120-yr old Mitsui Besso in Karuizawa at risk of demolition

The recent sale of the original Karuizawa holiday home of Saburosuke Mitsui (1850-1912) to a buyer from an offshore tax haven has locals worried the historic house may soon be demolished.



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Heritage-listed merchant house in Kyoto up for sale

The heritage-listed Watanabe Residence in Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture, is listed for sale for 25,800,000 Yen (approx. 235,000 USD), leaving locals concerned about its fate. The 150-year old merchant house is registered as a Tangible Cultural Property.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Yodoko Guest House re-opens after 2-year restoration

The Yodoko Guest House in Ashiya, Hyogo, reopened to the public on February 16 after undergoing two years of intensive repairs and restoration work. 

This is the only surviving Wright-designed residence in Japan that has remained in largely original condition. The house has a total floor area of 542 sqm (5,832 sq.ft) and sits on over an acre of land. 

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Boutique hotel to open in 88-yr old building in Otaru

This month, Tokyo-based developer, Global Agents, will open a boutique hotel in a historic 1930s building in Otaru, Hokkaido. The UNWIND HOTEL & BAR Otaru will have hotel rooms ranging from 15 ~ 40 sqm (161 ~ 430 sq.ft), along with a banquet / dining hall. This is the company’s second UNWIND-branded hotel, with the first located nearby in Sapporo.

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88-yr old building on 2.6 hectare site in Minato to be sold

Japan Post Insurance is selling their former Tokyo Service Center building and land in Mita, Minato-ku, Tokyo. The potential sale price and date has yet to be confirmed, although it is expected that the property will be offered for sale by tender. With land of this size, the eventual sale price is likely to be in the 10s of billions of Yen (several hundred million USD).

Japan Post Insurance expects to report a capital gain of 30 billion Yen (approx. 270 million USD) on the sale, which, given their very long history of ownership of the property, may be a close indicator of their preferred sale price.

*Update: The property was sold to Mitsui Fudosan Residential in February 2018. Japan Post Insurance posted a capital gain of 85.03 billion Yen (approx. 780 million USD) on the sale.

The property is located along the street from the Australian Embassy and directly across the street from the historic Tsunamachi Mitsui Club – a members only club that was built in 1913 for the Mitsui family.

The Art Deco building was once theMinistry of Communications and Transportation Postal Life Insurance Building. It was constructed by Obayashi Corporation in 1929 at a cost of 4,350,000 Yen. In those days the annual salary of a doctor was around 4,800 Yen.

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