To capitalise on the growing industry for luxury boutique-style ryokans (traditional Japanese inns), real estate giant HULIC and Kato Pleasure Group (KPG) established KH Resort Management on July 1. The company will engage in the operation of ryokans as well as providing consulting services.
In April 2015, HULIC acquired two hotels from KPG – the Hakone-Suishoen and the Atami Fufu Ryokan – for approximately 4 billion Yen (approx. 33.6 million USD at the time). The newly formed company plan to acquire up to 10 high-end ryokans in hot spring resort areas within 1.5 ~ 2 hours from central Tokyo.
HULIC will acquire and develop the ryokans, while the new company will be in charge of management. HULIC currently have plans to develop a luxury ryokan in Lake Kawaguchi near Mt. Fuji. Kawaguchi Fufu will have 30 ~ 35 guest suites, a total building area of 4,600 sqm and will be on a 13,200 sqm block of land. The ryokan is scheduled to open in spring 2017.
Other players in the luxury ryokan business include Hoshino Resorts, who has been busy opening high-end ryokans across Japan including Kyoto, Karuizawa, Hakone and Atami, and now operates 34 resorts and hotels nationwide.
In late 2014, Mori Trust acquired a ryokan in Hakone’s Gora area and plan to redevelop the hotel into a luxury internationally-branded hot spring resort.
Hulic News Release, July 1, 2015.
Kentsu Shimbun, June 19, 2015.