When you think, "I want to go on a trip and travel!", what sort of plans do you make?

Whether it be tourist attractions, enjoying local cuisine, interacting with local people...what you want to get out of your trip differs from person to person, but the hotels and inns you stay in are an invaluable constant no matter the trip.

While you'd like to be able to relax in your accommodations as if you were in your own home, you also want to experience the excitement that only a travel destination can offer.

Take in the local surroundings of your lodging! A hotel that feels like an extension of your home living.

Tokyu Stay, a national hotel chain with branches throughout Japan, is introducing a brand new concept of "a hotel that allows you to travel from the comfort of your room."

Tokyu Stay's rooms have always been equipped with washer/dryers, microwave ovens, mini-kitchens, and other daily necessities. Now by adding activities that can be done within walking distance from the hotel via a new stay plan, guests can not only visit tourist spots, but also enjoy a fresh experience of "everyday life in the local town," as if they were actually living in that town.

Tokyu Stay is currently developing the "Nichi-tabi Project (Daily Travel Project)," an initiative to put the concept into practice at each of its hotels.

To get a feel for it, we paid a visit to the Kyoto Sakai-za (Shijo-Kawaramachi) Tokyu Stay location in Kyoto, and tried out their "Microwave Cooking with Ingredients from Nishiki Market Photo Contest" campaign.

Arrange the ingredients you buy at Nishiki Ichiba!

The "Microwave Cooking with Ingredients from Nishiki Market Photo Contest" is a contest in which hotel guests cook dishes in their room's microwave oven using ingredients purchased at Nishiki Market, a marketplace famously known as "Kyoto's Kitchen" and post the photos of their completed meals on Instagram.

Nishiki Market, located nearby the hotel, is a historic shopping street that extends 400 meters, lined with a variety of stores selling seafood, ready-to-eat meals, sweets, and other goods.

The market offers a wide variety of foodstuffs that are a staple of Kyoto cuisine, such as kyo yasai (Kyoto vegetables), hamo (conger eel), sasakarei (half-dried willowy flounder), yuba (bean curd skin), and fu (wheat gluten), offering visitors a taste of Kyoto's unique culinary culture.

We had a hard time deciding what to order, but since it's been getting chilly, we chose mainly ingredients that would warm us up.

Purchased Ingredients:

Kyoto oden (a dashi based stew)

Stewed beef tripe

Yuba (bean curd skin)

Fu (wheat gluten)

Hana-daikon raddish

Bonito flakes

Uji green tea warabi mochi

Now let's start cooking using the microwave oven! First we heated up the Kyoto oden and stewed beef tripe in the microwave oven.

While that was heating up, we soaked the yuba and fu in water to return them to their original state.

Once sufficiently warmed up, we topped the Kyoto oden with with the yuba and the beef tripe stew with the fu!

Finally, sprinkle a little dried bonito flakes over the Kyoto oden and it's ready to serve.

The soup stock had a delicious aroma, and looked very tasty!

The yuba went really well with the oden broth! The firm and unique texture of the yuba was also a great touch.

The best part of the "Microwave Cooking with Ingredients from Nishiki Market Photo Contest" is trying out combining specialties like this and making simple dish arrangements.

It was fun to check out the offerings of various shops and think, "Wouldn't it be delicious if I added this to the dish?" We enjoyed imagining what we thought would be a tasty dish with these ingredients.

Creating "fun" within and around the hotel

By having fun shopping in the marketplace just as the locals do, we were able to get a feel for the "enjoyment that is an extension of everyday life" concept of the project.

So we got to wondering, what was Tokyu Stay's motivation for starting the "Nichi-tabi Project" in the first place?

We asked Mr. Shotaro Koike of the Sales Strategy Department of Tokyu Resorts & Stay Corporation, which plans and operates the project, for more details.

Writer: Could you tell us more about the "Nichi-tabi Project"?

Koike: The "Nichi-tabi Project" is a project to discover the good qualities of local communities through workshops conducted by the managers of all 31 Tokyu Stay branches.

Our guests were already satisfied with the in-room washer/dryer, microwave oven, and mini-kitchen facilities that Tokyu Stay offers, so now we're aiming to further increase customer satisfaction by communicating the charms of the local area as well as the hotel itself.

Writer: Sounds like an interesting project! What kind of experiences do you hope for guests to have through the "Nichi-tabi Project"?

Koike: The "Nichi-tabi Project" is not only a partnership with the local community, but also a project that involves facilities for mid to long-term stays, which is one of Tokyu Stay's strengths.

For example, we hope that guests will feel the "value of Tokyu Stay" in each experience, such as simply having a leisurely breakfast or working in their rooms.

Writer: I see. So you want people to enjoy the hotel in and of itself?

Koike: Yes! We want our guests to enjoy not only the hotel as a place to sleep, but also the hotel itself and the surrounding area, so that they have an experience that could only be possible because they stayed at a Tokyu Stay hotel.

Our goal is to create a hotel that will make people want to stay at Tokyu Stay again, or stay there even one more night, even when traveling to other destinations.

We came away with the understanding that the "Nichi-tabi Project" is a project that benefits hotel guests, the hotel, and the local community altogether.

Certainly, if people can find things to enjoy within the hotel and within walking distance of the hotel, they will be able to relax and enjoy their stay as if it were an extension of their daily life wherever they go.

If there are things to look forward to not only in the tourist attractions during your trip, but also in the places where you stay, the memories of your trip will be even more wonderful!

If you are looking for a trip that is a little different from the usual, why not stay at Tokyu Stay and enjoy "Nichi-tabi"?

Sponsored by © Tokyu Resorts & Stays Co., Ltd.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.

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