Accommodation facilities List of examples
With the development of workation-style accommodation and “lizovation” tours, a reopened hotel has become a base for regional revitalization in the Tokachi area.
Tetsuya Kashio, the founder of Tokachi City Design Co., Ltd. (Obihiro, Hokkaido), was born in the city of Obihiro. After graduating from university in Kyoto, he found work as a lawyer in Tokyo. During this time, he felt a growing need to do something to help his declining hometown, and so he launched a number of initiatives in the Tokachi area. Some of his projects include making a film that reveals the charm and beauty of Tokachi and reopening a shuttered hotel.
We spoke with Mr. Kashio about the impact of COVID-19, the workation facilities that he opened during the pandemic, and the strengthening of urban ties. What are the “experience values” that can be gained from taking advantage of the region’s strong points?
The star-filled night sky of Kozushima, certified as Tokyo's first dark-sky preserve, has been turned into a tourist attraction with the help of government subsidies. Efforts are also being made to expand the summer-intensive tourism into a year-round industry.
Located almost in the center of the Izu island chain is Kozushima, a picturesque island where — legend has it — the gods of Japan once met to discuss the distribution of fresh water. In recent years, it has been officially recognized as Tokyo's first dark-sky preserve thanks to its low light pollution and dazzling night skies. After a chance visit to Kozushima, Kentaro Tanaka and his wife Ayano fell in love with the island and decided to move there in 2016. The following year, they opened Vacation House Familia (Kozushima, Tokyo). We spoke to the couple about how the COVID-19 pandemic struck just as their business was taking off, and how this spurred their efforts to move away from a business centered on the summer months. We also asked them about their future prospects.
Popular with domestic and foreign travelers and designed to coexist in harmony with the beautiful nature of Ishigaki Island, Beach Hotel Sunshine Ishigakijima is taking new initiatives in sustainability
In 1979, Beach Hotel Sunshine Ishigakijima (Ishigaki City, Okinawa Prefecture) was opened with locally-sourced funds. This oceanfront resort hotel is located about ten minutes by car from the center of Ishigaki Island. Surrounded by lush forest, it attracts many international and domestic tourists.
Since before the pandemic, the hotel has been making the most of the charms offered by Yaeyama’s breathtaking starry sky and working hard to cut down on light pollution in order to protect the natural environment. It’s also implemented sustainable initiatives such as the ‘local food’ movement, purchasing goods and ingredients from local sources wherever possible.
Not only that, but it was registered as an “Okinawa SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] Partner” in February 2021, thanks to its environmentally friendly acts such as water conservation and replacing plastic straws with paper ones.
As the tourism industry has taken a hit due to the pandemic, how can hotels best attract foreign and domestic travelers? We asked Ms. Yoko Akagi, the general manager of Sunshine Co., Ltd.
New approach to hiring staff and attracting visitors relieves labor shortage and boosts local tourism
Generations of visitors have loved Fuji Lake Hotel (Minamitsuru, Yamanashi) for 90 years and counting, ever since it opened in 1932 on the shore of the lake at the base of Mt. Fuji. It has been a popular destination for both domestic and international tourists, and has hosted an impressive number of guests over the years. Hotel duties during peak season have always been covered and passed down by the short-term assistance of college students from nearby schools. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this tradition was suddenly halted, and the hotel found itself suffering from a serious labor shortage. We talked with Director of HR Keita Iwatsuki and Advertising Leader Kiyo Ara about how the hotel solved its challenges while boosting tourist numbers.
At a lodge at the headwaters of the Shimanto River, a sustainable rural revitalization program is capturing guests’ desire to live among nature, breathing new life into a depopulated village
Sun Clair Co., Ltd. (Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture) was established in 2015 to create an “unprecedented accommodation venture” based on 30 years of experience operating business hotels. Each of its five newly opened hotels is a one-of-a-kind accommodation whose design revolves around the following question: “What makes a hotel cherished by its guests?” Among them is Morinokuni Riverside Lodge (Matsuno, Kitauwa, Ehime Prefecture). Located near the headwaters of the Shimanto River, the lodge is an important indicator of the company's future direction. We spoke with CEO Masayuki Hosoba about his thoughts on coexistence with nature and rural revitalization.
No one leaves until each task is cleared! “Master Writer Lockdown Plan” takes inspiration from COVID and puts a twist on “stay-at-home”!
Inspired by their appreciation for the techniques of Japan, including traditional crafts, performing arts, and local specialties, Yasosuke Corporation (Taito Ward, Tokyo) is dedicated to sharing the unique culture of Japan to a domestic audience and beyond by planning events that bring out the best of local neighborhoods, and by promoting sales of traditional crafts and local specialties. When events started to be canceled across the country due to the spread of COVID-19, they managed to host regular events for a contactless overnight escape room game called “Master Writer Lockdown Plan.” We talked with CEO Tomoko Kaizu about her work during the pandemic and the creative minds behind these events.
