Luxury onsen resort planned for Nikko in 2019

Tobu Railway and real estate developer HULIC have announced plans to open a luxury hot spring resort in Nikko that will cater to wealthy tourists. The tentatively-titled ‘Nikko Fufu’ resort is scheduled to open in 2019.

The 14,000 sqm site is located on Tobu-owned land in the Tomozawa district in Nikko. It adjoins the 40,000 sqm Nikko Tomozawa Imperial Villa and Memorial Park, and is close to the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine. It was previously part of the Imperial Villa estate and was home to a traditional residence built in the 1910s that was converted to a hotel after WWII. The hotel was demolished in the 1970s and replaced with a newer hotel that was demolished in 2006. The land has sat vacant for the past 10 years.

The original Imperial Villa Annex (c1916). Demolished in 1978.

HULIC will be responsible for the construction and operation of the hotel, and is aiming for it to become one of the top onsen resorts in the country. All 22 guest suites will be over 50 sqm (538 sq ft) in size and will have their own outdoor rotenburo baths. The 3,000 sqm building will also include a restaurant, bar and large hot spring bath. It is expected that nightly rates will be over 100,000 Yen (900 USD) per suite.

Tobu has been active in the regeneration of Nikko’s tourism industry, acquiring shares in the historic Kanaya Hotel in 2016, reviving a steam locomotive train, and starting pleasure boat cruises on Lake Chuzenji.

In November 2016, Tobu, along with Marriott International announced that they will be opening The Ritz Carlton Nikko on the shores of Lake Chuzenji by 2020.

Meanwhile, HULIC has been expanding their operations in the boutique high-end hotel market. In early 2015 they acquired two luxury ryokans in Hakone and Atami, and plan to acquire 1 ~ 2 ryokans with 30 ~ 50 guest rooms annually, spending approximately 2 ~ 3 billion Yen per property.

Sources:
The Nikkei Shimbun, June 6, 2017.
HULIC & Tobu Railway News Release, June 5, 2017.