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Resource Japan Snow Country Realestate 2020 to 2070

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Scoober, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. TeePee

    TeePee First Runs

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    Newby lurker chiming in.. I've also been having a good trawl over the last year through the japanese sites (thumbs up to google chrome translate!) with plans to possibly get a family and friends place around the iiyama/nozawa/shiga kogen/ryuoo zone. Given all the points above, I've come to the same conclusion as LMB: a managed condo is the way to go if you want minimal headaches and maximum pow time. Sure you don't get to live the romantic scenes of waking up in a timber chalet surrounded by white. Nor do you get the convenience of ski in - ski out. But lets face it, the majority of us who aren't in Japan running a snow business want a place you can roll up to, set up easily, access services, pack up easily and pull the door to when you leave. The money spent on strata fees etc for an apartment is more than worth it in return for convenience. Most of them provide a car space as well. I've done enough snow clearing whilst staying at a friends place to know that I wouldn't want to be doing it every day for months on end. Its like having to mow the lawn every day!

    I've witnessed the tropical version where I live in Sumatra where expats roll up wanting to live the dream, buy a piece of land, go through the mission of acquiring timber and building a place, deal with local tradesman, get ripped off, deal with (sea) transport issues in all types of weather, visa hassles, etc, etc. Very similar scenario just in warmer weather!

    Anyway, great thread and great forum. Thanks to all.
     
  2. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mehhhh...
    Sure my place in Japan isn’t the romantic timber chalet. But I CAN and do often shovel snow, from the doorstep and from the car.
    And as good as ski in ski out is, I’m not sure that an under 5 minute walk to the lifts is all that bad. The shared laundry/drying room and ski room has its disadvantages but also some very significant advantages. Usually when I’m leaving (March/April) bookings are light so I often have all 3 washers and dryers and the entire drying room to myself to batch wash all my ski gear for storage LOL
     
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  3. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Oh my. This looks very, very similar to the area where I live.
    A common issue with 2nd hand properties in my area is they are originally built as cool summer second homes for people living in the city, and aren't designed with winter in mind. No central heating and no double glazing/roof or wall insulation means they are basically uninhabitable in the winter.

    Having said that, I don't know anything about log cabins and insulation, and I don't know exactly where this property is. If it's an area designed as a base for skiing, no doubt it's fine, but if it's primarily a summer getaway area, alarm bells would ring.
     
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  4. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Although it's none of my business, can I ask if your place is a timeshare type deal, or owned outright by yourself?
     
  5. Scoober

    Scoober One of Us

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    Welcome @TeePee Good input and enjoy the ski.com community
     
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  6. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think your place = high altitude but snow is not deep (if compared to average Japanese ski resort regions), so your place is more popular as green season destination. Hachimantai region (the lodge above) is more "notable" as a ski region (it's good all year around, though), so the lodge was designed to deal with the big amount of snow and the coldness. I've seen many similar lodges in different ski resort lodge villages in Tohoku and some (or many) of them were the ones that Daiwa House built in 1990s. Daiwa House is a major Japanese home builder and they are reliable IMO. Daiwa House have made "resort lodge villages" and they still have resort lode village business in Fukushima, Yamagata, Iwate, etc as well.

    Edit : Not sure if the lodge above is the one Daiwa House built, though.
     
  7. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bubble wrap is your friend.
     
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  8. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    One thing to be aware of is that a lot of the condos around cannot be let out short term. If you only want to use it yourself, or for a long term letting it would work well.
     
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  9. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I should do a summary. And get people tp o pay me for it, like some others do. Not serious about the 2nd bit.
     
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  10. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Outright.
    Small block of 6
     
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  11. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    That one was designed & built for small lodge business and the elderly couple (the owners) kept living there after retiring from the lodge business. So, the lodge can be used for both family use and small lodge business use. The lodge I'm writing from now (the lodge below) is very close to the lodge above (both are in Tangram resort village), but the lodge below was designed for family use, so it's cheaper. 23 years old, 3 bed rooms (and LDK = Living Dining Kitchen, etc). It's 8.5 million Yen = about 110K AUD.














    洋室 = Western room (in this case, Western style bed rooms). 3 bed rooms, good condition (almost 0 renovation required), inside a ski resort village, then 8.5 million Yen = 110K AUD is sort of the bottom price (I know some cheaper ones, though)
     
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  12. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Throw in another $50K and you can build a new modest 3 bedroom approx 100m2 place including land. Makes an easy care property and you wont have an ongoing spend over the following years. This would be my suggestion anyways.
     
