88-yr old building on 2.6 hectare site in Minato to be sold

Japan Post Insurance is selling their former Tokyo Service Center building and land in Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo. The potential sale price and date has yet to be confirmed, although it is expected that the property will be offered for sale by tender. With land of this size, the eventual sale price is likely to be in the 10s of billions of Yen (several hundred million USD).

Japan Post Insurance expects to report a capital gain of 30 billion Yen (approx. 270 million USD) on the sale, which, given their very long history of ownership of the property, may be a close indicator of their preferred sale price.

*Update: The property was sold to Mitsui Fudosan Residential in February 2018. Japan Post Insurance posted a capital gain of 85.03 billion Yen (approx. 780 million USD) on the sale.

The property is located along the street from the Australian Embassy and directly across the street from the historic Tsunamachi Mitsui Club – a members only club that was built in 1913 for the Mitsui family.

The Art Deco building was once theMinistry of Communications and Transportation Postal Life Insurance Building. It was constructed by Obayashi Corporation in 1929 at a cost of 4,350,000 Yen. In those days the annual salary of a doctor was around 4,800 Yen.

Hakone Fujiya Hotel to close for 2 years for earthquake retrofitting

Last month, Hakone’s historic landmark Fujiya Hotel announced that they will be temporarily closing the hotel from April 2018 to conduct necessary earthquake retrofitting and refurbishment. The hotel will re-open in Spring 2020.

Fujiya Hotel’s main building was built in 1891 and is registered as a National Tangible Cultural Property along with the Comfy Lodge, Flower Palace and Kikka-so Inn Annex. Famous past guests have included Charlie Chaplin, Helen Keller, John Lennon, Prince Albert, Emperor Showa and the current Emperor and Empress of Japan.

The restaurant in the 122-year old Kikka-so Annex building, which was originally a holiday villa of the Imperial Family, will continue to operate as normal during the refurbishment.

Ginza’s oldest bar to close

ginza-3

Ginza’s oldest bar will close this month and the historic 89-year old building is likely to be demolished as the 80-year old owner is struggling to maintain the ageing structure.

Bordeaux opened in 1927 in a two-story European-style building in the Ginza 8 Chome address. It hosted many famous patrons over the years including Mitsumasa Yonai (37th Prime Minister of Japan), and Isoroku Yamamoto (Japanese Marshal Admiral). Businessman Jiro Shirasu (Wikipedia), was said to have had a permanently reserved seat in front of the fireplace.

Historic Villa in Kobe searching for new owner

Okamoto Residence 2

The owner of a 93-year old European-style residence in Kobe is looking for a new owner to carry on the home’s legacy. Open days in June and July were arranged for the house by the Heritage House Trust. The conditions of the sale will require the new owner to preserve the structure.

The 2-storey home was built on a hillside position in Higashinada-ku in 1923. It was designed by architect Shichiro Kigo (1884-1955) and built for businessman Jiro Inabata. It was later used as a reception hall for the Miyaji Steamboat Company. In the 1960s, most of the hillside surroundings were subdivided into a housing estate called Okamoto Garden. It was at this time that the current owner’s family purchased the property.

Demolition of philosopher’s home in Kyoto starts this week

Kitaro Nishida Kyoto House 1

Demolition of the former home of philosopher Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945) started earlier this week. Nishida, founder of the Kyoto School of philosophy, rented the traditional Japanese house from 1912 ~ 1922. It is 500 meters north-west of Kyoto University, where he was a professor.

The 2-storey, wooden house was built in the later part of the Meiji era (1868-1912) as a rental property, with the landlord living nearby. The deteriorated condition of the 100+ year-old house was cited as the reason for demolition. It is expected that it will be replaced with apartments.

116-year old building in Kobe to be razed by developer

Familiar Hall Kobe 1

One of Kobe’s earliest western-style buildings has been sold to a developer and will be demolished to make way for a high-rise apartment building. The property, which was sold along with an adjoining block of land, had a price tag of several billion Yen.

‘Familiar Hall’ was built in 1900 as the Kobe branch office of the Mitsubishi Bank (now known as the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ). In 1973, the Mitsubishi bank branch was closed, and in 1977 the building and land was sold to Familiar – an apparel company.

Historic residence in Ichigaya to be partially demolished

Chief Justice Residence Shinjuku 1

A 88-year old traditional Japanese residence in the Ichigaya neighbourhood in Shinjuku will be partially demolished. The house was built in 1928 as a residence for a wealthy shipping industry magnate from Toyama Prefecture. It was designed by architect Tetsuro Yoshida, an architect for the Ministry of Communications.

The 2-storey, 582 sqm house sits on a 3,837 sqm landscaped block of land. It includes a blend of both traditional Japanese and western styles, and is one of the few remaining large pre-war homes in Tokyo.