Luxury hotel chain opens hotel on edge of Osaka’s infamous Nishinari for ‘deep culture’

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Gives new meaning to the phrase “summing it”.

A few years ago, we reported on the ongoing gentrification of the Nishinari district of Osaka, specifically the Airin district, which was once a focal point for homeless people, day laborers, prostitutes and gangsters. .

This is still the case, but not as much as in decades past, especially due to the steps taken by the Osaka government to clean up the area and make it more tourist-friendly. One way was to allow Hoshino Resorts will create an upscale hotel called OMO7 just outside the Nishinari district.

▼ A great tour of OMO7 Osaka

Hoshino Resorts is famous for its dreamlike amenities like its Sea of ​​Clouds Terrace and Ice Village in Hokkaido or its sleek social distancing pods with paper lanterns in Tokyo. So it’s a little surprising that they set up their new facility right next to an area that less diplomatic people might call a “slum”.

Ahead of OMO7’s official opening on April 22, Hoshino Resorts President Yoshiharu Hoshino said the hotel’s location “expresses the deep culture of Osaka and Osaka-ness in general, and it is a meaningful place to stay.”

He’s certainly not wrong, and you could say that the Airin neighborhood is THE place to take a crash course in Japanese class conflict. Since the mid-20th century, there have been periodic large-scale clashes in the area between low-income residents and the police, often over accusations of unfair treatment and abuse.

▼ This report begins with a montage of past conflicts at Airin

OMO7 is also conveniently located right next to Shin-Imamiya Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line., which can take customers to any hotspot in the city like USJ or Big Fist. Incidentally, Shin-Imamiya station was also burned down by rioters in 1990.

South-facing rooms will have views of the entire area, and you might even witness a confrontation between police and protesters. Although not as violent as before, they can still get quite hot and big.

▼ This clash took place in 2019

These incidents are all absolutely important parts of this city’s history and culture, so in a way, building OMO7 does a good thing in helping raise awareness about them. Of course, that didn’t stop netizens from making ironic comments about it.

“So do they charge 2,000 yen [US$16] a night?”
“How far is the red light district on foot?” »
“I plan to stay on the top floor and sip brandy while looking down on all the commoners.”
“Isn’t creating a huge hotel destroying this ‘deep culture’ they talk about?”
“There aren’t as many interesting things to see there as before. Most workers get fired.
“All major areas have become tourist traps, and there isn’t much ‘deep culture’ left in Osaka. I remember getting off at Shin-Imamiya and being greeted by the smell of urine.

While the juxtaposition is striking at the moment, it’s highly likely that Hoshino Resorts has noticed that in recent years the smell of urine around Shin-Imamiya has been replaced by the smell of prime real estate opportunities. By settling in now, they are simply entering the ground floor of an inevitable and even greater overhaul of Nishinari in the years to come, for better or for worse.

For now though, they’ll have stiff competition, as we know of a few places close by where you can spend the night for about the same price as a Big Mac combo.

Source: Kyodo, Otaku.com
Top image: ©SoraNews24
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