Corporate Innovation: Tokyo - The World’s Most Innovative City.

Tokyo A2D corporate innovation

Hello! And welcome to our latest Corporate Innovation newsletter.

At A2D, we believe that the best companies emphasize the importance of learning, adapting to change and discovering new perspectives to innovate and lead. That's why we created our unique Corporate Innovations Program.

With innovation at its core, our unique program has been devised to inspire and educate our clients by connecting them with other leading organisations around the world, while offering an unrivaled travel and hospitality experience.

A2D Travel takes care of all the finer details including hotel and flight bookings, restaurant reservations and social activities, ensuring our program attendees have an absolutely incredible experience.

If you would like to learn more about this inspirational program and explore how it could benefit your own company's growth, please get in touch so we can arrange a meeting.

I hope you enjoy this month's article on Tokyo - the world's most innovative city.

Best wishes

Stig Egard
Founder & CEO
A2D Travel & Concierge



The capital of Japan was named the world's most innovative city in 2018 by data firm 2thinknow. It's the first time an Asian city has claimed the title since the company first started compiling the annual rankings in 2007.

Toyko “showed clear direction by embracing smart technology change to lead innovation and leadership in what we have identified as the twin long-term globe-shaking trends of robotics and 3D manufacturing,” says Christopher Hire, director at the research firm.

Whilst Silicon Valley may be home to huge tech companies like Google and Facebook, it was Tokyo's pioneering work in the fields of robotics and 3D manufacturing, that saw it leapfrog London and New York to claim the title of the world's most innovative city.

Japan has longed been known as an early adopter of new technologies. With Tokyo set to host the 2020 Olympic Games, it has ramped up innovative efforts in hospitality, protection against infection, accessibility, security and energy in a bid to seal its reputation as a world leader in cutting-edge innovation.

The Robotic Olympics
Japan plans to take us to the future during the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Unlike other nations where the Olympics are all about the games, Japan will debut its most sophisticated technologies. Here are just some of those already leaked to appear:

In a race to demonstrate how the world can fight carbon emission, the Japanese government has plans to spend some $300 million to build a village completely powered by hydrogen as one of the 2020 Tokyo technologies.

First the first time, facial recognition technology will be used in the Olympics to improve security.

Autonomous driving robo-taxis will drive tourists and athletics around the city.

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota will provide 16 helpful robots across the Olympic and Paralympic Games to help city guests with directions, transportation and language translation.


Japan is making a move towards algae fuel for jets and buses and is rumoured to be launching an airline fully powered by algae fuel during the 2020 games.

Dubbed the Wonder Japan Pass, the credit card looking device can be used as an electronic payment system and valid ID for all events that require a pass, including the stadium and hotel rooms.

Japanese astronomy startup ALE is working on a cube-shaped microsatellite that will deliver artificial meteor showers across the city sky.

Japan is making a giant stride to provide real-time language translation in up to 27 languages for the 2020 Olympic Games. A specially created app called VoicTras provides the solution. Panasonic is also working on a wearable device [to be worn around the neck] that translates up to 10 languages instantly to Japan and vice versa. They are also working on a Smartphone app that can scan and instantly translate signs in Japanese.

Getting Around

Tokyo's railway system is the envy of the world.
The Shinkansen, or Bullet Train was first debuted at the 1964 Tokyo summer games. Capable of reaching speeds of 320kms per hour, its 13 subway lines and more than 100 surface routes offer passengers an exceptionally unique way to discover Japan.



As one of the biggest retail markets in the world, Tokyo is fast becoming one of the most sought after places for retailers to embark on, and the level of innovation within these stores is something to aspire to.

If you want to inspire your team to think more creatively or are looking for a fresh take on visual merchandising and tech, then Tokyo is the place to visit.


Moncler ‘House of Genius’

Part concept store, part gallery and part interactive space, Moncler - the Italian apparel manufacturer has designed the new retail space with a curatorial approach.


Cartier's Pop-up Convenience Store

Creative innovation at its best. Created under the theme of  the tagline “when the ordinary becomes precious”, the Cartier store sold a range of luxury golden food and drink items, but was primarily created to promote its Juste un Clou bracelet.

Coffee & Retail


When it comes to innovation, Starbucks is leading the charge in the coffee sector. It recently opened its largest Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Tokyo’s chic Nakameguro district and the queues outside resembled those outside a brand new Apple store.

Designed by Kengo Kuma, the building's exterior and interior are utterly breathtaking. From the origami-like ceiling to the washi paper lanterns, each of the roastery’s four floors is a “celebration” of Japanese culture.

What's interesting about the Starbucks Reserve Roastery brand is that it doesn't only serve coffee - although they do that in a masterful way. Product collaborations include toys by fashion retailer Beams, bicycles by Tokyobike, stationery by Kakimori and Traveler’s Company, and a ¥200,000 (€1,600) Kuma-designed set of wooden bowls.

It's inspiring to see how a brand like Starbucks (that is quite often derided across Europe) has used innovation to elevate its position among its Eastern customer base.

Let's Connect
It's clear to see why Tokyo is such a tantalizing city and what makes it the perfect destination for an A2D Corporate Innovation Program.

If you think your company and executives would benefit from an A2D trip to Tokyo, please get in touch by clicking on the orange button below the sample itinerary. 

Sample Itinerary
Corporate Innovation Program

Best Times To Go:

Oct - Nov & March - May

Fly with Japan Airlines from Oslo to Tokyo via Helsinki

OSL - HEL 13:15 - 15:40
HEL - NRT 17:30 - 10:00 (following day)
Journey Duration: 12hr 45

NRT - HEL 11:55 - 15:10
HEL - OSL  16:40 - 17:15
Journey Duration: 13hr 20

Stay at the sleek Mandarin Oriental Tokyo


Business Activities

Tailored to your company’s specific objectives but could include conference attendance, keynote speakers, tours of offices and facilities, brainstorming sessions with industry leaders.

Social Activities

*  Head to Kamakura, the ancient capital of Japan
*  Glide across Tokyo bay in a high-tech Himiko or Hotaluna boat
*  Take a sleek white-nosed Shinkansen bullet train to Kyoto, discover its ancient temples,
    glorious cherry blossom in April and enjoy a sake brewery tour and tasting or a traditional
    tea ceremony
*  Rent a bike and explore atmospheric Yanaka for a taste of old Tokyo