Westin Rusutsu Resort in Hokkaido, northern Japan, drew a smiley face on May 15, 2020, using lights in vacant rooms as part of a joint event by 10 Westin hotels across Japan, including in Tokyo and Okinawa, to pray for an early end to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

As the skies started to darken around 7 p.m., the smiley face gradually became visible on the hotel, which has been temporarily closed since May 7 due to measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and is scheduled to remain out of business until the end of June. 


During normal times, the hotel would have been packed with Chinese tourists visiting Hokkaido on bus tours during this travel season. Currently, however, many of the hotel's approximately 140 employees have been asked to stay home due to the suspension of operations.

Through the Smiley illumination, the hotel is hoping guests will return after the pandemic subsides to enjoy Rusutsu, a famous ski resort in winter and popular for its lush greenery in summer.

"We also hope our employees will be able to stay positive and motivated when they look at the illumination," said Atsushi Miyazaki, the hotel's general manager. 

The Hokkaido Shimbun Press

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