Metsä pavilion enchanting the Japanese consumers


Visit Finland Japan created a collaborative, cross-industry promotion opportunity

We brought together Business Finland program Food from Finland, Visit Rovaniemi, Santa Claus Village and Finnair in the unique platform of Metsä Pavilion located at the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo.


The result was a highly successful consumer event “Feel Finland”, great visibility for Finland as well as many happy customers and stakeholders.

Finland has a highly positive country image in Japan as a safe, clean country with a lot of space and beautiful nature. Many Japanese can easily connect Finland with Moomins, Santa Claus, Finnish design, Northern Lights and sauna. Finland is recognized as the happiest country in the world with great work-life balance, and the pandemic has only improved the image of our country, now attracting more and more positive attention also in terms of sustainability and digitalization.

Succesful event

Finland is considered as a top-of-mind long-haul destination by major travel agents in the ramp-up phase, JTB, the main organizer of this time's event being one of them. JTB is known as the biggest and most prestigious travel agency in Japan with over 15 000 employees. Previously, Finland has not been of high priority for the company compared to traditional European destinations such as Italy and France. However, the pandemic has changed the course and Finland is now seen as one of the most promising long-haul destinations in the post-pandemic time thanks to the positive and safe country image and direct access. Visit Finland Japan has actively been working with the company for joint promotions since last year, aiming to start selling packages to Finland as soon as the border control in Japan is eased.

Similarly to other travel agencies in Japan and around the world, JTB has been forced to rethink their business model while waiting the outbound travel to restart. To keep their consumers engaged, JTB created an event series "Kokoro trip" (meaning "a trip of the heart") of 30 domestic events where their customers could enjoy foreign cultures while still staying in Japan. Thanks to Finland's highly positive country image matching the new normal, Visit Finland's efforts as well as Metsä Pavilion providing a unique event venue, Finland was chosen as one of the event line-ups. And was the most popular one with tickets selling out quickly, thanks to comprehensive support from Visit Finland joint promotions, social media postings and PR work.

The event itself was organized in mid-June with the concept of finding, feeling and experiencing Finland in the middle of Tokyo. The event was held in two identical parts to make as many customers as possible enjoy happy Finnish moments while still keeping a close eye on the Covid-19 precautions. A total of 134 participants joined the event with only one no-show. With a ticket of around 60 euros, the participants could enjoy 2.5 hours of program consisting of talk shows of Finnish lifestyle and culture, souvenir shopping, aurora viewing, taking photos in a sauna showroom and having a Finnish coffee break "kahvitauko".

Food from Finland

The event provided a great opportunity for collaborating with Food from Finland program and promoting Finnish food culture. The participants were able to enjoy Paulig coffee, Biokia berry juice as well as traditional Finnish cinnamon rolls and oat cookies during the coffee break. The event also provided a long-awaited opportunity for the Metsä Pavilion official souvenir shop "Kauppa" to open for the first time. Japanese are known for loving souvenirs, and the visitors were busy enjoying shopping during their free-time. Brands featured in the shop included Fazer, Helsinki Distilling, Arctic Blue Gin, Elovena, and Hunajayhtymä to name a few, with the sales exceeding the expected purchase level.

Chatting with Santa Claus

The highlight of the program, however, was no doubt the unique chance to talk online with Santa Claus himself, joining directly from Rovaniemi. Even the usually quiet and reserved Japanese laughed and reacted actively to Santa's unique answers (some of them even in Japanese!), the questions being from Santa's favorite food to his summer time hobbies with his elves and reindeer. Did you know that Santa loves Japanese fermented, sticky soybeans natto, and has practiced to eat it so that it does not stick to his beard?

What was also special in this event was the close cooperation with Finnair Japan team. According to JTB, Finland was the only country in the event line-up working together with an airline in Europe. Finnair is one of the biggest partners of Metsä Pavilion with their own showroom on the first floor. Finnair sees Metsä Pavilion as an ideal venue to showcase sustainability and Finnish design. They are more and more reassured of the potential of promoting Finland as a mono-destination in the post-pandemic time, opposing the previous tendency of the Japanese to tour the Nordics and only stay a few nights in each destination.

Travel recovery

Traveling abroad still being challenging for Japanese due to a strict 14-day quarantine obligation upon return to Japan, both the organizers and the participants were highly pleased with this opportunity to enjoy Finland while staying in Japan, and raise the positive awareness among both the industry people as well as consumers. Metsä Pavilion full of beautiful and sustainable Finnish design and its calming atmosphere and scent of being in a Finnish forest provided a great opportunity to feel Finland with all five senses. This kind of collaborative effort also clearly builds the confidence little by little towards Finland as a destination: the second event for late October is already in the planning. The news are also spreading within JTB group more widely, with also JTB's Nagoya and Osaka teams in western Japan making plans for similar Finland events now. What is also notable here, that only Hawaii is currently covering all these three markets.

Tourism is all about entertainment and having a good time face to face! The pandemic is not won yet but the day will definitely come when the Japanese can visit us freely again.

More information about Metsä Pavilion.

More information about Japan as a travel market (in Finnish).

Koichi Numata
Country Manager
koichi.numata (at)
+81 3 6432 5270