Long-established hot spring inn attracts corporate offices to its 66,000-square-meter site. Breaking new ground, this ryokan becomes an innovator for the whole region.
Famous for its hot spring water said to beautify the skin, Ureshino Onsen (Ureshino City, Saga Prefecture) is home to long-established Wataya Besso, a large ryokan that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was forced to close for the first time since its founding in 1950. Although sales plummeted and the ryokan’s prospects were grim, Kohara Yoshimoto, who took over as general manager in 2013, decided to launch a new initiative that had been in the planning stage for some time in the hope of attracting businesses to the ryokan. We asked Kohara about how this innovative idea, which breaks new ground in the accommodation industry, came about.
Palace Hotel Tokyo reaches out to its fans through its reimagined online store to provide high-class service in a contactless world
Palace Hotel Tokyo (Chiyoda City, Tokyo) is famous as a sanctuary for VIPs from around the world. The only Japanese hotel to have been awarded a 5-star ranking in an internationally respected travel guide six years in a row, it is highly esteemed by the international community as a foremost luxury hotel. Due to the pandemic, however, demand from international visitors dropped dramatically. Soon after, company banquets and events also started to be delayed indefinitely or canceled completely. In order to please customers who are unable to visit in person, and to gain new fans, the hotel engaged in a new project to reimagine their online store. We talked with Kenji Tomita, the restaurant director and external sales division manager, about the project.
Discovering the charms of Kochi and its environs to promote the area through experiences and sales of local products. Winning over future customers with the idea of a hotel that they want to visit someday.
While the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on many accommodation facilities since 2020, 7 Days Hotel (Kochi, Kochi Prefecture) has pushed the boundaries of conventional hotel operations by offering its guests hands-on experiences and specially selected local products. We spoke with the hotel about its efforts to continually adapt to attract customers during a pandemic that has lasted much longer than initially forecasted.
After 4-month shutdown, hotel holds remote cooking class that prioritizes customer relations over profit
Tokyo Bay Tokyu Hotel (Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture), which is situated close to a world-famous theme park, operates limousine buses to both Haneda and Narita, Japan’s two major international airports. Thanks to its prime location, business at the hotel went well following its opening in May 2018. However, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, the hotel was forced to suspend normal operations for about four months following a request from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to lease the property. Even after the hotel reopened, the continuing pandemic kept many customers away. With the hope of providing such customers with a special meal and an experience that was somehow similar to actually staying at the hotel, plans were put in place for a remote cooking class. We asked the hotel employees involved to tell us more about this.
Local residents’ wish becomes reality with concept of “village of 700 as one hotel.” Spaced apart, kominka hotel accommodation is ideally suited to coronavirus era.
Located in the eastern part of Yamanashi Prefecture about 30 minutes by car from Otsuki Station, Kosuge is a beautiful village surrounded by lush nature that thrives at the headwaters of Tama River. However, acute depopulation and aging have reduced the number of villagers to around 700, one-third of the population at its peak, and has led village inns and family-run guesthouses to close one after another. The hotel Nipponia Kosuge Genryu no Mura (Kitatsuru, Yamanashi Prefecture), operated by Edge Co., Ltd. within a traditional kominka house, has been established to help bring relief to the village’s dire circumstances and preserve the nature and local culture for future generations. The hotel has been attracting attention as a destination for so-called “workations” and micro tourism, travel styles that are ideally suited to the coronavirus era. We spoke with the hotel’s manager, Taniguchi Shunya, about how the hotel came about and his thoughts on local revitalization.
Hotel kitchen utilized to develop “ghost restaurant.” Food delivery business props up sales hurt by coronavirus pandemic.
One of the industries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic is the hotel industry. Having suffered a continuous fall in guest numbers, Asakusabashi Belmont Hotel (Taito City, Tokyo) is no exception. Amid this crisis, the hotel set out to expand its market with the launch of a “ghost restaurant” business. While the Belmont has continued its day-to-day hotel operations, its kitchen now takes in orders from a food delivery company and meals prepared by the hotel’s chefs are delivered to local residents. We spoke with hotel representative Suzuki Takao about how this new initiative came about.
Special dining courses developed with local restaurants boost hotel occupancy and contribute to regional revitalization
Located at the entrance to Katsuura Bay in southern Wakayama Prefecture, the island of Nakanoshima covers a total area of some 68,000 square meters and has a circumference of about 1.7 kilometers. Aokishima-no-Yado Kumano-Bettei Nakanoshima (Nachikatsuura, Wakayama Prefecture) owns the whole island, which reopened on April 19, 2019, newly branded as a “one island, one resort hotel.” The venture got off to a good start but soon foundered due to the continued spread of coronavirus. We spoke with Mr. Hama, head of marketing, about the hotel’s collaboration with local restaurants as a strategy to boost guestroom occupancy and customer satisfaction.