  13. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I half agree, but I think another 100K - 150k (or even more) is needed, not only 50K. And, I think building a new home is a lot more difficult than buying a used one if the person can't understand Japanese well + the person isn't living in Japan.
     
    #63 Ramenman, Aug 19, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2020
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  14. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    This is a dilemma that my wife and I have been thinking about for the last couple of years.
    FWIW we ended up deciding that the premium you pay for a new house isn't worth it. On top of the basic construction costs, building standards are stricter in cold regions (which I assume applies to almost all ski areas). In particular the increased foundation depth required apparently pushes up costs a lot. I don't want to spend that much on concrete I can't even see...
    Other factors we considered that may or may not be relevant were:
    - neither of us had particularly strong preferences in terms of design - i.e. we weren't fixated on some sort of "dream house". Therefore anywhere of decent quality and location would be OK.
    - while we don't plan to move away from the area any time soon, we can't see the future and being an international couple there's no knowing for sure where we'll be in 10, 20, 30, 40 years time. It would be a shame to spend lots of money of a house which we then leave empty or sell off cheaply after a few years.

    So in the end, we figured we could use the same amount of money that could build a modest house and buy something much fancier (albeit older) on the 2nd hand market, which is what we ended up doing.
    Then it was a case of waiting for something that met our criteria - things we wanted that might be relevant were:
    - on a municipal road rather than a privately managed resort area, therefore no management fees and fast, free snow clearing
    - in decent condition as we don't have the DIY ability or enthusiasm for major renovation
    - somewhere that should sell again should we need to. Don't want to end up stuck with an unusual house that won't sell (e.g. too big, really strange layout, deep in a forest where the roads aren't cleared in winter/get washed away in typhoons)

    I guess our circumstances are different to most people reading this as we live here permanently so don't have to worry about management in our absence. But hopefully there's something in my ramblings to provide food for thought.
     
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  15. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    One other thought - I've heard it is easy to get a mortgage to build a new house, but much more difficult (if not impossible) to get a mortgage for a second hand home. Not sure why, and probably doesn't affect overseas investors anyway.
     
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  16. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have been told that if the Japanese build they expect to live there for ever.

    Mortgages secured by property are very unlikely to be an option for an Aussie.
     
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  17. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    :cool:
     
  18. Hermannator

    Hermannator One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Any 'akiya bank' homes near snowfields?
     
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  19. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are many. Usually, an Akiya Bank is operated by the local government which want to utilize unused houses (and lands) + to increase the local population + to stimulate local economy, and Akiya Banks are not operated by private real estate agencies.

    Edit : Some Akiya Banks are operated by local government + local private real estate company.
     
    #69 Ramenman, Aug 20, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
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  20. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    A bit more about Akiya Banks (and private real estate agencies)

    If you buy a real estate which is 4 million Yen or less via a real estate agency, 180K Yen goes to the real estate agency.

    If you buy a real estate which is more expensive than 4 million Yen, 60K + 3% of the total price goes to the real estate agency.

    180K Yen = only 2.4K AUD. For most private real estate agencies, 180K Yen is quite small amount of money and they are not motivated to sell such cheap real estates. So, average real estate companies don't have a lot of used houses cheaper than 4 million Yen while Akiya Banks have many. For Akiya Banks (= for local government), more people utilizing the real estates in the regions is the goal, not making a profit. Some good business use lodges are in Akiya Banks too. This is one of them. It's in Urabandai Highland (= very snowy highland of 850m above sea level and there are many ski resorts in the vicinity).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Some people are buying old used houses (which are less than 4 million Yen) from Akiya Banks, and renovate the houses by themselves. It's very economical "if you have the skills", but I doubt many people here have the skills. Renovating an old house is very interesting, but doing it in a foreign country is not easy, and it'll be more difficult if you can't speak Japanese.

    Edit : Some Akiya Banks are operated by local government + local private real estate company.
     
    #70 Ramenman, Aug 20, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2020
  21. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I just want to say this is my favourite thread on the forum atm. I dip into it when I want to daydream of a different lifestyle. I have always had the dream of a place at the snow to be able to spend a few months or so a year when I retire. Also I’m very impressed with the really helpful advice being given so freely by those with local knowledge. Cheers all.
     
