Hokkaido town introduces Japan's 1st fixed-rate lodging tax
Japan Today -- Nov 01
The town of Kutchan, part of the Niseko tourism zone that includes a number of popular ski resorts in Hokkaido, introduced a 2 percent levy Friday for stays at all lodging facilities in its jurisdiction, marking the first such accommodation tax system in Japan.

The tax, which also applies to private lodgings, is expected to bring in revenue of up to 300 million yen per year for the town, which plans to use the funds to better accommodate the increasing number of foreign visitors flocking to the area, including training multilingual staff and improving the public transport system.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Kutchan is the fifth government to introduce an accommodation tax, following Tokyo, Osaka Prefecture and the cities of Kyoto and Kanazawa. Fukuoka Prefecture and two of its cities, Kitakyushu and Fukuoka, have also formalized provisions for an accommodation tax. However, in all cases the levy is a fixed amount.

Under Kutchan's lodging tax, guests will be charged 2 percent of the total cost of their stay, excluding meals, which will be collected at accommodation facilities on behalf of the local government, Kutchan officials said.

Around 530 accommodation facilities operate in the town, which housed a total 460,000 guests in fiscal 2018.

Results of an annual survey released by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism in September showed Kutchan logged the highest price increases for commercial and residential properties in the country, both up 66.7 percent from a year earlier as of July 1.

News source: Japan Today
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