Use of room service doubles as special promotion launched during state of emergency offers choice of 120 food items and 300 different drinks
Hotel New Otani (Chiyoda City, Tokyo) opened in 1964, the year of the first Tokyo Olympics, but even this prestigious establishment has not been immune to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. After Japan’s first state of emergency was introduced in 2020, the hotel saw a fall in guest numbers and temporary closure of its restaurants. However, when a stricter state of emergency was imposed in April 2021, one that included restrictions on serving alcohol, the hotel came up with a plan to diversify its lineup of food and drink items available as room service. While providing a safe and secure dining environment for hotel guests, the plan led to room service usage doubling in May 2021 from the same month in 2019, before the outbreak of the virus. We spoke with Ms. Obuse, who is involved in public relations at the hotel, about how the plan came about.
One-month accommodation subscription scheme proposed by young staff member succeeds in filling hotel guest rooms
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Nagasaki (Nagasaki Prefecture) was a popular destination throughout the year for both Japanese and foreign tourists. The ongoing large-scale construction project at JR Nagasaki Station is in line with plans to open a segment of the West Kyushu route of the Kyushu Shinkansen high-speed railway line in 2022. Overlooking this area is the 15-story Hotel Nagasaki BW Premier Collection, where the pandemic has given rise to a special accommodation scheme that is attracting a lot of attention. We spoke with the hotel’s deputy manager, Moriuchi Keigo, about how the hotel came up with its accommodation subscription scheme and what the response has been.
Hotel mystery-solving event offers guests peace of mind, safety, and fun even during coronavirus pandemic
With the hospitality industry hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, hotel-sponsored events are receiving a lot of attention as a new way of attracting customers. Events that take place within hotels while maintaining social distancing, and therefore can be enjoyed safely, are an attempt to increase guest numbers. Among these, the one event that has really taken off is, “An evening of mystery-solving through literature: A challenge by mystery writer Sengoku” at Hakone Sengokuhara Prince Hotel (Ashigarashimo, Kanagawa Prefecture). We spoke with the hotel’s planning manager, Okumura Manabu, who has been supervising the event from behind the scenes.
“Selling experiences, not accommodation” – Use of technology generates new value and more profit than previous year.
In 2020, a year in which the hotel industry was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, SQUEEZE Inc. posted higher profits than in the previous year. We asked Chief Operating Officer Mr. Yamaguchi about the company's initiatives, which center on the theater park Theatel Sapporo (Sapporo City, Hokkaido), a next-generation entertainment space that opened in July 2020.
New sales channel developed as alternative to rural accommodation brings ryokan experience into the home through blowfish cuisine and virtual reality footage.
Teshima Ryokan (Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Prefecture), a traditional inn that has been in business for over 50 years, is attracting attention with a novel initiative launched during the coronavirus pandemic. Teshima Ryokan now offers a service called “VR Teshima Ryokan & Fugu Kaiseki” through which it ships its popular blowfish dishes, with customers given access to a virtual reality video of the ryokan, or traditional inn, as a reward. We spoke with the inn’s manager, Mr. Teshima, about this new initiative.
With digitalization of order system, long-established hotel and originator of “Viking” buffet creates new style.
The all-you-can-eat buffet style known as “Viking” originated at the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo (Chiyoda, Tokyo). The Imperial Viking (today known as the Imperial Viking Sal), Japan's first buffet restaurant, opened in 1958. For diners, the real thrill of such a restaurant is being able to eat as much as they like of whatever they like. We asked Hiraishi Rina, the head of the restaurant department’s marketing section and initiator of new measures, about the restaurant’s efforts in response to coronavirus.
Labor-saving contactless check-in system results in a 50 percent cut in labor costs
Namba Ebisu Hotel opened in Osaka’s Nishi-Nari Ward in October 2019. Benefiting from its location only one station away from Kansai International Airport and served by limited express train, the hotel got off to a flying start targeting Asian tourists mainly from China and Europeans planning long-term stays in Japan. However, very soon after the hotel opened, coronavirus struck. We asked the hotel about initiatives, such as contactless customer service through a tablet terminal check-in system and operational reforms, that it has introduced in order to overcome the current difficulties.
A long-established and popular inn introduces AI technology, offering information on overcrowding, and providing peace of mind to its guests.
Furuya Ryokan(Atami-shi,Shizuoka) has introduced artificial intelligence (AI) as a countermeasure against coronavirus. The long-established inn, which has a history of over 200 years, uses artificial intelligence to analyze the situation in regard to the number of people using its large communal baths or congregating around its front desk and transmits this information in real-time, providing peace of mind to its guests.
Contactless, non-face-to-face service made possible through introduction of check-in, checkout facial recognition system.
Mitsui Fudosan Group is a developer of numerous mid- to high-end brands for a large target audience in the hotel and resort industry. At a time when lifestyles and values are changing and more importance is being placed on individuality, Mitsui Fudosan has launched “Sequence,” a new brand(Shibuya-ku,Tokyo,and so on.) that aims to provide hotel guests with unprecedented value. This means a new style of hotel that offers contactless, non-face-to-face service while enhancing customer satisfaction.