Kyoto City sees 4,500 new hotel rooms added in 2017

Kyoto City saw an additional 4,532 hotel/accommodation rooms added in 2017, putting the city’s total inventory above 38,000 rooms. In the past 12 months over 3,000 rooms have been opened in simple lodgings, which refers to guest houses and low-priced hostels. The growing number of foreign tourists to the former capital has been a driving force behind the new supply.

The city had 38,419 rooms as at the end of 2017, up 13.4% from 2016. Hotels make up the largest share with 23,899 rooms, up 6.5% from the previous year. Traditional ryokans dropped 0.8% to 5,273 rooms, while simple lodgings saw a 50% increase to 9,247 rooms. Kyoto City’s survey only covered licensed accommodation, with unlicensed, illegal rooms not included in the total count.

Housing starts in Kyoto drop 13.1% in 2017 as hotel construction overtakes apartments

Housing starts in Kyoto Prefecture saw a year-on-year drop of 13.1% in 2017 to 14,790 units, the second lowest level seen in the past 10 years. This is also the second year in a row to see a decline in new construction.

This has been attributed to a steep rise in the construction of hotels in Kyoto’s city centre, with developers choosing to focus on building hotels rather than apartment buildings. Construction of apartments has halved as a result. The tourism boom and demand for hotels has put pressure on land prices, causing them to reach a level where the land is no longer profitable for an apartment development. 

No approvals yet under new short-term letting rules in Kyoto

With less than a month until Japan’s nationwide short-term letting (minpaku) law goes into effect, applications from potential hosts in Kyoto City remain in the single digits.

The city’s application desk has received six applications, while zero have been approved. Kyoto City has the strictest minpaku rules in the country, with properties in exclusive residential zones limited to operations for up to 60 days per year between January 15 and March 15 (the winter months). Properties outside those zones that are not occupied by hosts must have a licensed property manager stationed around the clock within a 10 minute radius of each property. There are some exceptions for properties where the host lives on the premises, and for traditional machiya townhouses.

Wacoal’s Kyoto Machiya guesthouse to open tomorrow

Wacoal Holdings, a lingerie company, will open their first traditional machiya guesthouse in Kyoto on April 28. The 92-year old townhouse is located 800 meters west of Nanzen-ji Temple and 500 meters south of Heian Shrine. The two-storey wooden house has a total floor area of 91 sqm (980 sq.ft) and can sleep up to six guests. Nightly rates range from 60,000 ~ 180,000 Yen plus tax, depending on the season and number of guests.

Ace Hotel to open hotel in Kyoto’s historic Shinpukan building

Ace Hotel, a boutique hotel chain headquartered in Portland, is making its first foray in the Asian market with the opening of a hotel in Kyoto next year. The 213-room Ace Hotel Kyoto will be the main part of the historic Shinpukan redevelopment. With architect Kengo Kuma leading the project’s design, the hotel will incorporate the existing building’s early 20th century architectural elements with contemporary styling. The building is the perfect fit for the hotelier’s brand which focuses on reviving and repurposing older and more character-filled buildings.

Renovation company Intellex joins Kyoto guesthouse market

Intellex’s first guesthouse, located near Kiyomizu Temple.

Intellex, a property renovation giant, announced their entrance into Kyoto’s guesthouse market. The company will start buying traditional machiya townhouses, renovate them and operate them as licensed guesthouses for tourists who want to rent an entire house for the duration of their stay. The project cost is estimated at 480 million Yen (approx. 4.5 million USD) to be spread across five guesthouses.

Their first guesthouse is a 100-year old, 2-storey machiya house located alongside Chawan-zaka, the road that leads up to Kiyomizu Temple. It has a total building size of 111 sqm (1,194 sq.ft) and can host groups of up to 10 guests. Nightly rates range from 36,000 ~ 60,000 Yen and up, depending on the season and number of guests.

Foreign tourists now make up 40% of hotel guests in Kyoto

A survey of 36 leading hotels in Kyoto has found that the percentage of foreign guests has exceeded 40% for the first time since reporting began in 2014. According to the Kyoto City Tourism Association, the share of foreign guests in 2017 was 40.5%, up 3.2 points from 2016. The busiest season for foreign tourists was April, with a share of 50.9%, up 5.3 points from the previous year.

The hotels reported an occupancy ratio of 88.8%, down 0.1 points from 2016. January, which is typically the worst month for tourism, had an occupancy ratio of 75.7%, up 4.3 points from 2016.

Japan’s apartment living ratios in 2017

Tokyo Kantei has issued their annual report ranking the cities and towns across Japan that have the highest percentage of condominium-type apartments as a share of total households. According to the data, 12.41% of households in Japan were living in apartments in 2017, up 0.10 points from 2016.

In the Tokyo metropolitan area, the ratio was 27.20% – the highest in the country. Kanagawa Prefecture was in second place with 22.68%.