Luxury onsen resort planned for Nikko in 2019

Tobu Railway and real estate developer HULIC have announced plans to open a luxury hot spring resort in Nikko that will cater to wealthy tourists. The tentatively-titled ‘Nikko Fufu’ resort is scheduled to open in 2019 2020.

The 14,000 sqm site is located on Tobu-owned land in the Tomozawa district in Nikko. It adjoins the 40,000 sqm Nikko Tomozawa Imperial Villa and Memorial Park, and is close to the Nikko Tosho-gu Shrine. It was previously part of the Imperial Villa estate and was home to a traditional residence built in the 1910s that was converted to a hotel after WWII. The hotel was demolished in the 1970s and replaced with a newer hotel that was demolished in 2006. The land has sat vacant for the past 10 years.

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Ritz Carlton opening hotel in Nikko


Tobu Railway and Marriott International will be opening The Ritz Carlton Nikko on the shores of Lake Chuzenji in 2020. The two companies entered into an agreement on November 7. Marriott currently operates Ritz Carlton hotels in Tokyo, Osaka, Okinawa, and Kyoto. They are also planning to open one in the ski resort town of Niseko in Hokkaido.

The hotel will be built on the site of the former Nikko Lake Side Hotel. It is a 19,000 square meter block on the eastern side of Lake Chuzenji. The former hotel, which was built in 1968, will be demolished to make way for a new building.

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Original Kanaya Hotel re-opened to public viewing

Kanaya Cottage Inn 1

After a careful restoration, the historic Kanaya Samurai House in Nikko was re-opened to the public from March 29th. The property forms a very significant part of Japan’s hotel industry as it was the very first western-style hotel in Japan.

The 2-storey wooden house was built in the 1640s as a samurai residence. In the late 1800s it was the residence of Zenichiro Kanaya. Mr. Kanaya was inspired to open up his home to foreign guests after hosting a foreign friend, James Curtis Hepburn, a Christian missionary who created the Hepburn romanisation system for Japanese. Mr. Hepburn saw the appeal of the Nikko area and the potential for foreign visitors, and suggested that Mr. Kanaya create accommodation catering to foreign tourists.

Mr. Kanaya made some alterations to the home and opened it up to guests as the Kanaya Cottage Inn in 1873. British traveler, writer and historian, Isabella Bird, wrote about her stay at the inn in 1878 in her book ‘Unbeaten Tracks in Japan’, which further helped to promote the area and the hotel.

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First resort condominium to be developed in Kinugawa, Nikko, in 20 years

Kinugawa River Side Residence 1

The Kinugawa River Side Residence will be the first condominium to be built in Nikko’s Kinugawa onsen resort area in almost 20 years.

It hasn’t been a smooth journey for this particular development. The original developer – Zephyr – had completed construction up to the 3rd floor before filing for bankruptcy in July 2008. The bare concrete structure sat empty for the next five years until Yokohama-based developer Daiwa Jisho Group purchased the building and land and resumed construction in May 2013. 

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Original Nikko Kanaya Hotel and Samurai House Foreclosed

*Update: The property sold to a private buyer for 33,000,000 Yen. They were the only bidder. It was then carefully restored, and registered as a Tangible Cultural Property in 2014. From 2015 onwards it has been open to the public.

The original 350+ year old Nikko Kanaya Hotel has been foreclosed on and is up for auction with a minimum bid set at 25 million Yen (320,000 USD). The house was originally built as a samurai residence in the Kan’ei era (1624-1644).  At the beginning of the Meiji era, James Curtis Hepburn, a Christian missionary who created the Hepburn romanization system for Japanese, stayed at the home, which was then the residence of Zenichiro Kanaya. Mr. Hepburn  suggested that the owner use his home as an inn for foreigners. The house soon became a popular spot for foreign guests and became known as “Kanaya Cottage Inn” and was later re-named “Kanaya Hotel.”

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Former British Embassy Villa in Nikko to be open to public

Tochigi Prefecture is making plans to restore and open up the former villa of the British Embassy on Lake Chuzenji to the public as a way to promote tourism in the Nikko area.

The prefecture has allocated 6 million Yen in their 2012 budget to start work on analyzing the foundations and earthquake-resistance of the villa. After carrying out any necessary repairs, the villa is scheduled to be open to the public from 2014.

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