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
Sep 22
The political friction between the U.S. and China over TikTok raises strategic questions for Japanese businesses that use the popular video-sharing app in advertising to young consumers. (Sep 22). (Nikkei)
Sep 19
The key inflation gauge went negative again last month, driven down by government discounts meant to boost consumer spending and help the pandemic-hit travel industry. (Japan Times)
Sep 19
The former chairman of Japan Life Co, a now-bankrupt company, was arrested Friday along with 13 others on suspicion of running a "rental owner" investment scam involving clothing, jewelry and other goods it claimed had health benefits, police said. (Japan Today)
Sep 18
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga hit the ground running on day one, meeting with ministers in charge of top policy goals from cutting red tape and digitizing the government to combating the new coronavirus. (Nikkei)
Sep 18
Policymakers at the Bank of Japan have decided to keep their current monetary-easing policy unchanged. (NHK)
Sep 18
Developers have released the details of a major construction project that's underway in central Tokyo. (NHK)
Sep 17
Two of Japan's largest rail operators now expect to report their largest full-year net losses since their 1987 privatization, as the coronavirus pandemic brings a deep and potentially long-lasting slump in passenger traffic. (Nikkei)
Sep 16
Fraudulent e-money withdrawals in Japan have expanded to five other service operators in addition to NTT Docomo Inc, internal affairs minister Sanae Takaichi said Tuesday. (Japan Today)
Sep 16
A former aide to Carlos Ghosn has fronted a Japanese court over allegations of financial misconduct related to the under-reporting of pay promised to the ex-Nissan chief. (FRANCE 24 English)
Sep 16
Gambling and casinos in Japan have not been legal for all that long. When looking at the history of casinos, it is easy to say that the future should be brighter than the past. (newsonjapan.com)
Sep 11
Amazon.com Inc's Japan unit has pledged to return around 2 billion yen ($18.8 million) to around 1,400 suppliers after having them shoulder part of the costs to cover discounts the online retailer applied on goods, the antitrust watchdog said Thursday. (Japan Today)
Sep 10
Workers in Japan may be looking beyond the pandemic. A government survey says their view of business conditions has improved, for the fourth month in a row. One index fell and that was for restaurants. (NHK)
Sep 08
A key gauge of business conditions in Japan rose slightly in July, but the uptick was not enough to change the assessment of the economy as "worsening". (NHK)
Sep 07
Massive job cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic are concentrated on sectors that tend to employ many women, a trend that highlights a lopsided economic impact both at home and abroad. (Nikkei)
Sep 05
A powerful typhoon threatening record-breaking wind and rain for Japan has put companies and transportation networks on high alert, with some moving to cut operations starting this weekend. (Nikkei)
Sep 05
Amazon.com Inc.’s Japan unit has submitted to the country’s antitrust watchdog a set of proposed reforms including returning money to its suppliers after having them shoulder part of the costs to cover discounts the online retailer applied on goods, sources close to the matter said Thursday. (Japan Times)
Sep 04
Japan is making a bid to become Asia's premier financial hub as some institutions exit Hong Kong over political and legal concerns. (NHK)
Sep 01
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has bucked the trend of socially responsible investing by acquiring 5%-plus stakes in five Japanese trading houses deeply involved in fossil-fuel-linked businesses. (Nikkei)
Aug 28
A voluntary request to have food establishments in the capital’s central 23 wards operate under reduced business hours will be extended into next month, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike announced Thursday. (Japan Times)
Aug 27
Reader, heal thyself! In many a bookstore in Japan these days, that appears to be the message from publishers to consumers looking for summertime page-turners or browsers in search of popular titles about golf, computers and business-and-finance trends. (Nikkei)
Aug 27
The ratio of women who hold senior positions at companies in Japan has inched up, but remains far below the government's target. (NHK)