Until recently, Niseko resorts have been a somewhat remote addition to Japan’s landscape. With no direct links to the famous Japanese’s bullet trains, visitors have historically been forced to take regional flights or journey for over 350 minutes from Tokyo to reach this winter paradise.
Nevertheless, with the recent announcement that the Japanese government would be extending the bullet trains to Hakodate, this means that journey times will be reduced by over 100 minutes. Plus, there are further plans to have a direct line from Tokyo to Kucthan as early as 2024!
Direct line from Toyko to Hokkaido
Japan’s high-speed rail trains are famous worldwide. Developed in 1964, the trains are notorious for their exceptional punctuality, unrivaled speed, and comfort. Their purpose? To boost economic growth throughout different regions of Japan.
Yet until now, the northern reaches of the country have remained more isolated compared to their southern neighbours.
This is all set to change, with Niseko and Hokkaido resorts’ jump to international acclaim, travellers from Tokyo need a more convenient way than regional trains to reach this mountainous mecca. Indeed, it’s not just in relation to rail travel that the area has seen a rise in investment.
Since its jump to fame, the resorts in the Hokkaido region have witnessed unprecedented investment. Hotel chains such as Hilton, Ritz-Carlton and W have taken up shop in the popular ski-town of Niseko and traditional local restaurants have been transformed into fine-dining establishments with accompanying luxury apartments.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the Japanese government have sought to cash in on its fame. The high-speed rail is one of many in a long-line of developments set to make Hokkaido a first-class – and convenient – ski resort for the masses.
High-speed rail to Hokkaido
Historically, those travelling from Tokyo would have to journey via regional flights to New Chitose airport, or take the shinkansen (bullet-train) as far as Aomori before taking a series of municipal trains to Kutchan. In total, the journey via train could take as long as 360 minutes in total – a serious hit to your vacation time.
Now, travellers have the option to reach as far Hokkodate which cuts off a significant portion of your journey. However, the more exciting developments to the line are yet to come! The Japanese government has announced that soon it will be developing the high-speed lines even further.
From as early as 2024, tourists travelling to the Nisko resorts or Hokkaido region can expect a direct route on the high-speed rail from Tokyo to Kutchan! By 2031, this is likely to extend all the way to the regional capital of Sapporo too.
This is likely to dramatically increase both international and domestic travel to the resorts – so expect investment in the area to soar in the lead up to its opening.
Niseko takes its place on the international stage
2019 has been an incredible year for the Hokkaido region and its ski resorts. With soaring land prices, investment in the area has increased substantially.
High-speed trains are not the first to increase accessibility to the area. Only recently, Finnair announced plans to fly direct from Helsinki to Sapporo which has opened up the area to tourists from all over Europe. With the introduction of heated paths, free shuttle buses, and state of the art ski lifts – Niseko is rapidly becoming the ‘Aspen of Asia.’
We shouldn’t forget the property market either. With solid returns and house prices set to increase for the foreseeable, companies have been investing in local hotels and condos at an astounding rate.
With the upcoming Olympics, Tokyo has set to increase the number of tourists from 28 million a year to 40 million by 2020. All this has meant that the introduction of a high-speed rail from Tokyo to Kuchan comes as no surprise. With rising interest in the area, Tokyo has ambitions for Hokkaido – and by extension, Niseko – to become one of the ski capitals of the world.
The announcement of a high-speed rail line to Kutchan is just one development in a long line of investments that have made Hokkaido one of the go-to destinations for tourists in Asia, and maybe even worldwide. With greater accessibility from Tokyo, domestic and international travel to the area will become far more commonplace.
All this means that with the rise of tourism, there will also be rise in interest from developers in the area.
Here at JNW properties and SnowDog Village, we offer help and advice for those looking to invest in the region. So please get in contact with us if you would like to know more about investing in Hokkaido or Niseko.