms, called Minpaku, has become widely known in Japan in recent years. If you don't want hotel-like facilities, you can stay at the same price as a capsule hotel. Airbnb is famous in Japan. Check out the Airbnb app for reviews of people who have used it. Airbnb also lists many activities that you can experience in Japan, hosted by the ordinary people.


Manga cafe / Internet cafe

Originally, a manga cafe is a cafe where you can read thousands of manga. From there, it evolved in a variety of forms, PCs installed at the seats, it changed an Internet cafe where you can use PCs and the Internet in addition to manga. There are various types of seats, such as private rooms and table seats

Depending on the shop, it has the following features:
・ Reasonable ticket is available from 10pm to 8am
・ Equipped with shower and amenities
・ You can order food
・ Free drinks

However, since it is not a facility for the purpose of accommodation, seats are only sofas (reclining sofas) and there are no beds. * Many Japanese, especially young people, sleep on the chair.
Some shops have more comfortable full flat chairs.


  1. If you participate in a Japanese exhibition, you can register for free in most cases by registering in advance from the exhibition website.
  2. If you would like to do business meeting, make an appointment by email in advance.
  3. When visiting the exhibition booth, wear a suit and visit the booth 5 minutes before the meeting.
  4. Business cards are important business items in Japan.
  5. There are reasonable accommodations including business hotels, capsule hotels, private lodgings, and manga cafes.

Author of this article:Tadayuki Emoto

Tadayuki Emoto

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