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.
The new hotel will have approximately 94 guest rooms, each over 50 sqm (538 sq.ft) in size, and with lake and mountain views. Tobu and Marriott are expecting 30 ~ 40% of their guests to be foreigners, which is an improvement from the 10% reported for the former hotel.
The land has a history dating back to 1894 when the original Lake Side Hotel (later known as the Nikko Lake Side Hotel) opened up. The historic resort-type hotel was built to cater to foreign visitors. The Tobu-owned hotel closed in January after 120 years of operations.
Nikko, and particularly the Lake Chuzenji area, is a popular tourist destination for both domestic and foreign travelers. It is 150km north of central Tokyo. During the late 1800s, the lakeside was developed as a resort area and attracted many foreign visitors. Several embassies also built large and grand holiday homes around the lake.
In 2015, Nikko had 11.9 million visitors, up 11.3% from 2014 and the highest number recorded for the past 10 years. Approximately 70,000 foreigners spent nights at hotels in Nikko in 2015, representing just 2% of the total number of overnight tourists.
MyNavi News, November 7, 2016.
The Nikkei Shimbun, November 7, 2016.