The event venue was a new one this year, moving from the top of the Kyocera Dome to another "dome" -- My Dome, near Kitahama. No, not mine or even yours, but some corporate group's building, and it seemed like any generic conference site: gray-walled, gray-carpeted, and brightly fluorescent-lit.
The schedule was different this year, as well. In the past, an entrance ticket allowed for four hours or so of unlimited pours. This year, there were two sessions each day, and attendees had to choose between an early afternoon slot (11:30am-3pm) or a later one (4-7:30pm). The main effect of this change was to lessen the crowds at each session.
The number of breweries represented seemed somewhat fewer than in past years, but there were certainly enough of the more familiar Japanese standouts as well as several newer ones (Hyappa) and quite few smaller distant rural outfits (Tirol no Mori, Yoshii Kogen) we had never seen before.