Toyoko Inn × Ukiyoe
March 27, 2023
In March 2023, Ukiyoe motifs named after each of the 40 Toyoko Inn in Tokyo were installed.
The Edo Period and Toyoko Inn’s Philosophy
At the core of Toyoko Inn’s philosophy is the spirit of hospitality handed down since the Edo period, which is to provide simple, clean, and comfortable guest rooms at affordable prices. Offering travelers always a safe, clean, and convenient place to stay at an affordable price and sending them off with a smile is one of the “hearts of Japanese culture” since the Edo period. Also, “Sampo Yoshi” (Triple Win for buyer, seller and the local community), which is the origin of Toyoko Inn’s business philosophy, includes not only the hotel guests and owners but also the people living in the local communities of our hotels is a traditional Japanese wisdom that has been passed down from the Edo period, represented in ukiyoe paintings.
Toyoko Inn and a Recycling-Oriented Society
During the Edo period, when peace lasted for about 260 years, roads and inns were developed, and the exchange of “people, goods, and information” began to thrive. Also, it was almost for the first time in the world that common people began to quite freely travel and lodge overnight in hotels or inns, including during the samurai's Sankin-kotai (a system requiring feudal lords, daimyo, to alternate living for a year in their domain and in Edo, the capital). The Edo period was a time when society as a whole was well balanced in terms of production and consumption, recycling was a natural part of daily life, and waste materials were utilized in a variety of creative ways. For example, worn-out kimonos were recycled back into fabrics, which were also again made into clothes, rags, and Sakiori, and when worn out, they were further used as rags, and finally, the ashes from burning them were utilized as chemicals. Ukiyoe painted by artists such as Hokusai and Hiroshige also contain color woodblock-printed records (media) depicting the daily lives and wisdom of the common people, and even their sophisticated sense of playfulness, which have been preserved to this day. From these universally loved Ukiyoe, we are rediscovering hints that can be applied to the present day.