Broadcasting artist Mitsutaka Takasu fantasizes with the guests to make the world more interesting, and proposes plans on their own, “Fantasy Media” on TOKYO FM. On Sunday, August 30, the Hoshino Resorts representative, Mr. Kaji Hoshino, appeared.
(From left) Ms. Yoshiji Hoshino, Mitsutaka Takasu
◆Enjoy Karuizawa throughout the year
Takasu: I would like to trace the history of Mr. Hoshino. Originally, your father ran an inn in Karuizawa.
Hoshino: That’s right. I was the 4th generation hot spring inn and it opened in 1914.
Takasu: It’s been 106 years since you were founded, isn’t it?
Hoshino: When I was born, there was an inn, and there was no bath at home. Instead, you used to go to the hot spring baths every day.
Takasu: Was Karuizawa a place that used to flourish as a summer resort?
Hoshino: It was so hot in Tokyo that missionaries built a villa in Karuizawa in 1888 (a summer resort). It seems that Britain and Canada used to go to places that are cool in the summer to hold training sessions and stay. As a result of searching for something cool, Karuizawa was selected. After the villa was built, Japanese people followed it because it was a “good habit,” and then a hotel and a hot spring inn that we operated were built.
Takasu: That is amazing.
Hoshino: In the summer of Karuizawa, a huge community was created. When I was a kid, there were times when quality shops in Tokyo were open only during the summer.
Takasu: Did Karuizawa change from what you were when you were a child?
Hoshino: That has changed a lot. With the advent of air conditioners, the need for summer resorts in Japan is gone. So, after I succeeded to Karuizawa’s business, I stopped using the term “summer resort Karuizawa.” There was no need as a concept, and there was a risk that the number of customers would increase only in July and August by using the word “summer resort”. So, the first theme I worked on was how to get away from the summer resort.
Hoshino: The biggest thing apart from the concept of a summer resort was that we can now find fun, fun, and abundance in our lives in nature. By appealing them, you can find good points not only in summer but also in other seasons. By changing the theme of Karuizawa to “an extraordinary experience in nature,” we created annual demand.
Takasu: It has changed a lot since Mr. Hoshino worked on it. Haven’t the visitors changed?
Hoshino: That’s right. The number of customers visiting Karuizawa has increased throughout the year. I feel a big change.
Creating an environment where bears and people can coexist
Takasu: It seems that bears occasionally appear in Karuizawa.
Hoshino: The villa area has expanded more and more. From a bear’s perspective, I think it’s a feeling that “humans have suddenly arrived.” Since we have a theme of lifestyle in nature, we are working to make the habitat of the bear and the villa area coexist, co-prosper, and coexist. Picchio, a group company of Hoshino Resorts, is an eco-tourism organization and is entrusted with bear conservation activities. To tell the truth, the big problem for the bear problem was to improve the trash can.
Takasu: I see.
Hoshino: Bears do not like to see humans. You’re going down the mountain aiming at the food in the trash can that the villa has put in. Therefore, we improved the trash to prevent the smell from leaking. In addition, we changed the door so that it cannot be opened with the hand of a bear. After I knew I couldn’t open the trash, no bears came out. We also have transmitters for more than 20 bears living in the forest of Karuizawa.
Takasu: You have introduced such a thing, right?
Hoshino: When a bear comes out to a villa area, a staff member works together with a training dog called a bear dog to teach the bear the “line between human and bear”.
◆For customers to feel “unusual”
Takasu: I think Mr. Hoshino went to various countries, but was there any hotel that you felt “wow” to be jealous?
Hoshino: The greatness of a hotel gradually disappears as you study hotel management. The reason is that I am conscious of the financial part. Even if you think it’s amazing, there are hotels that look in the red when you look closely.
Takasu: I see.
Hoshino: Hotel management is a simple business, but if you study management, the definition of “wow” such as productivity or profitability will change. However, there were many learning factors around the world. What was very helpful was that “it is not always good to listen to customers’ voices and have them enjoy themselves.”
Hoshino: Only Hoshinoya at Hoshino Resorts does not have a TV. The hot spring inn of my parents’ house was the first of “Hoshinoya”, but I decided not to put a TV at the timing of the renovation.
Takasu: I wonder if there was an idea that we couldn’t meet the needs of our customers.
Hoshino: That’s right. When we wonder why we can stay at our resort, what comes to mind is “non-daily life”. We separated the inn from the parking lot to create everyday life that is not in Tokyo, and built a world view without gaps. We have put a lot of passion into the guest rooms, and we have created a space filled with our thoughts.
However, as soon as you turn on the switch when you have a TV there, the air you can feel in Tokyo spreads out and you return to your everyday life. If you want to spend an important time but the same time as Tokyo, the product value of our inn will drop, so we decided not to put a TV.
Takasu: Well, that’s how it happened.
The next broadcast on September 6th (Sun) will continue to be delivered with Mr. Hoshino as a guest. Please look forward to it!
Program name: Fancy media
Broadcast date and time: Every Sunday from 25:00 to 25:29
Personality: Mitsuyoshi Takasu
Program official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/QUUSOOMEDIA/