Japanese hotels are employing some out of the box ideas when it comes to attracting foreign tourists, with a weakening currency and the approaching Olympics encouraging more international tourists than ever.
All accommodation providers are determined to grab their slice of the pie, it seems, but they're going about it in very different ways, according to Channel News Asia.
Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten, an inn in Tokyo,
has been serving local visitors for more than 100 years, decided to undergo an extensive renovation last year in an effort to attract a more international clientele.
While the rustic feel remains, efforts have been made to spruce up the facilities, including the bathrooms and bedrooms.
Shigeki Waga, its general manager, commented: "I believe foreign visitors will continue to increase and I think 50 per cent of our customers will eventually be foreigners."
His predictions are in line with current trends, with a 22.4 per cent year-on-year increase reported by the Japan National Tourism Organisation this August.
Although figures are largely being bolstered by an increase in Chinese and Korean tourists, this hasn't stopped hotels from trying to appeal to other foreign markets, with some offering prayer mats and halal-approved Japanese meals for Muslim visitors.
"Domestic travel market is now shrinking in Japan. So everybody is now starting to focus on the inbound business," commented Teppei Yamagami, manager of inbound business promotion at Rakuten Travel.
However, there is still much that can be done in order to help non-Japanese speakers get to grips with the country, as there is still a lack of English signposts throughout Japan, making it difficult to get around.
However, with the 2020 Olympics imminent, efforts are being made to address problems that international visitors may find upon arrival in Japan.