Community Hostel & Hotel
Brand Fostering Connections Between Locals and Travelers
Before COVID-19 began ravaging the planet, Japan was in the midst of a surge in inbound tourism. Aspiring to ride this incoming wave, entrepreneurs across Japan built new lodging facilities. Our initial response to this trend was to determine the direction we would take. We thought, “if we are going to build new facilities, let’s do it in a way that is both unique and brings lasting value to society.”
Traveling as a young person provides fodder for one’s character. The more real-life experiences people have in cultures different than their own, the more people of different cultures will understand each other. Raysum decided to, in the midst of this inbound tourism boom, develop lodging facilities that would serve as a base for interaction among travelers from around the world and local communities.
Our goal was not to contribute to conventional tourism per se, but to enable and encourage travelers to experience local daily life in a way that would not only invite unforgettable experiences for travelers, but also provide tangible and intangible assets to locals.
We started in Nishiarai, Tokyo. We acquired a business hotel located in front of the station and, in 2015, transformed it into a community hostel, Emblem Hostel Nishiarai.
Guests can participate in a wide variety of programs designed by locals, such as helping with early morning cleaning at Nishiarai Hikawa Shrine, participating in sushi-making workshops taught by sushi chefs in the shopping street in front of the station, and taking tours of Nishiarai Daishi (Sōjiji Temple) guided by local people. The café lounge next to the front desk is an easy-going place where locals and tourists can mingle and interact naturally on any given day.
Encouraged by our early success, we opened “WeBase Kamakura” in 2016. Traditionally, Kamakura has been a day-trip tourist destination for people in Tokyo, but with its access to the rich ocean, majestic mountains, and ancient samurai culture, we took a chance on its inherent potential to attract travelers from around the world and opened a facility with a particularly large capacity of 91 people, a rarity in this area of the country.
Inside the building is a lounge facing a courtyard adorned with beautiful hydrangeas, a spacious Japanese-style room, an approximately 70-seat restaurant, a yoga studio, and a wealth of other social spaces.
The building provides for a cornucopia of programs that allows travelers from all over the world to experience Japan and Kamakura to the fullest, including tea ceremony, calligraphy, Zen meditation, dragnet fishing, nagashi somen (noodles served flowing in a flume), watermelon splitting, yoga classes, mini-Japanese language classes, viewing hydrangea and autumn leaves in the gardens of Kamakura temples and shrines, and many others.
Additionally, the waters off Yuigahama serve as the stage for the Marine Sports World Championship, bringing national teams and tournament officials from around the world to WeBase Kamakura.
In our first year of operations, we had already welcomed guests from 50 countries. In September 2018, we were honored that it was used as a lodging base for the Sailing World Cup, becoming a place for athletes from around the world to interact.
Following Kamakura, WeBase chose to expand to Hakata, Kyushu. We opened “WeBase Hakata” in 2017 in Fukuoka due to its close proximity to the continent and its long history of serving as the gateway to Japan for Asian countries, such as South Korea, China, and Taiwan.
We constructed our new building in Nakasukawabata, Hakata, where local culture remains pronounced. A multilingual staff welcomes guests from all over the world, along with a manager who is a Hakata native and who deeply loves his hometown. We are proud to say that in the first six months of operation, we achieved a 75% occupancy rate and have earned many repeat customers.
One year prior to the opening of the facility, we were fortunate to have formed a relationship with the organizers of the Doi-Nagare area of the 800-year-running Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival. Thanks to this relationship, bolstered by our own staff participating in the events, we decided to open our new facility on July 14, 2017, the day before the main event of the Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival, which is called the “Oi-Yamakasa.” We are honored to say that we have been welcoming guests from all over the world since day one.
After Hakata, we opened WeBase Kyoto and WeBase Takamatsu in 2018, followed by WeBase Hiroshima in 2019, all to offer international guests a taste of Japan’s diverse culture and climate, which differs from region to region.
In all of our facilities, we place the utmost importance on our relationships with the local people. We listen directly to local people and attend their meetings and events as much as possible. We believe that it is through the trust and bonds we have built through these efforts that we are able to provide our guests with an experience they will treasure for a lifetime.