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As working hours and the time required for household chores decrease, people’s free time tends to increase. In Japan’s 21st Century Vision, the Japanese government forecast that by 2030 leisure time in Japan would have increased by about 12% compared to 2002. Concomitantly, people are finding more and different ways to spend that extra free time, with ankintan, the Japanese abbreviation for a brief, inexpensive trip to a nearby destination, coming to symbolize the spirit of the times.

Hirakawa Shoji is a leader in the fast-growing leisure industry and is committed to developing new and unique spaces where people can find exciting and creative ways to enjoy their free time. Coincidentally, in 2010, the Japan Tourism Agency launched a vacation reform program aimed at encouraging the Japanese people to take more vacations and to spread those vacations throughout the year, rather than concentrating in a few holiday periods. In December of the same year, the government also announced its New Growth Strategy towards 2020, which included the goal of creating a more vacation-friendly environment by targeting a paid vacation acquisition rate of 70 percent. At Hirakawa Shoji, our goal is to help people enjoy their leisure, hoping them to fulfill their dreams and hopes, to meet and overcome fresh challenges, and to experience the happiness we all deserve.

In view of this, our role is clear: to maintain a close relationship with our customers, so that we can understand their needs and desires, offering them new values that will satisfy those needs. The success of that commitment is demonstrated by the response of our customers. Sales of the Hirakawa Shoji Group have exceeded 130 billion yen, and it has become a corporate group with over 1,810 employees. Nonetheless, it is not merely scale we are pursuing, it is the pride of making a contribution to society and the satisfaction of helping our customers realize their dreams.

Thanks to steady growth in the Kansai region, we have now reached the point where we are ready to take on the challenge of launching our business in Tokyo and even overseas. It is expected that the demand for enhanced ways to spend leisure time will continue to increase in Japan and elsewhere. We are convinced that we are ready to meet the challenges of the future with the same indomitable spirit that has brought us to this point.