NIPPONIA is a restoration project of kominka, or traditional Japanese houses, which is attracting the attention of even the Cabinet Secretariat. The project began in Maruyama Village in Sasayama, Hyogo Prefecture. The dreams of the founders have come true and the project has developed into an enormous movement that has supporters around the country.
Renovation of restaurants and café inheriting Japan’s natural beauty
Focused on utilizing historical buildings, NOTE takes part in area management that respects a town’s historical and cultural assets. The “diffused hotel” concept, which is about bequeathing traditional Japanese houses to the next generation, took shape with the “NIPPONIA Sasayama Castle Town Hotel” that opened in 2015 and was visited by the chief cabinet secretary. In 2013, The founders proposed their business plan as a “national strategic special zone.” Then in 2017, the Hotel Business Act amendment allowed diffused hotels to do business in areas other than special zones. As NIPPONIA’s activities expand nationwide, they chose AKIND as their business partner.
The activities are expanding at an alarming rate
NOTE’s sole purpose is to bequeath traditional Japanese houses to future generations. Their mission was to expand its operations nationwide. The issue at hand was the quality control of the newly developed facilities and customer experiences in each region. Everybody involved in the facility’s management had to be on the same page. Since the founders could no longer be involved deeply in each project, they had to take a step up from what began as an individual activity to an organization activity.
Going back to the basics with future-oriented concepts
The “belief” was essential to us. It meant everything, and it’s where everything began. We conducted workshops with core members, including the founders, and decided that we should unify all the activities to one brand called “NIPPONIA.” Before that, each facility was named differently and conducted different projects. From now on, “NIPPONIA” will be the facility’s brand name as well as the project name.
Next, we discussed the quality standard that defines “NIPPONIA.” Rather than looking into their most prominent project at the time, “NIPPONIA Sasayama Castle Town Hotel,” we examined “Village Maruyama,” which was the origin of their activities. In Maruyama, one can experience Japan’s natural beauty. There, villagers manage the inn in their spare time and offer a customer experience that trendy kominka hotels and traditional ryokan inns can’t offer. Thus, we decided to name facilities that are managed by villagers, like Maruyama Village, “NIPPONIA,” and facilities that are run by professional management companies like Sasayama Castle Town, “NIPPONIA HOTEL,” so that future projects could follow this framework. Through further discussions, we developed our “vision, mission, promise,” as well as built brand guidelines that would be the quality standard of organization activities and developments.
We launched a website that shares these standards, which also acts as a platform to tackle the issue at hand, which is to recruit partners.
Shaping a nostalgic but new lifestyle in Japan
We must consider people’s deep-rooted beliefs and ideas when developing a branding strategy for projects like NIPPONIA, that have social significance. Partners who support NIPPONIA’s beliefs have come together to create facilities that provide the feel of what it’s like to live in Japan’s natural beauty while adding their touch of diverseness. These one-of-a-kind efforts and experiences to inherit Japan’s beautiful landscapes will help us shape the future.