Kyoto beguiles luxury hotel operators from Japan and abroad
Nikkei -- Dec 03
Kyoto is one of Japan's best-known tourist destinations and offers a number of choices for luxury accommodations.

But with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics less than a year away, more international and domestic operators of high-end hotels are opening properties in the ancient city as they vie for the business of well-heeled travelers from overseas.

In late October, Hyatt Hotels of the U.S. opened the Park Hyatt Kyoto in the popular tourist district of Higashiyama. Located on the grounds of Kyoyamato, a pricey Japanese restaurant near Kiyomizu and Kodaiji temples, the hotel hopes to attract wealthy foreign guests eager to learn about the city's history and culture.

Prices at the 70-room property start at 110,000 yen ($1,006) a night. There are nine suites overlooking Higashiyama. David Udell, head of Hyatt Hotels' Asia-Pacific business, said the chain spent more than 10 years looking for the ideal location.

On Nov. 1, Singapore's Aman Resorts Group opened its third hotel in Japan near Kinkakuji Temple. It features low-rise guest wings, a restaurant and a spa, set in 24,000 sq. meters of woodland.

In addition to 24 guest rooms, there are two stand-alone pavilions. Rooms start at 110,000 yen a night. The top-end pavilion, which measures more than 240 sq. meters, goes for 800,000 yen or more a night.

The Westin Miyako Kyoto, near Nanzenji Temple, has been renovated and will reopen next spring. The hotel, which is operated by Kintetsu Miyako Hotels, has halved the number of rooms to make each unit bigger. The top rate for a suite is 850,000 yen a night.

Japanese hotel operators are also piling into Kyoto's luxury accommodations market. Property developer Mitsui Fudosan will open Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto next summer. The 161-room property is located in front of Nijo Castle, a World Heritage site. It will have a hot spring and a garden that was part of the former residence of the Mitsui family, which ran one of Japan's biggest prewar conglomerates. Rooms range in size from 43 to 214 sq. meters.

Kyoto has seen a sharp rise in the number of hotel rooms as it pulls in more overseas visitors. As of the end of September, there were 648 inns and hotels in the city, up around 100 from five years ago. But industry watchers say that most of the growth has been in the lower and middle ranges of the market, and that luxury hotels and facilities are still in short supply.

As the competition heats up, some hotel chains are trying to use the city's rich cultural heritage to their advantage.

Imperial Hotel plans open accommodations in the city's Gion geisha district by renovating Yasaka Hall, a tangible cultural property located in the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater. The theater is a venue for the "Miyakoodori," an annual event where geishas unveil new dance performances. The hotel, which is to open in a few years, is expected to have about 100 guest rooms.

News source: Nikkei
Dec 11
Ever since the Japanese authorities announced last year that they would be opening up bidding for the country's first casino licenses, there has been furious speculation over where will become "the Macau of Japan". (newsonjapan.com)
Dec 11
The government said Tuesday it hopes to double the country’s output of wagyu beef, known for its tenderness and marbled fat, to 300,000 tons by fiscal 2035 amid rising overseas demand. (Japan Times)
Dec 11
Foreigners are descending upon the northern Japanese ski resort of Niseko in droves, lured by not only its renowned powder snow, but also land prices that remain remarkably affordable even after sharp rises in recent years. (Nikkei)
Dec 10
The Liberal Democratic Party’s tax panel is considering giving preferential tax treatment to mobile phone carriers and others to help spread fifth-generation, or 5G, high-speed wireless communications services. (Japan Times)
Dec 10
Restaurant operator Kirin City Co. will introduce a new service that allows customers to place orders and make payments using smartphones, according to parent Kirin Holdings Co. (Japan Times)
Dec 09
When the infamous Elon Musk of electric-car company Tesla praises your business strategy, you may be on the wrong side of an issue. (Nikkei)
Dec 07
Japanese households cut their spending for the first time in almost a year in October as a sales tax hike prompted consumers to rein in expenses and natural disasters disrupted business. (Japan Today)
Dec 06
In a country where customer service is a point of pride, Amazon Japan is challenging the status quo by daring to leave packages at the door. (Nikkei)
Dec 06
Nissan Motor Co. is making its U.S. factory and office employees take two days off without pay amid slumping sales. (Japan Times)
Dec 06
Dentsu Inc said Thursday it has again received a warning from labor authorities over its illegal overtime practices. (Japan Today)