  22. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Iiyama city (Madarao area) akiya bank. Mostly dirt cheap. Scroll down to see the properties.

    https://furusato-iiyama.net/akiyabank/usedhouse/

    Prices are given in units of 万円 = JPY 10,000
    Therefore 200万円 (as in the first property) = JPY 2 million
     
  23. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Unless you own a Japanese company its VERY VERY difficult to get a mortgage of any type if you dont have PR. If you do qualify we have found we have been offered 10 year loans for older properties or 30 years for new builds.
     
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  24. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Absolutely and agree. My advice to build new was for owners that didnt live here. All our properties have been or are in the process of being renovated. I love the design aspect and looking forward to building our little winter apartment in October and our main abode next year (which we will rent out for 10 weeks over winter). Well that's the plan until my Mrs gets upset with all the moving. :)
     
  25. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Location location location. Its a pretty simple rule. How will you get there from the airport? If you plan to have guests pick ups and drop offs take time and all hours. I would want to be super close to a resort too so its easy to get guests there and back. Preferably walking/skiing distance if there isnt shuttles running. Where will you shop for supplies etc? Proximity to tradies, mechanics for when things go wrong. etc etc etc.

    Dont discount the value in having other english speaking neighbors too. Not only may they provide advice but are good to talk after being with only your family for extended periods. ;)

    In addition if you like a beer with dinner my other bit of advice is buy somewhere you can walk to Izakaya etc etc. The drink driving laws here are strict and its straight to jail then the immigration detention centre the home never to return if you get caught. One beer and you can be done.

    Just a little more food for thought :)
     
  26. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    I did a 'drive through' this area on Streetview this afternoon. A typical cookie cutter forest retreat area that were all the rage in the bubble time. Lots of places there looking empty/abandoned. Which, once again, is perfectly normal. After the bubble burst it became too expensive or people simple didn't want to go to their cabin/lodge in the mountains anymore. If you like the hermit type lifestyle you'll be fine but it can get tired very quick. REDRUM. Lot of sense in what Lucky Pete is saying.

    Even for residents mortgages/loans are not necc. easy. Very frustrating.

    I should put some information together on this kind of thing and charge money for it. Wait, I already do that... :whistle:
     
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  27. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Haha, actually, Japan made too many ski resorts, too many golf courses, etc during bubble economy era. And even without the bubble economy, Japan would have too many of them. Bubble economy = 30 years ago. 70+ years old people now were 40+ years old. 70+ years old people were born during baby boom era after the world war 2. 2.5 million babies were born per year about 70 years ago now only 1 million. The people who are 70+ years old now were buying those mountain lodges in 80s and 90s. Now, smaller number of 30+ & 40+ years old people, no wonder, a lot of lodges are abandoned. That said, some highland villages are doing very well recently. I'd say Urabandai highland is one of them. The population of Tokyo has been growing even now and it's relatively close to Tokyo, so we recently see many young people all year around. Not only that, a lot of Asian tourists have started rushing to Zao Onsen (for mainly Juhyo), and the highland (Urabandai) is somewhere between Tokyo and Zao.
     
  28. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    Well, thanks for sending me down that rabbit hole.... lots to look at there, but this one really caught my eye.

    https://furusato-iiyama.net/a147/

    Nice looking place in a pretty area. I could definitely afford to buy it, but whether I could afford to actually live there is another question entirely.

    Do they really run indoor fireplaces with no chimneys? How does that work?

    [​IMG]





    Do you guys know of any Akiya Bank websites for the Morioka/Kitikami area?
     
  29. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    That place looks COLD!!!!! Dont forget snow clearing is a key concern. Once you have got your car to the road not all roads are equal and some dont get cleared until well into the morning. Been down that road.....
     
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  30. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    They both have akiya banks, but the web pages aren't so user friendly. You have to look at each area individually - Kitakami has an interactive map while for Morioka you have to click the numbered options on the left (and then you need to open the pdf link to see the properties). Not a bad idea in principle but many of the areas have no properties!

    Morioka: http://www.city.morioka.iwate.jp/kurashi/sumai/akiya/1001725.html
    Kitakami: https://kitakami-akiya.net/map/

    Edit: Morioka's is basically useless.
     
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  31. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  32. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    Big old bonfire in the pit should keep the place toasty warm enough!

