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Ninjas to storm Airbnb-style rentals -- with pizza

TOKYO -- Pizza delivery ninjas will be unleashed by Italian-restaurant operator Strawberry Cones under a service launching Friday for foreign guests staying at private residences in Tokyo's Ota Ward.

The Sendai-based company is partnering with online travel agency Evolable Asia, which lists such minpaku rentals on its website. Strawberry Cones will leave delivery menus at the residences, starting with one house and 13 rooms in Ota. Its Kamata store in the ward will offer the services.

Demand for lodging facilities is growing in Tokyo amid a shortage of hotel rooms, particularly in light of the approaching 2020 Olympics. Minpaku rentals are largely illegal in Japan. But Ota, where Tokyo's Haneda Airport is located, now allows them for foreigners as a government-designated strategic special zone.

Japanese-style pizzas with such toppings as seaweed and mochi will be offered on the menus for the guests. Customers will be able to take pictures of themselves with the ninjas, who will give Japanese snacks and sweets to those who win a game of "rock, paper, scissors."

Evolable Asia aims to increase home-stay-type room listings on its website to 1,500. Strawberry Cones plans to take the delivery service to other parts of Tokyo as the travel agency adds to its selection.

(Nikkei)

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