Niseko’s luxury hotel and villa boom continues

There is no end in sight to the current construction boom in the ski resort town of Niseko in Hokkaido, with a number of luxury resorts and private villas under development. Spacious homes and apartments can easily fetch upwards of several hundred million Yen (several million USD). Rising construction costs and a labor shortage, however, are putting a strain on developers.

Imperial Hotel up for potential redevelopment?

A nearby acquisition by Mitsui Fudosan has some industry experts suggesting that the1100-room Imperial Hotel near Hibiya Park in downtown Tokyo may be slated for future redevelopment.

The hotel includes the main building that was built in 1970 along with a 31-storey office/hotel building at the rear that was completed in 1983. By the time of the 2020 Summer Olympics, the main building will be 50 years old. With a booming tourism industry, many of Japan’s top hoteliers are expanding, refurbishing or redeveloping their older hotels.

Japan’s first Hilton Curio Collection hotel to open in Karuizawa

Tokyu Land Corporation has entered into a franchise agreement with Hilton Hotels & Resorts to open Japan’s first Curio Collection by Hilton hotel in Karuizawa.

KYUKARUIZAWA KIKYO, Curio Collection by Hilton is the rebrand of the former Kyu-Karuizawa Hotel that was acquired by Tokyu in March 2017. It is scheduled to re-open in spring of 2018. The 39-year old hotel sits on a 5,800 sqm site located 1.2km north of Karuizawa Station. Almost 90% of the 50 rooms are over 40 sqm (430 sq ft) in size.

Marriott to open W Hotel in Osaka in 2021

On January 10, Sekisui House and Marriott International announced plans for Japan’s first W Hotel. The 337-room W Osaka will open in the Shinsaibashi district in 2021. Room rates have yet to be decided, but it is expected that this will be one of the priciest hotels in Osaka city.

The building will be 117 meters tall with 27 floors and will be designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando.

Kyoto to see 12,000 new hotel rooms by 2020

A survey by the Kyoto Shimbun has estimated that there will be approximately 12,000 new hotel rooms supplied in the city by 2020, a 40% increase from 2015. This is 20% more than the 10,000 rooms required to eliminate the current room shortage.

The city had a total of 33,887 rooms as at the end of 2016, a 4,000 room increase from 2015. By 2020 there will be a total of 42,000 rooms. The data measured by the city does not include small-scale accommodation facilities like guest houses, which means the total could be much higher.

Construction starts on Aoyama Bell Commons redevelopment

Construction has started on a 20-storey commercial building on the site of the former Aoyama Bell Commons building in the Omotesando / Gaienmae area in Tokyo. Completion is due by April 2020.

The 90m tall Kita Aoyama 2 Chome Project will include retail on the first two floors, a hotel on floors 3, 4 and floors 16 through 20, and office and co-working space on floors 5 through 15. The total floor area will be 22,910 sqm, approximatley 50% larger than Aoyama Bell Commons, while the new building will be almost twice as tall.

700 million USD condominium, hotel and retail project for Hokkaido’s Rusutsu Resort

Kamori Kanko, a Sapporo-based hotel operator, is planning an 80 billion Yen (approx. 717 million USD) overhaul of the Rusutsu Resort in Hokkaido.

The first stage of the project will include a 148-room luxury condominium-hotel with construction set to start next spring. The condominium will be called The Vale Rusutsu and will be 11 storeys with completion by December 2019. Rooms will range in size from 50 ~ 260 sqm (538 ~ 2,798 sq ft) and with prices expected to range from 40 ~ 300 million Yen (360,000 ~ 2,700,000 USD). Sales are scheduled to start this month. Owners will have the option of leasing their room to the hotel while they are not using it.

Japan’s first Indigo hotel to open in Hakone

On November 22, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) announced plans to open a 100 room hotel alongside the Haya River in Hakone.

The Hotel Indigo Hakone-Gora will be IHG’s first Indigo-branded hotel in Japan. Opening is scheduled for 2019.

The hotel site is a 10 minute walk from Gora Station and a 2 minute walk from the Hakone Tozan bus stop. All 100 rooms will have access to hot spring water, with  80 rooms having their own out-door hot spring baths on their balconies. Room rates are expected to range from 25,000 ~ 30,000 Yen per night.

Hakone, a popular onsen destination about 30km south-east of Mt. Fuji, receives as many as 20 million tourists each year.

Hotel activity in Hakone:

  • The Kanaya Resort Hakone, operated by Nikko’s Kanaya Hotel Kanko Group, opened on November 3, 2017. The 14-room hotel sits on a 22,000 sqm site in Sengokuhara and has made use of an existing corporate guest retreat building. 12 of the 14 rooms have outdoor hot spring baths. Room rates range from 29,000 ~ 110,000 Yen per night.
  • Fujita Kanko’s Hakone Kowaki-en Tenyu hotel opened in April 2017 in the Kowakudani district. All 150 rooms have their own outdoor rotenburo hot spring baths. Room rates start from 28,000 Yen per night.
  • Mori Trust acquired the historic Gora Kansuirou Hotel in Gora in March 2017 for an undisclosed price. The 96-year old hotel sits on a 15,000 sqm block of land and has a total floor area of 2,266 sqm. Room rates range from 32,000 ~ 38,000 Yen per night.
  • The landmark Fujiya Hotel (c1891) will close from April 2018 for earthquake retrofitting, with re-opening scheduled for Spring 2020.
  • Hakone Hotel Kowaki-en in Kowakudani will close permanently in January 2018. The site may be redeveloped into a larger hotel sometime in the future.



Kiga, Hakone Town, Kanagawa Prefecture

Travel Voice, November 22, 2017.
The Tokyo Shimbun, November 9, 2017.

Dubious development site in Kyoto finds buyer

An offshore buyer may have been found for a large block of land with an interesting history in central Kyoto.

The land is located in one of Kyoto’s leading tourist areas.  Amidst a booming tourism industry and improving real estate market, a property such as this should have buyers lining out the door to bid on it. Despite the best efforts of the seller, however, no local buyers dared come forward. The problem, as claimed by the Shukan Post tabloid, was due to the seller’s alleged ties to the North Korean regime.