Hotel on Tatemachi Street Houses Stranded-Abroad Travelers for Free During Coronavirus Pandemic

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 spread its associated disease, COVID-19, around the world in the first pandemic in a century. Recently, the Japanese government announced it would be lifting the state of emergency across 39 prefectures, including our own Ishikawa Prefecture, yet we still need to remain vigilant. Even so, many businesses find themselves in a tight spot as tourists have disappeared from their streets, and many countries are still on Japan's travel ban list.

In the middle of all this, one hotel is giving courage and hope to people all over the world. Hotel Kaname Inn Tatemachi in Kanazawa has launched a project called "Room for Rescue" to provide free accommodation to people who are unable to return to their home countries due to the pandemic. We were pleased to interview Hiroshi Hosokawa, president of Kaname Inn Tatemachi and founder of the "Room for Rescue" project.

How did Room for Rescue get started?

It starts with Kaname Inn Tatemachi and the environment we want to make for everyone who visits. We opened the hotel in 2017 along the Tatemachi shopping promenade in downtown Kanazawa. Our aim has always been our motto, that our guests—both within Japan and from abroad—can come to us "for the best Kanazawa experience." We strive to connect people with restaurants and sightseeing spots, naturally, but we also organize itineraries and recommend unusual and secret spots that you won't find in guide books.

Of course, as a company, and especially as a smaller, family-owned business, we were aware early on how the pandemic was affecting the local economy. I was thinking for a while how we could help other small shops stay afloat. I was asking around for help on Facebook.

Around that time, a friend contacted me to ask if we could kindly house a friend of hers, a Dutch woman who had become stranded in Japan because flights back to her home country had all been cancelled. I realized there must be many people in such a situation, so with my team at Kaname Inn, I started Room for Rescue to reach out to as many stranded travelers as I could.

If you are, or if you know someone who is stuck in Japan, please contact one of the hotels on this list!

Can you tell us about your crowdfunding campaign?

Our priority is to help as many stranded-abroad travelers as we possibly can. However, we still have to pay for utilities and staff. Naturally, we need funding. So we started the crowdfunding project with two things in mind: to cover the cost of assisting lost travelers and to make others aware of the situation and garner their support.

I've already received more support than I could have imagined. People are messaging me, saying, "Everything is so difficult right now, and it's so easy to sink into negativity, but I'm rooting for you!" or "This is so heartwarming; I want to help with this!"

Then, we received more money and messages of support from more people than we had imagined. 'It's a tough time and it's easy to feel so negative, but I'm rooting for you! I've had a lot of people say to me, "I'm going to do this. It warms my heart to see that good will. Mr. Hosokawa said.

The last day to donate is June 11th. You can support this project here:
Overseas supporters may find PayPal the easiest option.

Room for Rescue has grown quite a bit since it began, hasn't it?

Yes. Of course, there are many more stranded travelers who simply can't reach Kanazawa. Even if if the transportation were affordable, travel across prefectures is still restricted, and many buses and trains have stopped. Also, many people have the need to wait close to large international airports should a flight home suddenly become available.

To address this need, we've been reaching out to other accommodations across Japan who might be willing to help. As of now, two other hotels in Tokyo have partnered with us, and we're looking for more.

If you know a hotel, hostel, or other accommodation who would like to join the Room for Rescue project, please have them follow the link below (Japanese only).

Do you have any final message you want to say about Room for Rescue?

Room for Rescue is for people in need right now and for Japan's future. For those of you whose flight home has been cancelled due to immigration restrictions, we completely understand that it's financially and emotionally traumatic. I don't want your otherwise enjoyable trip to my home country to end in a bad memory.

I also hope that many more people will visit Japan again after the pandemic subsides. Come see us. Come say hello. We'll be here for you.

The editorial of are pleased to support the Room for Rescue project. We're praying for everyone's safety and considering what we can do now to prepare for the day when locals and visitors can safely and happily return to Tatemachi.

Room for Rescue

If you are stranded in Japan:

If you want to support this initiative:

About Kaname inn Tatemachi:

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Instagram: @kanazawa.tatemachi

Tatemachi Association website: