While the novel coronavirus has caused an unprecedented downturn in the tourism industry around the world, the postponement of the Olympic Games, combined with the pandemic, have doubly impacted Tokyo, where hotels are struggling to cope. According to NHK, Japan recorded a 60 percent drop in foreign visitors in February, with an even greater drop expected for March. Moreover, the most recent Tankan survey of the hotel and restaurant sector by the Bank of Japan revealed a whopping 70 point drop, the steepest ever in the sector's history, from plus 11 to minus 59 between late February and early March, indicating a dramatic shift in sentiment from moderately positive to very negative.

While the government is expected to release stimulus measures, it remains to be seen whether they will be sufficient to keep the industry afloat.

If you can't stay now...

Within this dreary mood, one hostel in the popular tourist area of Ueno has launched a new accommodation plan which could suggest a solution to help hotels survive this crisis.

The "Q Stay and Lounge Ueno" is a new hostel geared towards international tourists which opened in January 2020. Offering both dormitory and private room accommodations, as well as a lounge and cafe where it organizes social events and parties for cultural exchanges, it has received positive reviews for its artsy decor, comfortable accommodations and use of technology to facilitate communication between guests from different countries.

...then stay later

However, much to the operators' chagrin, the main targets of the hostel can no longer visit Japan, which is a problem, to say the least.

As they explain in their press release, "despite measures we have taken such as all staff diligently washing their hands, wearing masks, and thoroughly cleaning, disinfecting, and ventilating the premises, it is not possible for us to invite you right now since your safety is our first concern. So, instead, we'd like you to come and stay with us a little bit later in the future (...) once the threat of the coronavirus is gone."

To make good on its promise, Q Stay and Lounge Ueno is offering special reduced-price accommodation vouchers which can only be purchased between now and May 6th, 2020. These vouchers are open-ended, allowing potential visitors to use them at any time before the end of 2020.

Plan details

Four types of vouchers are available:

  • Dormitory stay: 1 night @ JPY 3,500 (normally JPY 5,000 / night)
  • Private room stay: 1 night @ JPY 11,000 (normally JPY 18,000 / night)
  • Dormitory stay multiple use voucher: 3 nights @ JPY 9,000 + 1 night free
  • Private room stay multiple use voucher: 3 nights @ JPY 29,000 + 1 night free

For more information, please visit their website here.

Hostel information

  • Name: Q Stay and lounge 上野
  • Address (JP): 東京都台東区東上野2-13-2
  • Address (EN): 2-13-2 Ueno Taito Ward Tokyo
  • Access: 3 min. walk from Ginza Sta. and 4 min. walk from Okachimachi Sta. (Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line), 8 min. walk from Ueno Sta. (JR) and Keisei Ueno Sta. (Keisei Line)

By - Ben K.