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Right side of the tracks: Unmanned lodges to open next to Sapporo train line

The exterior of the unmanned lodging facility, "JR Mobile Inn," is seen by the tracks near JR Kotoni Station in Sapporo's Nishi Ward, on Dec. 9, 2019. (Mainichi/Shuntaro Sawa)
A room in one of the unmanned lodges, called "JR Mobile Inn," is seen equipped with a washing machine and kitchen in Sapporo's Nishi Ward. (Mainichi/Shuntaro Sawa)

SAPPORO -- Hokkaido Railway Co. (JR Hokkaido) is set to open unmanned cabins on Dec. 18 for overnight stays next to elevated tracks near JR Kotoni Station in Nishi Ward in the capital of Japan's northernmost prefecture.

JR Hokkaido hopes the cabins' location, a four-minute walk from Kotoni Station and with easy access to Sapporo Station, will bring in profits from the rising number of foreign tourists to the area.

The "JR Mobile Inn" comprises three wooden cabins connected in a long mobile home style. Each one is a single story of 30 square meters, and comes equipped with a shower, toilet, kitchen, washing machine and other furniture for guests, including those who want to stay for longer periods. Each facility can house up to six people, and charges for a night range between 20,000 and 30,000 yen.

The lodges are not staffed by people who are regularly on site. As a result, to access the rooms guests input a reservation number on a tablet installed at the entrance and confirm their identity. They then use a personal identification number they have been notified of in advance to unlock the front door.

A person in charge at the firm commissioned to manage the lodging said, "With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon and race-walking events now coming to Sapporo, we're expecting more foreign visitors to use unmanned accommodation."

(Japanese original by Shuntaro Sawa, Hokkaido News Department)

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