Hotel development boom in Karuizawa


Karuizawa, an upscale summer resort town in Nagano Prefecture, is seeing an increase in both the construction of new hotels and the refurbishment of existing properties. The opening of the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train line extension in March 2015 has further improved access for tourists, and has attracted the interest of several hoteliers who are planning new projects in the town.

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Prefab holiday home in Karuizawa to receive heritage listing

Sekisui House A Type Prefab Home 3

A 53-year old holiday home in Karuizawa is to be the first prefab home in Japan to receive a heritage listing.

The Yamasaki-Usui Villa was built in 1963 in Karuizawa – a popular mountain resort area in Nagano Prefecture. The single-storey house is part of Sekisui House’s ‘A-Type’ of prefab homes. These homes revolutionised Japan’s home-building industry in the 1960s. The house remains in largely original condition and is said to be the oldest surviving A-type model in the country.

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Karuizawa to introduce blue plaque scheme for historic homes

Miyamaso Swiss Legation Karuizawa

In an effort to preserve the history of Karuizawa, the town will be introducing a blue plaque scheme similar to those used in the United Kingdom. The signs will be affixed to buildings and homes considered to be of historical importance to the resort town.

The town’s Board of Education has made a list of 100 important buildings, and, with the permission of the property owners, will affix plaques in the next year.

One of the shortlisted historic buildings is the Miyama-so Villa. Built in 1943 for a Japanese businessman, the house was later used as the Legation of Switzerland and was is said to be the place where a telegram was sent in 1945 declaring Japan’s acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration. The house was at risk of being demolished by a previous owner until the town acquired it in 2007 for 210 million Yen.

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Karuizawa population reaches record high

The population in Karuizawa has exceeded 20,000 residents for the first time since it received a town status in 1923.

From the 1980s to 1990s, the town’s population hovered at around 15,000 residents, but began to grow again after the opening of the Nagano Shinkansen station shortened the trip to Tokyo to about 70 minutes. The town is estimating that the local population will reach 21,000 by 2022. The population in 1923 was 5,012 residents.

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