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Shared accommodations offer affordable stays

Date Posted: 2002-08-08

How about a hotel room for ¥1,500 to ¥2,000 per night in Okinawa. Sounds too good, but the hotel is no fleabag either. The catch is that you will have to share your room with other travelers.

The room-sharing concept is the latest offer to Japan’s young who want to stay longer and do not much care for extra frills that traditional hotels and resorts offer. People who are in the process of moving to Okinawa also find such accommodations attractive while they are hunting for a more permanent apartment or house.

The trend is catching fast. In Naha City alone there are more than 10 hotels that offer rooms on share-basis. Many also offer extra discounts to those who will stay longer than one month. They can find a hotel room for as little as ¥30,000 for the whole month.

Hotel Kashiwaya, located on Ukishima Street in Naha City, opened for business in January 2001, and was designed for room sharing from the beginning. It has also been fully booked ever since. “Almost all of our customers are people in their 20’s, but recently many families have stayed with us also. We don’t offer fancy beds, but we charge only ¥1,500 per night, and that gets you also to meet a lot of friendly people,” Kashiwaya owner Shushin Kameya said. He added that many of his customers have commented that an additional advantage is the wealth of information they can get from other people staying in the hotel.

“I realized that there were no hotels that offered young people a place to stay for a longer period for an affordable price, so I built one,” Kameya said.

“This is almost like a home to me. In a matter of fact, my room mates greet me with “Welcome home!” when I return,” a seemingly satisfied male customer enthused. He said that he is in the midway of his planned three-week stay.

Okinawa Prefecture tourism officials recognize that such accommodations are becoming more sought after. “The trend is changing. Tourists are staying longer than before. Two weeks to one month is not uncommon, and we need to create facilities to cater to those needs,” Prefecture Tourism and Resort Section Chief Hideo Kinjo said.

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