    I would hope that the road to the 富倉地区活性化センター(富倉地区公民館), just round the corner, would be high on the plowman's route. But I am sure to wrong about that!

    The clearing of the snow is the only part of this crazy scheme that I have had actual useful experience. A lifetime of living in the snowbelt and 25 years of snowmaking has honed my snow moving skills to a fine edge indeed.

    Outside of that though, I admit that I am fairly useless...
     
  33. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    According to Google map,

    it's 20 min drive from the house to Madarao ski resort, 30 mins to Nozawa Onsen, 30 min to Akakura Onsen (Myoko), etc.
    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/Mad...6a395cd6df!2m2!1d138.3156134!2d36.9115166!3e0

    I don't know how long it actually takes in winter, though.
     
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  34. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    Ok, that dog is hilarious...
     
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  35. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    From looking at the pictures, I would guess that the irori in that house didn't see much use. The ropes holding everything together over the irori have no smoke or soot marks on them. Actually, I'm not sure how the smoke doesn't just end up in that long upstairs room with the windows overlooking the rooms downstairs.

    Are irori used for both heating and cooking, or mainly just for cooking?
     
  36. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Even if the house has a second floor, there isn't a room over the irori room for ventilation (unless the house has a modern ventilation system). I've been to many houses with irori, I never felt it's smoky at all. Like the picture below, Irori only makes the ceiling wood pillars black with soot, but most people who choose to have irori find the soot covered wood pillars "cool = good looking".
    [​IMG]


    I'd say Irori is mainly for cooking + dining + illumination & BGM for creating relaxing & romantic atmosphere, rather than heating nowadays.
     
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  37. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I drive almost past this regularly when I go to Arai or Joetsu on Route 292.The road there is nice and wide. Further down it gets a bit narrow - single lane in places. The road cutting across to Route 97 is steep in spots with some tight turns. Both roads gets cleared regularly.

    Looks in good condition but would be a very cold house in winter.

    Would truly be Japanese with no westerners around though.

    We have a pit with rocks in the first basement and I am now wondering if it is in effect an irori. We have neve been able to work out what it is for.
     
  38. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I googled about the house a bit further. The owner says he or she renovated the kitchen, bathroom and toilet recently, so the condition is good. The owner says there is a snowy narrow road on the way to the house, so small 4WD car is the best. And, judging from the black pillars covered with soot, the owner has been using the irori often, I guess.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And it seems the owner used to have a small lodge business there. Look at the green sign in the picture below. It's a sign of "emergency exit". Family use houses don't have the signs but business use ones are required to have the signs. Not only that, the house has business use fire alarms too, not family use ones.
    [​IMG]

    You see a red siren light in the picture below. It's a business use fire alarm.
    [​IMG]
     
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  39. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    And the owner says the price is all the furniture included. Snow-melting system is equipped with the roof = no need to clear the snow off the roof. The house has a remote storehouse as well. Nothing needs to be renovated / repaired. 6.8 million Yen sounds veeeery cheap (6.8 million Yen is about 90K AUD).
     
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  40. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    I agree it is indeed cheap but my view is its cheap because its kinda no where. Likely 30- 45mins in winter to a skijo and same distance to shops etc. Fine if you want to live in BF nowhere but not a viable option as holiday or rental property in my opinion.
     
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  41. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, it's hard to even give houses away in those kind of locations.
     
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  42. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    For someone like me, 20 - 30 min drive is a very daily thing (sort of short drive for me), so I don't mind the location in that it's close to 3 popular ski resort regions (Madarao, Nozawa Onsen and Myoko). That said, the location is surely one of the main reasons of the cheap price and people like me are less than 10%. If you can attract the 10% people, the house can be a good choice (but again, I also think 80 - 90% dislike the location). My family and I have some lodges in some ski resort villages. One of them is in Urabandai Highland. There are 8 or 9 ski resorts in the region but the closest ski resort from my lodge is 15 min drive or so. 15 min to Nekoma, 15 min to Grandeco, 30 min to Minowa, etc. Near our lodge, a new veeeeery expensive lodge opened in recent years and the lodge is very popular now. The lodge below is nearly 70,000 Yen per night and not near a ski resort (20 min drive) but popular in all year around. If there is abundant snow and if you can offer some special experiences, some people will like the house (not an easy location for business, though). Not easy, but even if you fail, you won't lose that much money because the house is veeeeeeeery cheap. The house has only 3 bed rooms. First floor has one big irori room + 2 bed rooms. Second floor has one bed room (owner's room). If you use the house as a business, you'll focus on only one or two group of customers everyday, offering special irori dining experience. Don't get me wrong, I'm not promoting the house but I'm just promoting all real estates in Japanese ski resort regions:p


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    The room has an irori table.
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    #93 Ramenman, Aug 23, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
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  43. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    This is the image that confuses me. The beams are blackened with soot but, neither the ropes binding the beams nor the ceiling above it have any soot on them. Perhaps this is part of the renovations...
     
