Akariya Geihanro, a Japanese-style inn with the theme of light, offering only 10 rooms
Inuyama City in Aichi Prefecture is known for cormorant fishing on the Kiso River, the Inuyama Festival, and Inuyama Castle that is designated as a national treasure. In the city there is an inn open since 1919 called Geihanro. Recently it underwent total reconstruction and THAT'S ALL RIGHT worked on a rebranding project to revive the inn, which was once loved as the regular accommodation for writers and artists, 100 years after its foundation. We spent more than a year to work on the entire branding process, producing from concept to artwork.
In the regular meetings which were participated in by dozens of people including the client, the design office, the inn consulting firm, the construction company, and the landscape gardener, our position was as the company responsible for branding. The areas we covered were wide-ranging, including hardware and software aspects. While sharing ideas as necessary with the members at the regular meeting, we drafted a concept idea, worked on the process of naming, selecting a logo, signage, lighting, coarse oilpaper umbrellas, Japanese bathrobes, uniforms, the lobby lounge, welcome snacks, music, books, amenities, dishes, souvenirs, room design, stationery, and developed menus, original gifts, and PR tools. When developing the menus that the inn would serve, we attended to food coordinators, and held tasting events on a regular basis. In cooperation with the head chef, we sought menus that could fit the theme of “light.”
Even after the grand reconstruction was completed, we continue to offer assistance to Akariya Geihanro. The project underway currently is to create services for new tourism resources for Inuyama City. Some examples include “Houseboat special for Akariya Geihanro” which enhances the value of cormorant fishing on the Kiso River, “Akariya newsletter,” a web magazine that sheds light on craftsmen and groups of people active in the Inuyama area, a new souvenir from Inuyama, “rice with sweetfish and green tea” generally called “shime sweetfish” (this dish closes, or shimeru in Japanese, a course meal, and shime also suggests important crossroads or turning points of life in Japanese), and the “new brand launch project” involving young craftspeople of Inuyama ware. Considering how we can make the established inn with 100 years of history continue to be rooted in the area, we will play a further role as branding partner to make it into a classic facility loved by visitors and local people.