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[Video Article] Minato Ward Eager to Invite Inbound Tourism. Asking Foreign Staff in Shiba Park Hotel, "What do you like about Minato?"

Minato, Tokyo has great access from international airports and works as the entrance of Japan. Not only are there famous cities and spots such as Roppongi, Shinagawa, Odaiba, and Tokyo Tower, but there are 86 foreign embassies, and 8% of the population are foreigners here, making it a popular area for foreigners living in Japan. Then, what is the point that makes Minato fascinating to foreigners? In this article, we asked foreign staff who work at "Shiba Park Hotel," serving foreign tourists for 74 years, about "What you like about Minato."

A historic hotel where the "All Blacks" stayed

After going through the entrance, a chic atmosphere awaits. An enormous bookshelf lines the walls around the central staircase. The "Shiba Park Hotel" was renewed two years ago but is a historic hotel, established in 1948 (Showa 23).

The building started as a foreign trade mission hotel and has been used by many guests from foreign countries throughout its 70 years of history. In the past, many world-famous rugby teams such as New Zealand and France stayed in the hotel. Even today, the hotel puts effort into its foreign guests, and 11 staff from foreign countries will support you for a comfortable stay.

Shimbashi is a place where you can feel the straightforward scenery of Japan

The first person to interview is Mr. Kim from Seoul, South Korea. Mr. Kim came to Japan in 2003 and started working at Shiba Park Hotel 18 years ago. After working as a bellboy and reception staff, he is now the assistant manager, educating younger staff.

Can you tell me your favorite spot in Minato Ward?

There are many recommended spots in Minato Ward. Of those, I like the Geihinkan Akasaka Rikyu the most. I came to like this place when the CEO of the company took me there as part of training for new employees. I knew about the place but had no chance to visit there. I remember Western Gothic architecture even though I was in Japan. It is a place I would recommend.

Please tell us your first impression of Minato Ward

My first impression was the office buildings of major companies. Also, I remember being surprised that there are residential areas between the commercial areas. Also, there are areas where many embassies and consulates. I felt that Minato Ward is an exciting city to go for a walk, getting to know more as you walk around.

I believe that you often guide your guests to various spots. What are places that you would recommend to foreign tourists?

Whenever I'm asked this question by my friends or guests, I recommend the Shimbashi area. There are many small Izakayas and restaurants, and there are many company employees after work. It is a place where you can feel the straightforward scenery of Japan. From a foreigner's perspective, the signs of Izakayas and the atmosphere of the night creates a unique city. I would like people to feel the excitement of the city.

I see. Shimbashi may be called "The city of businessmen," but this may look fresh to people from foreign countries. Are there any other places that you would recommend?

There are many reasons for tourism, but Odaiba and Ginza are close by if you want to shop. Many delicious restaurants in Minato Ward are on the Michelin Guide, so going on a gourmet tour while shopping is recommended.

Are there any great places to eat around Shiba Park Hotel?

This might sound like a promotion of the Shiba Park Hotel, but I would recommend "Beijing," a Chinese cuisine restaurant inside our hotel. It is the oldest Chinese cuisine restaurant inside a hotel in Japan. The food is of course delicious. When the restaurant first opened, no chef could make Chinese cuisine, so the hotel invited a chef from China to open the restaurant. The traditional taste has been protected for more than 60 years and is loved to this day. By the way, my favorite menu is the "Square Black Vinegar Sweet and Sour Pork."

What do you like about Shiba Park Hotel?

Our hotel has a concept of a library. We want our guests to spend a comfortable and relaxed time. We also have a restaurant called "The Dining." Here, we serve Japanese, Western, and Chinese cuisine. Our hotel is located in the heart of the city, but we think that it is a place where guests can forget the busy city and become relaxed.

The Roppongi Hills Observatory is the best to take photos!

Next, we interviewed Ms. Dui Retono from Surabaya, Indonesia. Ms. Dui came to Japan 10 years ago. Right now, she works as a reception staff of the Shiba Park Hotel, supporting check-in and guiding guests.

What is your favorite spot in Minato Ward?

I think that Minato Ward is a wonderful city. It is a city where history and modern Japan mix. However, one place that fascinated me the most since my visit to Japan is the Tokyo Tower. I think it is the most Japan-like place.

What was your first impression of Minato Ward?

Before Shiba Park Hotel, I worked in a travel agency. Before that, I went to a travel school and studied a lot. The first thing I felt when I came to Minato Ward was the history. There are new buildings, technology, and atmosphere within the protected history. I think that's what makes Minato a great place.

In the Shiba area, there is Zojoji, cafes, and restaurants. It is a city where new and old mix together. What do you like about this city?

There are many places in Minato Ward depending on how you feel. For example, I like to take photos, so the Observatory of Roppongi Hills is a recommended place. Other than that, there are many places on the Michelin Guide. If you want to feel nature, there is Hamarikyu Gardens in the neighboring Chuo Ward. It is a 20-minute walk from the hotel. Also, Shiba Park is close by. The area also has many embassies, where you would feel like you're in a foreign country.

As a reception staff, I imagine that you have many opportunities to talk with guests. What sightseeing spots do you recommend to your guests?

If it is his or her first time in Tokyo, I always ask what they want to do here. If he or she says, "I want to relax," I always make conversations such as "What do you like to do?" From there, I may recommend an art museum, a luxurious restaurant, or a traditional Japanese cuisine restaurant 10 minutes from the hotel.

What is your favorite restaurant in the area close to the Shiba Park Hotel?

We do recommend "The Dining" in our hotel, but my favorite is "Tofuya Ukai," a Japanese cuisine restaurant. I like the atmosphere, and even though it rests in the middle of the city, it has a lot of greenery and you can see Tokyo Tower well. You can experience a lot more than only food. Also, it is a tofu cuisine restaurant, so many vegans love the place.

How would you like your guests to spend time in Minato Ward?

Minato Ward is a place where history and entertainment come together. It is a great place for sightseeing, with modern Japan, modern Tokyo, and traditional Tokyo coming together.

Finally, please tell me what you like about Shiba Park Hotel

Shiba Park hotel was rebranded in November 2020 as a library hotel. Of course, there are many books, and there is also a restaurant where you can enjoy Japanese, Western, and Chinese cuisine at once. The hotel has more than 70 years of history, so it may seem like it is a place enjoyed by older generations. However, the library is a great place to take photos for Instagram, so I'm sure that you can take a cool photo of yourself reading books in the hotel library!

This is why Minato Ward is a popular city for inbound tourism. If you have a chance to come to Japan, please come over to Minato Ward. Why not stay at Shiba Park Hotel and find your favorite spot in the area?

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