  44. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    Yeah, but luckily for me, I am definitely a middle of nowhere type of guy. I currently live deep in the woods, about 20-30 minutes from town depending on the weather.

    Having 5-6 ski areas in less than an hour would be a huge plus for me. Right now I only have 2 smaller ski areas near me and I would have to drive 3-6 hours to get to the decent sized resorts in the Adirondacs or New England.
     
  45. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    I am trying to understand how these land banks work. It appears that they offer a subsidy to people who purchase these properties. So, is the price that I am seeing listed the subsidized price, or is the subsidy applied to the listed price?
     
  46. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I guess the owner bought the blackened beams / pillars to make the room look more "traditional" / "good looking". I mean, traditionally, irori was used for heating too and firewood is used for heating. Firewood makes a bigger smoke = the woods get blackened easily. As I wrote in a previous post, nowadays, irori is mainly for cooking + dining + illumination & BGM for creating relaxing & romantic atmosphere, rather than heating. Usually, charcoals are used for that purpose, not firewood. Charcoals don't make smoke (a lot smokeless compared to firewood) and wood pillars / beams don't get blackened (much). Wood pillars / beams blackened by soot (irori) are popular, so the blackened wood pillars / beams which used to be used in traditional Japanese houses are sold.
     
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  47. m2711c

    m2711c One of Us

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    Thank you for the explanation. that makes sense.
     
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  48. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The 6.8 million Yen is "without subsidy". Iiyama city says the subsidy for buying used houses in Iiyama city is 0.8 million Yen "at the maximum", but unless you live there or have a serious business by use of the real estate, I assume you won't get any subsidy (each Akiya Bank has different subsidy rules). Even without a subsidy, it's cheap (6.8 million Yen)
     
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  49. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Kitakami city is in southern Iwate Prefecture, and Kitakami has only Geto Kogen. There are many good ski resorts and good mountains for backcountry skiing in northern Iwate. The tourists from abroad who visit Geto Kogen usually visit ski resorts in northern Iwate too such as Appi Kogen. So, if I were you, I would look for a lodge in northern Iwate, somewhere between Morioka and Appi Kogen. Appi Kogen is the northernmost ski resort of Iwate Pref, and there are a lot of ski resorts between Morioka and Appi Kogen. Here is the map. Red = Appi Kogen. Blue = other ski resorts. Anywhere in Yellow is a good location to own a lodge. I like the purple area and there are many both business use lodges and family use lodges in the purple. It's about 40+ min drive(if you use a highway) to Morioka(the capital of Iwate Prefecture) and 20 min drive to Appi Kogen. There are two ski resorts and good backcountry terrains within 1 - 10 min drive. Ski resorts such as Shizukuishi, Amihari and Iwate Kogen are also short drive. Tazawako is a bit far, but still it can be a day trip distance.


    Watch this video. You'll see a used lodge for sale. As you can see, the condition is quite good (recently renovated, so there is no need for renovation at all) but it's only 8.9 million Yen = About 117K AUD. In the video below, the real estate agency's guy is driving from Morioka station to the lodge. It's in the purple in the map above.


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    And it's actually "relatively large" for the price. 15.5 tatami mat sized bed room, 20 tatami mat sized bed room and 32 tatami mat sized living dining kitchen.
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    Appi Kogen this year



    I've already shown quite many videos filmed in the region in the thread "Latest ski & tourism news", so I will stop here:p.

    Edit:
    It seems it's only 7.9 million Yen now(= about 100K AUD), it was 8.9 million Yen when I first noticed it was for sale and when the Youtube video was made(the video says 8.9 million Yen but the website has got updated and now it's 7.9 million Yen). Because of COVID-19 or something?, it has got even cheaper now.
     
    #100 Ramenman, Aug 24, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020