With Japan’s reopening for tourism, today, 11 October marks the day that has created an onslaught of bookings for the winter season in Asia’s leading alpine destination – Niseko. This has been helped by the favourable dollar-yen exchange rate which has also spurred investors’ interest in this hugely popular destination.
Increase in domestic tourism from 2020 through 2022
Industry experts C9 Hotelworks took a closer look at this dynamic marketplace and despite the government’s closed border policies shutting down the overseas market for over two years, Niseko’s domestic tourism has been resilient. In Q1 2022, total domestic visitors to Niseko were 288,670, growing by 14% compared to the same period in 2021.
At JNW we can confirm this increase in domestic occupancy as we smashed the norm at our resort SnowDog Village and increased our summer season occupancy by over 300% since 2020. Also the government are offering fantastic subsidies starting today 11th October until 20th December 2022 to encourage further domestic travel which is helping to increase this number and is further proof the government supports how important tourism is to the economy and is willing to do what is required to kick start it.
A strong push for luxury projects
Niseko’s winter tourism market and the high-value foreign segment are connected to the real estate sector. As a result, commercial land prices in 2022 decelerated. This trend was also seen in residential land prices, where growth was 12% in 2022, down from 40% in 2020, and 25% in 2021. Comparing Niseko to other Japanese alpine resort areas, Furano was 18% and Hakuba 17%.
Hanazono, Hirafu, and Niseko Village/ Higashiyama remain the top three destinations in the project pipeline and there remains a strong push for luxury projects outside of the mainstream Hirafu area driven by the lack of prime land and rising prices.
More restrictive zoning by the government
Two factors that may hamper wider destination growth are ageing ski facilities (although Hanazono and Niseko Village have both invested in new lifts in the past 5 years) and potential changes to the area development and more restrictive zoning by the government.
As developers, we have witnessed more restrictive zoning although we welcome this. Planning permission is getting tougher and tougher to get. Gone are the days when you could buy a plot and know that you could build. Now there are so many regulations in regard to the location, access to water, infrastructure and many other factors all required before they will even consider an application. This is great for the area as it stops mass building and keeps Niseko still like a village however it will increase land prices with planning and also mean that properties built prior to this will be for the short to medium-term better value than new properties as it will be impossible to build at the same price.
The experts at C9 Hotelworks are predicting that the restart of Japan’s tourism sector and the favourable dollar-yen exchange rate will revitalise the transaction market in the short to medium term, as pent-up demand will induce a market tailwind.
At JNW we agree with this. It has been 2 years since international tourists have visited Niseko and there is a real demand. We can see from our bookings and inquires for SnowDog Village, as well as our property inquires through JNWs website and the massive increase in open rates for our email updates that not only will the tourists return but the investors as well. As always those first in now will benefit from both the cheap YEN and any possible deals that might be there because in a month or so they will have all gone!
For the full Niseko Tourism Property Market Review by C9 HotelWorks download the link below
SnowDog Chalets - land with full planning permission for 12 chalets
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JNW ASIA is a property marketing and sales company supporting our projects in Niseko, Japan, and Koh Samui in Thailand.
We build and manage properties in places we know and love. That way we can offer the most beautiful locations and the best ways to make the most of them. We’ve done our job if you come to love these places as we do.
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