Sakura House, a real estate agency specializing in providing services to foreign residents, and Sakura Hotel & Hostel, an operator of three hotels and a hostel in Tokyo, have seen a definite increase in tourists and residents coming from ASEAN member states.
“Both tourists and students from ASEAN are on the rise. I have heard on many occasions that they first came to Japan for sightseeing, and returned to Japan as they grew more and more interested in the country,” a Sakura House official said.
The two companies, under the same group, have employees with very multinational backgrounds, including those who are from — or those who have lived in — ASEAN countries. This means that they can not only offer services in a variety of languages, but most of the hotel and real estate staff are fluent in English.
Among the three hotels and the hostel, Sakura Hotel Hatagaya, in Shinjuku Ward, has a prayer room and a restaurant boasting a halal menu. The other two hotels — in Ikebukuro and Jinbocho — and the hostel — in Asakusa — have signs indicating the direction of Mecca and information about halal bento meal boxes.
Guests will certainly enjoy exchanges with other guests and authentic Japanese experiences.
The hotels and the hostel occasionally host events for guests, such as a shodo calligraphy experience, visits to sumo stables to watch wrestlers train and going to horse races. Sakura Hostel Asakusa has such events every day, including tours to local small shrines and parties featuring sukiyaki beef pot meals for a modest ¥1,000 fee. Sakura House residents are also welcome to participate in these events.
“We’d like to offer opportunities to casually introduce Japanese culture, while deepening bonds with people from ASEAN nations,” the official said.
Sakura Hotel & Hostel can accommodate tourists with various needs — not only ordinary tourists, but also long-term stays for students in study-abroad programs and company employees in Japan for training.
“There has never been a time when Japan and ASEAN have worked this hard to build strong connections than now. Japan is sincerely awaiting tourist visits,” she said.