Hotel Suigo in Ibaraki to be demolished due to earthquake damage

The Suigo hotel in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki, will be demolished after it sustained damage in the March 11 Tohoku earthquake. Suigo is a local government operated hotel which offers low-cost accommodation. These type of lodgings are called “kokumin shukusha”.

The demolition costs for the hotel are expected to be 80 ~ 100 million Yen (1.04 ~ 1.3 million USD). The hotel’s bathing and meeting facilities will not be demolished and will continue operating. The March 11 earthquake caused interior walls to crumble and foundations were damaged by liquefaction and land subsidence.

The town mayor said that the hotel has been making a loss and has required approximately 50 million Yen per year in funding to keep it operating. City councilors have suggested turning the operations over to a private organization. There was also a suggestion to repair the outdoor swimming pool and build an indoor pool, but repair costs were estimated at 860 million Yen and new construction was estimated at 3.76 billion Yen. If they just demolish and clear the whole site, the total cost is only 207 million Yen.

The Suigo hotel is located alongside Kasumigaura Lake and is 1.5 hours by train from Tokyo Station. The 3-storey hotel has 30 Japanese-style rooms. Accommodation ranged upwards of 6,000 Yen/night (78 USD). It was built in 1973 and has deteriorated rapidly. In 2010, the hotel had 13,447 guests and made a loss of 68.31 million Yen.

Kokumin Shukusha are government-run inexpensive accommodation and rest facilities located in nature parks and hot spring areas. The system began in 1956 to provide affordable and pleasant facilities for local citizens. Rooms are typically Japanese-style with tatami and futons, and bath and toilet facilities are usually shared. As visitor numbers to these hotels continues to fall and the properties deteriorate with age, the government is beginning to abandon some older hotels.

The Asahi Shimbun, January 20, 2012.
The Mainichi Shimbun, January 20, 2012.

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