Ace Hotel, a boutique hotel chain headquartered in Portland, is making its first foray in the Asian market with the opening of a hotel in Kyoto next year. The 213-room Ace Hotel Kyoto will be the main part of the historic Shinpukan redevelopment. With architect Kengo Kuma leading the project’s design, the hotel will incorporate the existing building’s early 20th century architectural elements with contemporary styling. The building is the perfect fit for the hotelier’s brand which focuses on reviving and repurposing older and more character-filled buildings.
Intellex, a property renovation giant, announced their entrance into Kyoto’s guesthouse market. The company will start buying traditional machiya townhouses, renovate them and operate them as licensed guesthouses for tourists who want to rent an entire house for the duration of their stay. The project cost is estimated at 480 million Yen (approx. 4.5 million USD) to be spread across five guesthouses.
Their first guesthouse is a 100-year old, 2-storey machiya house located alongside Chawan-zaka, the road that leads up to Kiyomizu Temple. It has a total building size of 111 sqm (1,194 sq.ft) and can host groups of up to 10 guests. Nightly rates range from 36,000 ~ 60,000 Yen and up, depending on the season and number of guests.
A survey of 36 leading hotels in Kyoto has found that the percentage of foreign guests has exceeded 40% for the first time since reporting began in 2014. According to the Kyoto City Tourism Association, the share of foreign guests in 2017 was 40.5%, up 3.2 points from 2016. The busiest season for foreign tourists was April, with a share of 50.9%, up 5.3 points from the previous year.
The hotels reported an occupancy ratio of 88.8%, down 0.1 points from 2016. January, which is typically the worst month for tourism, had an occupancy ratio of 75.7%, up 4.3 points from 2016.
Tokyo Kantei has issued their annual report ranking the cities and towns across Japan that have the highest percentage of condominium-type apartments as a share of total households. According to the data, 12.41% of households in Japan were living in apartments in 2017, up 0.10 points from 2016.
In the Tokyo metropolitan area, the ratio was 27.20% – the highest in the country. Kanagawa Prefecture was in second place with 22.68%.
On February 23, Kyoto City approved a local ordinance that will impose strict rules on hosts of unlicensed short-term ‘minpaku’ accommodation.
For properties located in exclusive residential zones, hosts can only provide accommodation for a maximum of 60 days per year and only during the off-season winter months from January 15 to March 15. Both traditional machiya townhouses and properties where the host also lives on the premises may be exempt if certain requirements are met.
Shikoku Railway Company (JR Shikoku) is planning to open traditional-style guesthouse accommodation in Kyoto to cater to the growing demand from foreign tourists.
Their first project is a group of three townhouses under construction on a 170 sqm block of land just south of Kyoto Station and 14 minute walk to Tofuku-ji Temple. The total project cost is estimated at 150 million Yen (approx. 1.4 million USD).
Blue Bottle Coffee will be opening a cafe in a traditional old building in Kyoto on March 23rd. This will be the company’s 8th store in Japan and their first store outside of Tokyo.
The cafe is located in the Nanzenji district and is 400 meters west of Nanzen-ji Temple. A 100-year old town house is currently in the final stages of being renovated into a 452 sqm (4,860 sq.ft) cafe with 44 seats, a shop selling original items, and a courtyard space.
The Danish Pavilion built for EXPO 92 in Seville and relocated to Japan in 1993 may be demolished early this year.
The pavilion was designed by Knud Holscher of KHR Architects AS and Erik Reitzel and debuted in Spain in 1992. The town of Tanba (now part of Kyotamba town) purchased the building for approximately 1 billion Yen (about 9 million USD at the time) as a symbol for cultural exchange between the two countries. It was shifted to Tanba to a site that the then-mayor was planning to convert into the Kyoto Denmark Park. The ambitious project was considered ground-breaking but quickly turned into a white elephant. The plans never eventuated after the mayor was caught up in a corruption scandal. The following economic malaise of the 1990s sealed the project’s fate.
Recent population data provided by Kyoto City is showing a growing trend of younger residents moving out of the city to surrounding districts. If this trend continues, the city could see a net outflow of residents in the 30-year old age bracket.
The average price of an apartment in the city in 2016 was about 20 ~ 50% higher than the top 10 cities that these younger residents are moving to, leading some to say that Kyoto has become unaffordable for the younger generation. With surging hotel development creating a shortage of residential development sites, the average apartment price in central Kyoto has reached around 1,000,000 Yen/sqm (approx. 835 USD / sq ft), close to double the price in other districts. In 2016, Kyoto City was the second most expensive district in Japan, second to Tokyo, for new apartments with an average price of 52,960,000 Yen.
According to a forecast by the Real Estate Economic Institute, a total of 38,000 brand new apartments are expected to be released for sale across greater Tokyo in 2018, up 4.4% from 2017 and the second year in a row to see an increase. Depending on demand for buyers eager to purchase before the consumption tax rate increase in October 2019, supply could reach as high as 40,000 units.