Chinese cash keeps Japan's struggling hot spring resorts bubbling

An exodus of money from China has turned into a lifeline for cash-strapped inns and hotels fighting to survive after years of Covid curbs

Overseas buyers made up almost half of Japanese hotel deals that closed in the year to March, according to MSCI Real Assets. High-profile hotels such as the Rihga Royal Hotel in Osaka and the Tokyo Hyatt Regency are among the assets that have changed hands recently.

Japan’s tourism industry enjoyed a steady boom from 2012 until the pandemic, as the government sought to attract inbound tourists and the yen weakened. Many traditional ryokan, however, have struggled to attract enough foreign visitors to stay afloat as they fell behind more modern hotels in adapting to things like online bookings or multilingual services, while holding on to other traditions.

Many ryokan for example serve fixed-menu meals in the guest’s room as part of a rigid package – a custom that some, including the Atami Pearl Star, are starting to rethink. Offering food and accommodation separately gives guests more freedom, while area residents or day trippers can enjoy meals without needing to spend the night.

The predicted influx of Chinese investment into Japan also comes as rich individuals increasingly explore the country as a place to invest or even live. ...continue reading

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