July 18, 2018
  • Rakuten LIFULL STAY, Inc.
  • WAQOO Co., Ltd.

Rakuten LIFULL STAY and WAQOO Agree to Form Partnership to Promote and Operate Historic Japanese Temple Accommodation Properties

- The two companies to collaborate with the aim of promoting historical temples and shrines and encouraging regional tourism revitalization -

Tokyo, July 18, 2018 – Rakuten LIFULL STAY, Inc., the Rakuten Group’s vacation rental service provider, and WAQOO Co., Ltd., which operates a temple stay*1 portal site and reservation site, today announced that the two companies have agreed to form a business partnership to operate and promote temple lodgings as accommodation options for domestic and international travelers.

Through the partnership, Rakuten LIFULL STAY and WAQOO will collaborate to promote the sale of temple lodgings around Japan as accommodation with the aim of promoting historical temples and shrines and enouraging regional revitalization. As part of the partnership, WAQOO will carry out the renovation and maintenance of traditional temple lodging properties to make them more accessible to travelers, and will make them available for booking through the its “Terahaku” temple lodgings booking site. Rakuten LIFULL STAY will also offer the lodgings through its vacation rental and shared accommodation reservation site “Vacation STAY”, in addition to carry out the operation of the facilities, such as creating house manuals at WAQOO’s request and sales management.

WAQOO’s business is centered around making the experience of staying at a traditional temple more accessible to general people. Traditionally, temple lodgings were designed as accommodation for monks, priests and worshipers, but now also accept regular guests, including tourists visiting Japan. As times have changed, the use of these properties have also expanded. As well as providing accommodation, guests can also enjoy experiences related to temple and shrine culture, such as zazen seated meditation and hand-copying of sutras. These cultural experiences are making temple lodgings a popular destination for foreign travelers, with the number of overseas guests staying at the temple lodgings increasing every year. Due to the enactment of the Private Lodgings Business Act in June 2018, the number of temple lodging facilities available to tourists is expected to increase, and the experience of staying in a temple is becoming more popular among both Japanese and overseas travellers.

Temple stay experiences are also receiving increased attention from tourists outside Japan as valuable cross-cultural experiences, and foreign visitor numbers increasing every year.

Rakuten LIFULL STAY and WAQOO will at first accept reservations, starting from August 1, 2018, for a temple lodging called “WAQOO Mii-dera”, the renovated Myogonin sub-temple located on the grounds of Mii-dera Temple (official name: Onjo-ji)*2 in Shiga Prefecture. Mii-dera Temple features expansive views of Lake Biwa and is one of Tendai Buddhism’s three main temples, which take up a large portion of land in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture. As one of the head temples, Mii-dera Temple has been famous since ancient times and featured in a series of historical paintings known as “The Eight Views of Omi”. WAQOO Mii-dera has also been upgraded with modern features such “Anshin Stay IoT” technology provided by Rakuten subsidiary Rakuten Communications. This service helps decrease the burdens on temple staff and on guests by providing identity confirmation and key management at check-in using a tablet in addition to customer support.

Both companies hope to proactively promote temple stays with both domestic and international travelers as a unique, new form of accommodation, and create temple stays where guests can enjoy even greater accommodation experiences.

*1 Accommodation facilities for monks, priests, and worshipers at temples and shrines. These facilities have a variety of forms. Some involve actually staying in the temple or shrine buildings (which in many cases are made of wood), in other buildings on the grounds, or in facilities located a short distance away operated by the temple or shrine itself (these are relatively new, made of reinforced concrete and often have the word “hall” within their names).

*2 Due to the three reisen fountains or wells believed to have been used as the first baths for Emperor Tenji, Emperor Tenmu, and Empress Jito when they were babies, the temple became known as “Mii-no-tera” (well temple), and eventually “Mii-dera” (three well temple).

About “WAQOO Mii-dera”
Address: 246 Onjojicho, Otsu city, Shiga Prefecture, 520-0036
Operator: WAQOO Co. Ltd.
Style of operation: Guest House Facility
Reservations and accommodation commence: August 1, 2018 *Planned
Reservation methods: Through the temple stay reservation site “Terahaku” and Rakuten LIFULL STAY’s vacation rental reservation site “Vacation STAY”, as well as through international and domestic guest house reservation sites that the companies have alliances with.
Guest limit: Maximum of 8
Floor Area: Approx. 807 m²
Room Layout: Bedroom, lounge, dining, kitchen + altar room (approx. 176.16 m²)

Main facilities/equipment
■Within Mii-dera Temple Grounds
Sutra copying area, zazen seated meditation hall, tea house, gardens, living area, Japanese style rooms, car park (no reservation required), restaurant, tea room, cafe, souvenir shop, light meals/stalls/vending machines.

■WAQOO Mii-dera
Altar room (1 Buddha statue)
Two bedrooms (tatami with low-style beds)
1 living room (tatami), 1 living room (wooden floor), 1 dining room, 1 kitchen, 1 cypress bath, 2 toilets, garden

・Living room: Desk/workspace, chair, landline telephone, Wi-Fi, power sockets, safe, air conditioner, TV, air purifier, sheets, linen, light cotton kimono, slippers
・Kitchen: IH cooker with 3 burners, eating and cooking utensils, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, electric jug, teapot, teacups
・Bathing area and amenities: Cypress bath, body and facial soap, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, combs, hairdryer, face towel, bath towel
・Toilet with warm water bidet and toilet paper included
・Car park (free Mii-dera Temple car park)
・Fire extinguishing and safety equipment: 2 fire extinguishers, smoke detectors in 7 places, heat detectors in 2 places, guidance lights in 3 places


WAQOO is supervised by the Japan Association for Temple & Shrine Tourism, and through the expansion of its operations, it aims to lower the threshold for staying at temples. They provide opportunities for users to get a personal feel for Japanese culture, and for temples and shrines to utilize the tangible and intangible historical and cultural assets, which lead to the discovery of new value through its “temple stay creation business”.

Address: 11th floor, AXIS Minamimorimachi bldg, 1-11-13, Higashitenma, Kita-ku, Osaka
Representative: Shinobu Tashiro
Details of business: Platforms related to temple and shrine tourism including “Terahaku”.
Date of establishment: 16 April 2015
Website: http://waqoo.co.jp/

About Rakuten LIFULL STAY, Inc.
Address: Otemachi Financial City Grand Cube 3F, 1-9-2 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Representative: Representative Director Munekatsu Ota
Details of business: Providing services related to vacation rental platform, etc.
Date of establishment: March 2017
Website: https://www.rakuten-lifull-stay.co.jp/

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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