Banyan Tree hotel to open in Hakuba – JAPAN PROPERTY CENTRAL K.K.

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In an interesting shift in plans, Banyan Tree’s first ski resort hotel in Japan will now be located in Hakuba instead of Niseko. A 156-room hotel across six buildings is planned for a 33,000 sqm site adjoining the Happo-One ski slopes in Hakuba, with opening tentatively scheduled for 2026.

The hotel will include a pool, club, and spa, and will target foreigners and wealthy tourists from the greater Tokyo area.

This will be the first Banyan Tree in Japan to be in a ski resort location. In 2022, it was announced that a 50-room hotel was planned for Niseko but a notice was sent out to neighbors in July 2023 informing them that the development has been discontinued.

A Banyan Tree is planned for a hilltop location in Kyoto early next year, and another is planned for a location near Lake Ashi in Hakone in 2026.

Hakuba is approximately 3 hours by train from Tokyo Station, or a 4 hour drive by car. The popular ski town has, until this point, three-star hotels at best. The opening of a five-star class Banyan Tree will create an entirely new level of luxury accommodation in the Hokuriku and Koshin-etsu region.

After peaking in the early 1990s and maintaining somewhat steady values in advance of the 1998 Winter Olympics, from the mid-1990s onwards, Hakuba’s land values entered into a steep decline, with the early 2000s seeing values drop by as much as 10 ~ 20% per year. Even into the 2010s, land values continued to decline by 5 ~ 7% per year before bottoming out in 2018 and switching to positive growth in 2019. One government assessed land value survey site near the Happo-One ski field recorded a 15.2% increase in 2020, and a 6.17% increase in 2023. Another location saw a 27% increase in Standard Land Prices in 2023. Hakuba benefitted during the pandemic due to its relatively easy access from Tokyo, making it within reach of 44 million domestic residents, and is quickly showing signs of developing into a world-class ski resort.

Values are still around 75 ~ 85% below their abnormally high peak seen in the mid-1990s – something quite common for many locations in Japan.

Sources:
The Shinano Mainichi Shimbun, November 20, 2023.
The Nikkei Shimbun, November 21, 2023.

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