Location, location, location.

It’s what lures so many to Central Oregon, to Bend specifically, and to the neighborhoods here where we carve out a place in the world.

It’s what brought the founders of Tokyo Starfish together on a snowboarding trip to Japan back in 2001, where they gazed down from a hotel window in Tokyo at the starfish-shaped intersection that now lends its name to three marijuana dispensaries scattered across Bend.

And it’s what gives the Tokyo Starfish “bud-n-breakfast,” situated above the company’s original storefront at 542 NW Arizona Ave, a measure of appeal that surpasses the average vacation rental.

The two-bedroom walk-up apartment is located across the street from the Box Factory, and is within walking distance of both Downtown Bend and The Old Mill District.

“People have had a great response to the location,” said Jason McAlister, one of Tokyo Starfish’s founders. “And everything else in the neighborhood that’s built up around there, from the food carts next door to the bars and delis and breakfast places across the street — it’s just become a real popular spot for people to come.”

McAlister first listed the apartment for rent in September of 2017, advertising it as cannabis friendly. The Tokyo Starfish dispensary downstairs is open to guests, and a “minibar” of assorted smoking paraphernalia sits in the corner of the living room.

“People really love the idea and have loved the ability to come and enjoy this space and have a safe place to access marijuana,” McAlister said. “People like to enjoy marijuana while they travel, and most hotel rooms and vacation rentals do not allow smoking, so to offer that in a space makes a lot of sense.”

High ceilings and ample natural light give the second-story apartment an airy feel. A spacious balcony overlooks The Podski (also referred to as Little Tokyo), a newly opened food-truck lot on Arizona Avenue that hosts a slew of local vendors.

It’s a comfortable spot to get lifted, to be sure, but it’s also a springboard to the vibrancy of the city below. The stairway down to Arizona Avenue, decorated with a mural by legendary snowboarder Jamie Lynn, is a portal that leads to the locations that make Bend a place worth exploring.

The only question now is: Will you step through it?

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