First look: the world’s longest ‘hotel’ is opening in Japan

The unique hotel from JR East is breathing new life into Japan’s regional towns.

By Chris Ashton, June 11 2024
First look: the world’s longest ‘hotel’ is opening in Japan

Japan is a destination where repeat visits are essential, because once you’ve ticked off the hypnotic sights and culture of cities like Osaka and Tokyo, an enchanting array of regional villages and national parks await.

This upcoming ‘hotel’ from JR East is making it even easier to explore beyond the cities, but perhaps not in the way you might expect.

Rather than a single bricks and mortar address, rooms are dotted along 37 kilometres stretching west of Tokyo.

Hotel rooms are less than 70 minutes from Tokyo by rapid local train.
Hotel rooms are less than 70 minutes from Tokyo by rapid local train.

Launching in 2025, ‘Satologue’ will see train stations along the JR East rail company’s Ome Line – nicknamed the Adventure Line for its accessible nature – acting as front desks, while beautifully-renovated ‘minka’ folk houses are its hotel rooms.

Given there are 25 stations along the line, it’s ambitious in scope and scale, not to mention primed to have a huge social benefit, breathing life into villages long silenced by Japan’s ageing population and the relocation of younger residents to the cities.

Tokiro restaurant is the first taste of Satologue hotel.
Tokiro restaurant is the first taste of Satologue hotel.

“Our hope is to provide hotels that expose visitors to the pleasures of the local area and provide for sustainable tourism,” says JR East, also known as East Japan Rail Company.

Acclaimed Japanese architect and designer Yasushi Horibe has lent his talents to the unique project, with a first taste of this is now open: the intimate ‘Tokiro’ restaurant and ‘Fukisui’ sauna in Hatonosu village.

Tokiro features a variety of rooms and seating, plus counter seats to soak in the view.
Tokiro features a variety of rooms and seating, plus counter seats to soak in the view.

Known for his work on the ‘Guntu’ floating hotel of Seto Inland Sea, Horibe and his team has transformed a vacant house into a chic, timber-clad restaurant, where talented chefs plate up regionally-inspired railside cuisine and local sake and beer.

Fukisui – meaning ‘Wind, Trees, Water’ – is set within a former concrete warehouse, though there’s nothing industrial about its refined design. In addition to the sauna and outdoor bath, it also features a lounge for post-sweat relaxation and drinks.

The concrete warehouse has been reborn as a wood-fired sauna.
The concrete warehouse has been reborn as a wood-fired sauna.

Tokiro and Fukisui are around 15-minutes walk from Kori Station or 20-minutes from Hatonosu Station, both on the Ome Line. Electric bikes are available at Hatonosu.

A sampling of dishes at Tokiro restaurant.
A sampling of dishes at Tokiro restaurant.

From Tokyo, tickets will set you back between 1,110 yen (about AU$7.20) and 1,275 yen (AU$8.30) one way.

Alternatively, you can purchase a JR East Tokyo Wide Pass for 15,000 yen (about $96.80), which also spans the Nikko, Fuji Five Lakes, and Izu region.

A launch date for Satologue hotel has yet to be revealed, though it’s expected the first room will be debuting near the restaurant in Hatonosu.

(Looking for adventure on rails in the meantime? Consider a bullet train ride to Utsonomiya, Japan’s gyoza capital.) 

23 Sep 2023

Total posts 7

Thanks for the write up.  This looks very inviting.

Whilst Tokyo is amazing and so much fun, the smaller towns are where the locals have time to chat.

素晴らしい!


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on First look: the world’s longest ‘hotel’ is opening in Japan