【KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka】 An inn that enriches travel by bicycle
~A wonderful experience that can be felt only by bicycle~
Hotel KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka, where you can enjoy cycling based in Izu-Nagaoka on a full-scale eBike, is a healing space that can be used for workcations and other long-term stays.
In this interview, we asked Mr. Otake, the representative of KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka, about the story behind the birth of KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka and its charms.
●KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka Birth Story
－How did you come to collaborate with lodging and cycling?
To speak of my original starting point, I rode a bicycle around the Izu Peninsula when I was in my third year of junior high school. I rode my bicycle around the Izu Peninsula when I was in the third grade of junior high school, It was a two-day and one-night trip, and I made a round of the Izu Peninsula from the west coast to Shimoda, which is located in the south of the Izu Peninsula, and stayed one night.
I had long forgotten about this very memorable bike trip, but eBike reminded me of it.
I had the opportunity to introduce the Izu Peninsula when I visited Thailand. I was asked the question, "How can I get there? I thought at the time that the Izu Peninsula is actually a bit difficult to get around, since public transportation such as buses and trains are inadequate in some parts of the island.
One day, I heard that the manufacturer of the eBike was planning to open a large bicycle showroom nearby, and I asked for a ride.
I thought that with the eBike, even ordinary people who are not experienced cyclists could enjoy riding around the Izu Peninsula, and I also wanted people from overseas to enjoy Izu as well, so this was the moment when I connected the dots.
Around this time, I also received an offer for this building. When I thought about how I could revitalize the 50-year-old ryokan, which has been in use since the Showa period, in a different way, I thought that by using bicycles, I could take advantage of its location in Izu-Nagaoka.
In fact, if you draw a circle with a radius of 13 km around this ryokan, the circle includes all the surrounding bases, such as Numazu Port, Mishima Taisha Shrine, Shuzenji Temple, and the Cycle Sports Center where the Olympics will be held. A 13-kilometer radius means that the circle is about 30 kilometers long if you go back and forth in circles. If this is the case, it would be possible to cycle to Numazu Port and back in one day, which led us to the idea of using Nagaoka as a base for sightseeing, such as visiting Numazu Port on the first day and Shuzenji on the second day.
We thought that by using Nagaoka as a base and using eBike, a sports-type bicycle, we could offer our customers a more comfortable and enjoyable bicycle trip that makes the trip itself an experience.
That became the concept of this hotel, "Enriching Travel by Bicycle. We could not have done it without the eBike, and we could not have done it without the accommodation facilities that we have here.
If it were just a bike rental business, I don't think I would have done it. I felt that what makes a bicycle trip special is having a base like an inn, where I can always return and rest assured, and where I can relax in hot springs to heal my fatigue.
I feel that each piece of the puzzle just happened to mesh together and we got started. We really had a lot of connections.
We opened in March 2019, in preparation for the 2020 Olympics. The Cycle Sports Center, the venue for the cycling competitions, is 10 kilometers away, so we thought we could provide accommodations for the guests and officials who would come to watch the games.
● KONA STAY Izu Nagaoka : Key Points to Enjoy
－Please share the key points and ways to enjoy KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka.
A former professional road racer who has been a member of domestic and international teams for 15 years is on staff as a contracted guide. They offer a wide range of advice on how to ride and maintain your bicycle, as well as tour guides of the surrounding area.
When a top-level road bike hobbyist or someone who wants to win a race comes to me, I think his various experiences and knowledge will be helpful. He can give advice on how to ride faster, how to train, saddle settings, and many other things, including technical and mental aspects.
Additionally, eBikes primarily offer a cross-bike type. These bikes can cover medium distances of approximately 10 to 50 kilometers per day, with no issues even on routes with inclines and declines. While their handlebars differ from regular bicycles, a bit of practice is necessary to get accustomed to them, but women and children can quickly get the hang of riding them. If everyone in your group wants to use eBikes together, that's great. Alternatively, if, for instance, a couple visits, they have the option for one person to use a road bike while the other uses an eBike, allowing for various ways to enjoy the experience.
We chose eBikes because "transportation itself is an experience," and we have received high praise from people overseas as well. From the perspective of foreign travelers, many things they see in Japan are extraordinary. Everything they see, from the scenery of rice being planted in the rice paddies to people standing around in farm clothes talking to each other, becomes tourist content. With a bicycle, you can take various actions such as stopping and talking to people while seeing them up close, so it will feel very fresh.
We maintain our bicycles well so that you can enjoy them with peace of mind. If the mechanical parts are not properly maintained, the bicycle will not be 100% effective.
We do not loan out bicycles right after they are returned; we ensure they are properly maintained before being used again. In certain instances, we even replace the saddle, and we make sure to lend bicycles in a condition that is perfectly suitable for the user, including the right size.
－If you have any recommendations or points of appeal outside of bicycles, please let me know.
We designed the inn to be flexible and flexible in its use.
In fact, in addition to the regular private rooms, we also have a dormitory-type with 36 beds. Each dormitory room has 6 rows of bunk beds, totaling 12 beds per room. We initially envisioned this dormitory space for inbound backpackers, but it has also been utilized during student tournaments, training camps, and scuba diving courses. Repeat guests sometimes take advantage of our special offer, where they can stay for 12 nights at the price of 10 nights in the dormitory, and we have guests who use this deal every weekend.
