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Powder Snow Kingdom

Ginza is the area in Tokyo well known as a luxury area. The above image is Ginza 4th block’s intersection, which is the area with the highest land price in Japan: about 500,000 USD/sqm, while it’s less than 200 USD/sqm around here in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. However, if it’s about the appreciation rate of land price, the No.1 area is in Hokkaido. It’s Niseko of which land price increased at about 50% last year, staying on top in the appreciation rate of land price for these six years. Even during the COVID crisis, foreign companies have continued to buy land, and the boom of construction of luxury resort hotels has never stopped.

More than 20 years ago, Niseko was just a small town, where local poor college students like me sometimes went for skiing. I still remember there were few people outside on the street and it was hard to find a place to eat, but now things have drastically changed. There are a lot of luxury hotels and stylish restaurants and bars, and the streets are full of foreign tourists, much more than local people. I attribute this great commercial success to targeting. The boom is said to start from one Australian guy coming to live in Niseko. It spread to rich people in Australia and NZ who want to ski even in their summer time (winter here in the Northern Hemisphere), and huge amounts of money have been invested to develop the area according to the demand in a short period of time. The targeting is consistent.

Many visitors to Niseko praise on the quality of snow, but if it’s about powder snow, we believe our hometown (Asahikawa) is better because it’s much colder. We have many ski slopes in powder snow, but there are few ski tourists from overseas. It’s exactly an unused treasure. Our saving grace is our furniture is used in some of the hotels in Niseko. Come and enjoy our furniture as well as skiing after the COVID restrictions are lifted!

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.

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