Tateshina Highlands holiday homes see boost in wake of coronavirus panic

With a growing number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the greater Tokyo area and a recently-declared state of emergency, some city residents are escaping to holiday home areas. One district that has seen a resurgence in popularity is the Yatsugatake Nanroku / Tateshina Highland holiday home area. 

Between January and March of this year, water supply connections in the district were up over 30% from the same period in 2019. Although more suited as a summer getaway due to the high elevation and cooler temperatures, homes are spread out allowing residents to practice social distancing. 

The Tateshina Highlands has around 10,000 holiday homes. It became popular from the early 1900s onwards as a place for the literati to rest and relax. Development took off during Japan’s period of rapid economic growth after WWII, with major developers creating suburbs, hotels, golf courses, and ski resorts. 

According to Chino City, Nagano, approximately 60% of the holiday homes are in use by their owners. The average home is occupied for about 48 days a year, with the Golden Week holidays in May the busiest time. This year, some holiday homeowners have arrived early with plans to stay longer. 

The manager of Tateshina Village, a community of 2,250 holiday homes, has received 270 requests to have water re-connected in the first three months of this year – a 32.4% increase from the same period in 2019.

This district also saw a brief revival following the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant disaster as Tokyo-ites began looking to spend summers in cooler locations with less reliance on power-hogging air conditioners. 

A quick look on holiday home listing sites shows homes priced from to 3 ~ 30 million Yen (approx. US$28,000 ~ 278,000), with the majority listed under 15 million Yen (approx. US$140,000). Buyers should be aware that many of the holiday homes are on leasehold land within a quasi-national park. The market is not exactly fast-paced, with some homes sitting on the market for 15 years.

Source: The Nagano Nippo, March 30, 2020.

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