Additionally, we offer a subscription service where, upon paying a monthly fee, guests can stay at affiliated vacation facilities nationwide. Many guests discover our facility through this subscription service and choose to utilize it. The way people spend their time during the "workation" varies greatly. Some opt for a relaxing long-term stay of over a week, focusing on work, while others engage in a combination of online meetings in the mornings and cycling excursions in the afternoons. For our frequent users, it is common for them to visit our facility 2 to 3 times a month.
Also, we have a shared kitchen where guests can bring their own ingredients and cook. While the basic plan includes breakfast, we offer dinner as an option. It's fun for everyone to cook together, and we deliberately designed this style to allow guests to experience nearby restaurants and eateries as well.
The hot springs are weakly alkaline and known for their skin-beautifying properties, leaving your skin smooth and supple. It's perfect for rinsing off the sweat after cycling back. As cycling involves using a good amount of muscles and can be tiring, I believe experiencing a day of cycling followed by a relaxing soak in the hot springs will truly allow you to feel the full benefits of the onsen.
As for the timing, we recommend the period right after the Golden Week holidays in May until before the rainy season in June, as well as the autumn season. The weather is pleasant, and during the lush green season or the autumn foliage season, you can enjoy delightful cycling experiences.
● KONA STAY Izu Nagaoka Recommended Accommodation Plans
－Please tell me your recommended accommodation plan.
Currently, we are focusing on the "Weekday Exclusive Full Rental Plan." With 18 rooms available, you can have the entire facility for 18 guests at a flat rate of 198,000 yen. For groups of 19 to 40 guests, we can accommodate additional individuals at a rate of 5,500 yen per person.
The check-in for this offer is limited from Sunday to Thursday, and breakfast is included. Additionally, the use of projectors and conference facilities within the facility is also included, allowing you full access to these amenities.
Usually, barbecues are not allowed in the courtyard when other guests are present. However, in the case of a full rental of the entire facility, it is permitted, and you can enjoy using it freely, just like staying at a private vacation home.
The usage possibilities are endless, ranging from team-building activities, and strategic business meetings to university club gatherings, and more.
－ If there are any seasonal limited activities or events in the area, please let us know.
If you want to combine it with cycling, agricultural experiences are recommended. Besides mandarin orange and strawberry picking, we also suggest vegetable harvestings, such as radishes and carrots. You can visit a wasabi field to harvest wasabi and even have the experience of eating a wasabi bowl (wasabi-don).
As it is primarily a tailor-made experience, we introduce recommended routes based on the current circumstances. For example, you can enjoy strawberry picking while stopping by a strawberry sweets shop to indulge in various strawberry desserts. You could also venture to Shuzenji, enjoy a foot bath, and then return. During the summer, you could head towards the coast, savor delicious fish at the fishing port, and cycle back. There are wonderful food cultures here, so we highly recommend experiencing them. If you have a specific purpose for your cycling journey, it will make the experience even more enjoyable.
Furthermore, we collaborate with local businesses, offering opportunities for activities such as kayaking, canyoning, and scuba diving.
● Exclusive Benefits of KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka
－Are there any exclusive benefits for "Tabiyu" readers?
We offer two types of bike rental options: a 4-hour course and a 1-day course. If you mention that you saw us in "Tabiyu," we will provide the 1-day rental at the cost of the 4-hour course rate. This applies to both guests staying at our accommodation and those who only wish to rent a bike without staying overnight.
With overnight stay: 2,500 yen ⇒ 1,800 yen for 1 day
Without lodging: 5,000 yen ⇒ 3,600 yen per day
There is an air that can only be experienced by bicycle, and only by bicycle.
You may encounter beautiful scenery, delicious food, and new encounters in each of the four seasons. We hope you will take advantage of our services.
● Official Information about KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka
Name of hotel： KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka
Address：307 Kona, Izu-no-kuni City, Shizuoka 410-2201, Japan
From JR Tokyo Station to Mishima Station, it takes about 50 minutes by Shinkansen (Kodama).
From JR Nagoya Station to Mishima Station, it takes about 100 minutes by Shinkansen (Kodama).
From Mishima Station to Izu-Nagaoka Station, it takes about 20 minutes by the Izu Hakone Railway Sunzu Line.
From Tokyo's Yōga Interchange (IC), it takes about 120 minutes (120 km) to reach Izu Jūkan-dō and Izu Chūō-dō via the expressways.
From Nagoya Minami Interchange (IC) to Numazu IC, it takes about 180 minutes (240 km) by car.
■The person we have spoken with
Mr. Ryutaro Otake, Representative of Kona Resort Co., Ltd.
1999: Joined Hotel New Otake Co., Ltd.
2004: Appointed President and CEO of Hotel New Otake Co., Ltd.
2011: Opened Cocoti Hotel Numazu
2018: Established Kona Resort Co., Ltd. and assumed the role of Representative Director
2019: Opened KONA STAY Izu-Nagaoka
During the Tokyo Olympics, it appears that the Netherlands' MTB Cross Country team chose our inn as their accommodation. The team, which included world-renowned athletes and gold medalists who have achieved remarkable results in various cycling competitions, including the Tour de France, spent 12 days training in Izu-no-kuni City. Being chosen as the facility to host these top athletes in a location ideal for cycling, I couldn't think of a more perfect combination.
By the way, I remember feeling a sense of nostalgia when I was guided around the inn, particularly when I touched the handrail while ascending the stairs. The moment I touched it, it felt so familiar, and if I say it felt "right at home," you might understand what I mean. It made me realize that from the Showa era to the present day, many people have used and touched this handrail, and that's proof of the inn's enduring history. Among the modern interior, there are also areas that evoke a sense of Showa retro, preserving the charming aspects of a traditional inn. It was a delightful and cozy place to stay.