Mount Fuji; Tokyo Sky Tree; the Imperial Palace: Japan is full of wonders that have the charm to attract foreign tourists.

But the country is way behind Asia's top destinations like China and Thailand.

A lack of government effort and tourist-friendly English signs are said to be some of the reasons.

And there's one man who is determined to change all of that.

Hotelier Yoshiharu Hoshino is known for his knack to turn money-losing inns into money spinning resorts with style.

And he's using his expertise on his next big project -- a traditional Japanese-style hotel in the heart of Tokyo.


"We really want to bring the traditional Japanese inn back to Tokyo. The type of traditional lodging that is not just about being surrounded by nature or having a hot spring. It's about our service - Japan's culture and the appeal of various locations which are reflected in the inn. That's the essence of our service.

"People of the world regard Japan as a country of good service, whose people are polite and full of hospitality. This is true in the traditional inn service industry as well, and the degree of satisfaction from foreign visitors to our hot spring resorts is very high. The reason that they are so satisfied has nothing to do with the location, but rather because our Japanese sense of hospitality is different from the Western sense, which visitors appreciate. So we think that in any of the big cities of the world, the option of Japanese-style hospitality certainly has a chance to succeed.

"The thing that I always tell my staff is that wherever Japanese cars are on the road, there is a chance to deliver Japanese hospitality. This is true for big cities in America and the same for Europe. I think that we can achieve this all over the world.

"The goal is not to increase the number of visitors from abroad and aim for globalization. What's important is to first utilize the strong domestic market to the maximum extent to raise revenue. If you can create a structure which raises both revenue and production, that will appeal to investors from both inside and outside Japan. It's that investment that will raise Japan's service and tourism industry to higher levels. Consequently, I think It will increase the number of visitors from abroad as well.

"My biggest concern right now is the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Ever since the news broke, there have been big expectations on the Olympic Games for the tourism industry. But the thing that we really have to be aware of is not 2020, because that will probably be the peak of the inbound traffic. It's what will happen in 2021. We need to think of how to add a competitive edge to our existing tourism services so that we will be able to keep the momentum going, rather than just having a huge peak in 2020. Thinking from that kind of point of view is extremely important right now."