Ikyu Case Study

Ikyu improved its Google PageSpeed score by 15 points and decreased its average response time to only 16 milliseconds.

ikyu.com, a leading Japanese travel site, processes over 6 billion monthly image requests. Recognizing the need to render images responsively, the team decided to replace AWS Lambda and ImageMagick with imgix. As a result,the team is able to optimize images for each browser, provide high-quality images at the perfect size for each page, and reduce operational overhead related to image processing.

15 pts

Google PageSpeed improvement

16 ms

Image response time

6 bil

Monthly image requests

The Customer

一休.com, is a Japanese travel and hospitality platform known for its extensive collection of luxury hotels, restaurants, and ryokans (traditional inns). Founded in 1998, Ikyu has developed a loyal customer base in part by creating an informative and visually engaging web experience . Furthermore, Ikyu extends its travel service by powering the image content for Yahoo! Travel Japan.

As Japan reopens its domestic and international travel industry, many reservation websites are vying for market share, leading to intense competition. Among many factors, images play a vital role in a customer's choice.

Whether it's an accommodation facility or a restaurant, it's important for customers to be able to imagine the kind of experience they will have when they visit. Being able to visualize specifically through images is a crucial element. When customers spend a significant amount on reservations, it's only natural for them to choose what looks best.

- Yamaguchi- San from Ikyu
Ikyu listings for imgix case study

The Challenge:

The team at Ikyu recognized early on how critical it is to optimize images for different browsers, to deliver high-quality images at the perfect size for each page, and to reduce operational overhead related to image processing.

Before 2017, ikyu.com utilized AWS Lambda and ImageMagick for image optimization. The team couldn’t make precise size adjustments to adapt to the page, device, or bandwidth environment.

ImageMagick and Lambda would convert images to only four sizes. We had to compromise our web adaptiveness. Furthermore, we couldn't access better-performing image formats like WebP.

- Yamaguchi- San from Ikyu

The Solution

In 2017, Ikyu made the decision to switch to imgix. Since then, the team has deployed the Image Rendering API across several properties, including ikyu.com, restaurant.ikyu.com, and others. Their site, built with PHP, uses imgix's PHP SDK.

Ikyu restaurant page for imgix case study

One of the creative ways Ikyu uses imgix is to create restaurant image collages. Ikyu provides an enticing and consistent visual experience on its reservation page by juxtaposing images of restaurant interiors with close-up photos of dishes. To achieve this, Ikyu leverages the blend-mode=normal and watermark parameters. You can see how we replicated the technique in the sandbox example linked here.

  • auto=format automatically converts the image to a better-performing format. For browsers that accept AVIF, images will be served in the AVIF format, which can reduce image weight by 60% compared to JPEG in many cases, all without changing the visual experience.
  • auto=compress applies best-effort compression to reduce the size of the image. For different images, the processing algorithm may vary to produce the best result.
  • lossless=0 applies lossy compression, which reduces the image size by a larger amount than lossless compression, therefore improving the responsiveness of the web page.


Since implementing imgix, Ikyu decreased its average response time to only 16 milliseconds, while handling over 6 billion image requests per month. In addition, the team saw a 15-point improvement in their Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

imgix is an incredibly effective image optimization and delivery solution. With a simple query setup, you can deliver images in the appropriate format with high performance. Having an account manager and a sales engineer who can communicate fluently in Japanese is a significant bonus. Thanks to imgix, we are able to deliver optimal images to our users with low operational overhead.

- Yamaguchi- San from Ikyu
Ikyu and imgix achieved 16ms in image response time

imgix is a real-time image processing service and CDN. Thousands of companies around the world use imgix to deliver the best images at the perfect sizes to their customers.

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