Visitors to Tokyo can find many luxury hotels in the Hibiya district, in the heart of the city, near the Imperial Palace and rich with access to the city’s greatest entertainment, shopping, and government venues. In this hub of activities, a new hotel, The Blossom Hibiya, opened on Tuesday, August 20.
Junya Matsumoto, president of JR Kyushu Hotels which operates the establishment, recently came to Tokyo to explain why the company is expanding beyond its home region of Kyushu. They plan to address the challenge of absorbing tremendous inbound demand in the national capital, where the Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held in 2020.
He and other company representatives spoke at a press conference on the 19th floor of the new hotel on August 9.
Aiming to Tap the Tokyo Market
“We are and will be targeting middle- and upper-class guests, both now and after the Olympic Games,” said Ryuji Tanaka, an executive officer of the railway company JR Kyushu. “We have no worries about demand, even in the aftermath of the Olympics.”
The JR Kyushu group’s hub is in the Kyushu region, where the company’s hotel operations have been concentrated. The area is ‘difficult for companies’ growth and progress,” according to the hotel operator’s president, Mr. Matsumoto. He explained the region is facing progressive depopulation from the pressures of low birthrate and an aging population.
They are looking for new opportunities in Tokyo, where there is high inbound demand, he said.
The Blossom Hibiya is the group’s second project in Tokyo. JR Kyushu first ventured into the Tokyo hotel market in 2014, when it launched the JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Shinjuku (Yoyogi, Shibuya-ward), a short walk from the south gate of the multi-line JR Shinjuku Station.
As Mr. Tanaka recalled, “Foreign guests actually make up 70-80% of our occupants, even though we initially anticipated only 30-40% of our guests would be foreigners.” The group thus gained confidence in operating hotels in Tokyo that are attractive and welcoming to foreign travelers.
Classy Image from Hibiya’s Meiji Era Quondam Landmark
In the Meiji era, there was a guest house in Hibiya called Rokumeikan where high-level government officials, Japanese nobility, foreign diplomats, and guests often gathered. Largely used as an accommodation for guests of the government, it gained a reputation as a place where Japanese and foreign diplomats attended receptions and parties every day and night.
The brand new 27-floor The Blossom Hibiya is a five-minute walk from the famous gathering spot, aiming to revive the luxury of its historic atmosphere.
Guests are welcomed by a gigantic flower arrangement at the lobby and reception facilities on the 18th floor. The lobby exudes an aura of the Rokumeikan, reminding guests of the ambience of the famous Meiji-era social and diplomatic venue.
There are other glass sculptures made by a Kagoshima prefecture-born artist and indigenous works from the Sasebo area in Nagasaki Prefecture, including Mikawachi-yaki porcelain. The hotel emphasizes the point that all of the works were selected to evoke the aura of the Rokumeikan.
Luxurious Accommodations and Views
JR Kyushu is targeting so-called “upper upscale” guests, making it the highest ranked hotel currently operated by the group. It set its initial price range accordingly, in the comparatively expensive category.
The new 27-floor building also includes two basement levels and offers 225 rooms from the 20th to the 27th floors.
The JR Kyushu Hotel will offer “standard double” rooms installed with a private bathroom and queen-sized bed at ￥40,000 JPY for two adults. The top grade “premium twin” rooms go for ￥97,200 JPY, also for two adults. Each price includes the hotel’s room fare and taxes.
The six premium twin rooms are corner suites from the 25th to the 27th (top) floor containing a layout of bed, bath, and living rooms. Each of the suites is a generous 61 square meters.
There are also universal access rooms for guests with disabilities. Amenities include a fitness room with treadmills and other equipment, and a conference room on the 19th floor.
Mr. Tanaka emphasized, “It is important that we serve our guests with proper hospitality.” He explained that staff for the new hotel were trained by the Hotel Okura Tokyo, which is highly regarded for its high-quality service method.
Japan Style, Global Standard
The group gave the press a sneak preview and a trail stay before the grand opening to show off its Japanese-style hospitality within a global standard for accepting overnight visitors from all around the world.
“You can see superb views of Tokyo,” commented Tanaka, explaining why Hibiya was selected for the project.
Visitors looking out the windows will find spread out before them such views as the Imperial Palace, leafy Hibiya Park, and the Tokyo Skytree tower from the north side rooms. From the south side, guests will take in the sights of the Tokyo Tower, Zojoji Temple, and Toranomon Hills Mori Tower.
Tablets are installed in every room, allowing guests to operate the curtains, lights, check for messages, and do a myriad of other tasks, including checking whether the laundry room is crowded, in Japanese, English, Mandarin, simplified Chinese, and Korean languages.
Japanese style is introduced in the bathroom, where a glass door separates the bathtub and shower from other uses. Ehime Prefecture’s indigenous product Imabari towels are provided in the rooms.
Japanese cuisine is available at the Sotoroku restaurant on the 18th floor. The cuisine focuses on name brand products from around the country, such as soba made with 100% Kyushu-produced buckwheat, Wagyu beef produced in Miyazaki Prefecture, and Japanese red tea from Kagoshima Prefecture.
JR Kyushu’s Tanaka exuded confidence in the new establishment’s service quality and price competitiveness compared to rivals, saying, “We are not concerned about being defeated.”
Additional information about The Blossom Hibiya is available from the JR Kyushu Group’s official website at this link.
Author: Mizuki Okada