Almost 20% of Japan’s resort apartments are located in the ski resort area of Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture. The town has 58 resort apartment buildings containing approximately 15,000 units. Yuzawa also has the highest percentage of apartments as a share of total households nationwide, with 4 times as many apartments as registered households.
These resort apartments were built during Japan’s bubble economy in the late 1980s, with as many as a third of the resort apartments developed during that era located in Yuzawa. Buildings featured hotel-like facilities such as large hot spring baths, indoor pools, karaoke rooms and restaurants. Some buildings featured maisonette-type apartments over 100 sqm in size that were priced over 100 million Yen when new. However, many of the apartments were only designed to cater to short-term residents, with tiny kitchens with 1 cooktop.
From the 1990s onwards, apartment owners, saddled with high monthly building fees, effectively abandoned their apartments, causing many of the owners associations to face increasing debts from owners who had long-since stopped paying fees.