Sakura House and Sakura Hotel has been providing foreigners with homey and affordable accommodation for both short- and long-term stays for three decades. “We are not just providing accommodation. We always try to be there for our guests and take care of any need that they may have, just as their family and friends would do,” General Manager Masayo Namiki said. It seems this spirit is also shared by its guests. “They care about each other and appreciate each other as if they are one big family. This is something we are proud of, and it is our way of showing our appreciation to our guests by holding many events and parties,” she said.
These events have helped the guests expand their social networks and strengthen their bonds further. As a result, Sakura House and Sakura Hotel has witnessed many heart-warming encounters among guests from more than 100 countries over the years. Some people came back again and again, while others organized reunions with those they met at Sakura House after returning to their countries. “There are people who met their lifetime friends and partners here,” Namiki said.
Nicolas Seraphin and Christophe Coeur, co-founders of Cardemy, met at Sakura House Shibuya Sendagaya about 10 years ago. Both are from France but came to Japan with different purposes.
Coeur came after working in Hong Kong for a few years, hoping to get a job in Japan. “While the first thing that attracted me to Sakura House were the low requirements to rent a room, I soon realized that its true wealth were the interactions with the other residents” he said.
Seraphin, on the other hand, chose Sakura House because he wanted to meet many people. “I came to Japan as an exchange student for an MBA course at a Japanese university, and got a job in Tokyo, but I had only met people like myself with similar backgrounds. At Sakura House, I could meet completely different people from around the world,” he said.
Seraphin and Coeur got to know each other through an event organized by Sakura House. Although they were different in many ways, they learned they were both passionate language learners and wanted to create a startup. By spending time with other foreigners, they discovered the areas of Japanese that different nationalities tended to struggle with.
Their experience at Sakura House inspired them to found Cardemy in 2019, an innovative startup aiming to revolutionize language learning by providing the most personalized language learning experience. Cardemy provides subscriptions to its innovative spaced-repetition flashcard app, that can be combined in with one-on-one conversation classes.
Seraphin and Coeur creating a company is just one example of how lasting bonds can be made between people from different backgrounds at Sakura House.