On August 11, Odakyu Electric Railway Co. opened their latest hotel in Hakone. Hakone Yutowa was originally built during the bubble as a corporate retreat but has been fully refurbished and converted into a hot spring hotel. It sits in a prime position just across the street from Gora Kadan – a hotel on the grounds of a former Imperial Villa.
There are two buildings of 4 and 5 stories, with a total of 72 guest rooms. Both were built in the 1980s by Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance (now Sompo Japan). The insurer became famous in 1987 after buying one of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers painting for almost $40 million.
Corporate retreats, largely popular in the 1980s, can be found all over Japan’s resort and holiday home areas. Nowadays they are rarely used, but enterprising hotel developers are increasingly seeking out suitable ones to convert into accommodation.
Several of the guest suites will have their own private hot-spring bath. Nightly room rates are expected to range from 17,000 ~ 28,000 Yen + per person. Unlike Odakyu’s other hotels in Hakone, this one boasts the best access being just a three-minute walk from Gora Station.
The majority of Hakone’s tourists visit for day-trips only, with just 21% of the 21 million annual tourists choosing to spend a night. This means many of the town’s restaurants and souvenir shops are closed in the evening, requiring successful hotels to provide their own dining options for guests.
The Kanko Keizai Shimbun, August 16, 2019.
The Nikkei Shimbun, August 11, 2019.
Odakyu News Release, January 23, 2019.
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