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
Feb 27
More and more Japanese companies are responding to the virus by having their staff work from home. (NHK)
Feb 26
Black swans and domestic miscalculations push Abenomics to the brink (Nikkei)
Feb 25
Continued uncertainty surrounding details of a new law on foreign investment is likely to dent appetite toward Japan, experts warned. (Nikkei)
Feb 25
Toyota Motor restarted its fourth and final Chinese assembly plant following a nearly monthlong shutdown sparked by the deadly coronavirus outbreak. (Nikkei)
Feb 23
The novel coronavirus outbreak has forced as much as 56 Japanese companies to disclose that they will downgrade earnings forecasts or expect a significant slow down of sales, according to credit research specialist Tokyo Shoko Research. (Nikkei)
Feb 21
Foreign investors purchasing a 1% or more stake in a Japanese company will be subject to prescreening if the target company is included in 12 specified sectors deemed critical to national security, such as arms, aircraft and space-related industries, Nikkei has learned. (Nikkei)
Feb 21
Twenty-three providers of cashless payment services have registered to participate in a government-led reward-point program for holders of My Number social security and tax identification cards, the internal affairs ministry said Wednesday. (Japan Times)
Feb 20
Multinational companies are avoiding travel to and from Japan over fears the country could be the next hot spot in the coronavirus outbreak. (Nikkei)
Feb 20
The spread of the new coronavirus has prompted some Japanese companies to alter their work schedules, or even tell staff to stay home. (NHK)
Feb 19
Nissan Motor held an extraordinary shareholders meeting on Tuesday, as it struggles to rebuild itself under new leadership. 666 people gathered in Yokohama. They approved a new board of directors led by current President and CEO Makoto Uchida. (NHK)