Japan Today



No room at the inn: Where will visitors to Tokyo stay next summer?


It's not only tickets to Olympic events that appear in short supply. According to a report on TBS Television (July 15), the city faces a serious shortage of overnight accommodations next summer. As evidence, it pointed out that people who have already obtained tickets to Olympic and Paralympic events are now learning to their chagrin that there are no rooms at the inn.

Increasingly, word has been circulating of the difficulty of finding accommodations.

A woman who lives 90 minutes from central Tokyo managed to obtain tickets to the men's gymnastic finals and also the final event of track-and-field.

"I was overjoyed," she told the reporter. But both events are scheduled to end after 10 p.m., and considering the long commute home, she began looking for accommodations close to those events. Booking a hotel room turned out to be impossible. 

"There are about 15 hotels nearby, from business hotels to tourist class places," she related. "I contacted them one after the next, but none of them had a vacancy for July 25, I was told."

"We're really sorry," the hotel staff told her. "All our available rooms have been reserved by the 'Olympic association,' so we are unable to accept any requests."  

A member of the Olympic organizing committee told TBS some 46,000 room-nights have been booked in advance for people involved in the games. It was said, for instance, that branches of the Washington Hotel chain have been completely sold out to the people involved in the games.

"Obviously you can't have a situation with no accommodations for people involved with the games," head economist Toshihiro Nagahama of the Dai-ichi Insurance think tank is quoted as saying. "So it makes sense to secure them at an early stage."

In addition, the teams from various foreign countries have already grabbed other accommodations for themselves. While some of these reservations may prove unnecessary and will be cancelled, at present they are still unavailable, and no one can be certain of the eventual quantity.

"Take the Ariake area in Koto Ward," said one reporter. "There's going to be lots of events around here. All 830 rooms in the nearby Washington Hotel have already been taken over by people involved in the games."

According to the hotel, the organizers would adjust their final request for room reservations sometime this autumn, and reservation requests for any remaining rooms would be accepted from around November.

Meanwhile another complaint has surfaced: "While the games venues are barrier free, such is not the case for either hotels or for minpaku (accommodations in private lodgings)," complained a wheelchair-bound woman who has obtained a ticket. "I'm hoping that handicapped people like myself won't have a hard time getting around."

If fans, tourists and the handicapped are excluded from the fun, it would certainly dash cold water on the pledge of omotenashi (hospitality) that Japan made to secure the hosting of the 2020 games, the article concludes grimly.

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Tokyo is going to be a zoo and at this point anyone will be lucky to get a room in Tokyo metro now. Recommendation is to go find a room outside of Tokyo metro area (ie: Gunma, Saitama, Nagano, or even in the Chubu-Nagoya area). It will take time to get to Tokyo (thank god for the Shinkansen), but at least it will be cheaper at this point. Otherwise watch from home and glad to not in that conundrum.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Public transportation is going to be nigh impossible too, I haven't heard of any plans for accomodating the influx of visitors!!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

And yet, no one's asking the pertinent question. Why even plan to have the Olympics without planning for accomodation? Will anyone ask this?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

No room at the inn? Simply stay up all night partying. Problem solved.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Is there no Olympic village for the athletes this time?

Not for referees, judges, timekeepers, ground crew, security guards, pool cleaners, custodians, etc. and the other workers needed to keep the whole thing functioning.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I contacted them one after the next...

Why didn't she just use an online booking service like Agoda? Availability for all the area's hotels would show up in an instant.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Why didn't she just use an online booking service like Agoda? Availability for all the area's hotels would show up in an instant.

Perhaps she only has a fax machine and that hotel directory book that you used to be able to buy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

(thank god for the Shinkansen)

What makes you think there will be any seats available on them at that time?

How about all the celebrities open their homes to visitors?

Yuzuru Hanyu: Which bedroom would you like to sleep in?

Female tourist: Yours!

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There was a thriving Airbnb industry happening in Tokyo until they cracked down. It was obvious then there was going to be a giant problem for the Olympics. They could just open it up again, problem solved.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I am renting out two bedrooms. Will cook breakfast, get them to the train station and bbq for them if they like. 50 grand for two weeks. It is a steal. I will also do the wash.

So it will be an Olympic without viewers. Interesting. If you have tickets...put them on Yahoo Auction.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Like mitoguitarman mentioned above, Japan knocked out a hell of a lot of Air BnB places that would've housed thousands of people for the games.

Shooting themselves in the foot at the expense of the public.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Who would’ve thought that a mega congested metropolis like Tokyo couldn’t accommodate thousands of visitors?

The local government needs to erect tents in parks-problem solved!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Minpaku is still easy and possible. It just has to be the homestay style in someone's house. You don't need any complicated fire safety rules and you can advertise on Airbnb and other travel sites. You can make some supplementary income, the original aim of minpaku.

You can also buy and rent out a short-stay apartment if you like. You just need permission to do so, like every other accommodation business. You'll have to buy the same type of fire alarms as hotels. It is this form of Airbnb that caused all the problems, not the homestay style.

If people living 90 minutes away are booking hotels, the obvious answer would be to run the trains in Kanto until 2am during the Games.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You think the normal commute to/from work is fun during rush hour, wait until you add another 600,000+ people to it, since you can guarantee there won't be additional cars added. Good luck.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The LU survived the 2012 Olympics and it's not up to the excellent Japanese standards. I'm pretty certain it will be fine here, despite misgivings aired.

The only thing that may cause raised eyebrows is the chatter. Because people (for a change) really talked to each other on public transport to and from venues. I've rarely seen people look so happy on the tube!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I've been told by an expert, people will pay royally, I mean serious yen for central Tokyo accommodations. A real headscratcher - you could rent your place and go on a very nice vacation and still have plenty left to ride around with. Just putting it out there.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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