SENDAI >> Guesthouses offering inexpensive stays have opened in Sendai in hope of attracting foreign visitors to the city.
The number of travelers from overseas to the city declined drastically after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, but has started to increase steadily since last year, causing the need for new accommodation facilities in the city.
ORIT opened in July in Aoba Ward, a minute’s walk from the Sendai Asaichi market, which is known as the “kitchen” of Sendai locals.
The guesthouse was renovated from a four-story Japanese confectionery plant and includes six rooms to accommodate up to 40 people. The rate for a shared dormitory room starts from $29 per person per night. It also has a cafe and bar on the first floor, where people can dine even if they are not staying at the guesthouse.
The name came from ori-ito (weaving yarn), which is based on the idea of a place to “weave together the memories of tourists.”
The guesthouse is run by Kunimitsu Horiuchi, 55, president of a real-estate company in the ward. He had his eye on the fact that there are few guesthouses in Sendai which are popular among backpackers and other tourists.
“Since its opening, we’ve had tourists from Taiwan, France and Switzerland, among other places. I want to provide them with guided tours some day,” he said.
A Thai college student, Kittipong Jong-klayklang, 21, checked in while visiting the Tohoku region to enjoy the autumn scenery. He planned to visit Zao in the prefecture and Yamadera in Yamagata Prefecture.
“I learned about Tohoku on the internet. The area is fantastic as it’s filled with beautiful nature,” he said.
Another guesthouse, Hostel Kiko, opened in June in Wakabayashi Ward, Sendai, accommodating up to 44 people in 13 rooms. It frequently holds events offering food from around the country, with the aim of having its visitors interact with each other.