Despite welcoming over 20 million annual tourists, Kamakura, a historic beachside city an hour by train from central Tokyo, has a surprisingly small number of hotel rooms. The mountain resort town of Hakone, also in Kanagawa Prefecture, has the same level of tourists but as many as 8,000 hotel rooms. Kamakura has just 980.
In January, a luxury hotel and restaurant opened in a historic, 164-year old kominka in the Nikaido neighborhood. Kamakura Cokon, pictured above, has just two guest suites where overnight rates range from 80,000 ~ 120,000 Yen (approx. US$740 ~ 1,100). Until recently, land zoning for this property prohibited hotel use. However, a relaxation to the short-term letting law in 2018 now allows registered hosts and operators to provide overnight accommodation for a maximum of 180 days per year. The hotel only operates on Fridays and weekends when demand is high, which allows them to stay under the 180-day limit. The hotel employs two concierges and has two chauffeurs on standby. The hotel operator is planning to open more accommodations of this style in Kamakura over the next two years.
The minpaku short-term accommodation law has led to a rise in the number of private accommodations in Kamakura, but new hotel construction remains rare.
With the exception of the station area, the majority of Kamakura is not zoned to allow hotels, limiting supply. In April 2020, Nihon Hotels will open Hotel Metropolitan Kamakura near Kamakura Station. The 138-room hotel will have guest rooms ranging from 20 ~ 45 sqm, with nightly rates to start from 17,400 Yen.
Kamakura’s relatively close proximity to Tokyo and Yokohama and its compact size make it ideal for day trips, potentially limiting the need for tourist accommodation.
Metro Engines Research, July 2019.
The Ryoko Shimbun, August 30, 2019.
The Nikkan Gendai, October 12, 2019.
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