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Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ramenman, Sep 14, 2018.
Japan maps out how to begin accepting foreign travelers
Sorry Ramenman, maybe i'm misunderstanding here - but this man spent 40 million yen on renovations but only sold it for 10 million yen?!
You are not misunderstanding.
Similar cases are happening in Japan recently. I mean, in recent years, tourists from abroad to Japan have been increasing rapidly, and people like him keep buying real estates and renovating them to open as guest houses / pensions which are targeting foreign tourists. Actually, I heard a similar case personally near our business area (Tohoku) too. A young Japanese man owned two lodges targeting foreign tourists and the both lodges were attracting a lot of tourists. So, he recently bought the third lodge and renovated it. When he bought & renovated the third lodge, he didn't have enough cash, so he borrowed from a bank. Then COVID-19 hit. In order to save the other two lodges, he needs to sell his third lodge. If the owner needs cash immediately, the owner sometimes needs to discount the lodge drastically.
This is the news reported today (it mentions his case too. He spent 40 million Yen for renovation sold it for 10 million Yen).
By the way, in this thread last year, I wrote some 30 year old ski lodges near Zao Onsen - Zao Liza World with about 8 guest rooms + 2 owners rooms. One of them was only 12 million Yen before COVID-19 hit. I wonder how much the lodge is now.
Interesting I will look into it, I did not know about those Koshu grapes. I am pretty casual wine drinker but since I do drink a lot I been buying quite a few local wines, also tried few wineries that are close for just tasting. Yamanashi was a business trip where we got taken to some supposedly good winery
Eating grapes in Japan are amazing. Expensive but so good. Also apples! I can see why orchards would be fun to visit. They should start making some apple brandy, would be really popular with bus tours I think.
Wine from Japan is hit and miss which tends me to not explore. The french wines here are the same. They send too much bad stuff here. Australia have export standards as I am guessing the US does. Chile is new world so you can usually back it as drinkable. The problem with a lot of J wines is that it is undrinkable, down the sink type, Not even good enough in a bolognese. I have been to some wineries and they have no idea what they are doing. On a positive note the Northern Alps Winery in Omachi has been doing some great wines. We have had there chardonnay on our list for 3 years now. They did a really nice pinot last year. All their wines are very drinkable. We also have a Diamond Winery koshu from Yamanashi. I rate it highly. There is an American wine maker who just planted vines in Shiojiri. He is fastidious and will no doubt produce some good stuff in a few years time. Do some research and you should be able to taste some nice wines. Buy blind and the odds are against you.
When you choose "proper" Japanese wines, you need to understand two things.
First (the most important) : Don't buy "fake wines"
Wine law was first made in Japan in 2015 and it came into effect in October of 2018. Till October 2018, alcohol beverages which couldn't be called wines in Europe were called wines in Japan. 90% wines in Japan are actually not wines(they are fake wines). Japan import "concentrated grape juice", and make "fake wines" by use of the grape juice and alcohol (they can't be called wines in Europe, Australia, etc because of wine related laws). So, the first point is, you must not choose "fake wines".
Second : Choose wines made from proper grape species native to Japan.
Even if you grow grape species which are popular and highly rated as wine grape species in Europe, they won't grow well in Japan because the climates there and here are very different. So, even if they are "real" wines made from the grape species which are popular in Europe, etc, it's difficult for the wines to become tasty in Japan(can be, but not easy). Japanese wines which are highly rated are usually wines made from Koshu, Muscat Bailey A, Black Queen, and several others native to Japan (I can't remember the names, but they are also native to Japan).
Conclusion : Choose wines on which 日本ワイン is written.
It's a bit confusing. A new wine law came into effect in October 2018, but still fake ones can be called wines in Japan. But only "real wines" can say / write "日本ワイン". 日本 = Japan, ワイン = Wine. The image below explains about it. I know most people here can't read Japanese. But anyway, don't choose fake wines.
That said, I don't have a proper tongue /taste for wines(and I'm not a wine expert at all)
Edit : This explains about the new wine law which came into effect October 2018.
Today, local media are reporting that Hanwha Group(it's a Korean company) have announced they will open two hotels in Niseko region, and one of them will open in 2023. So, COVID-19 is not enough to stop investments coming to Niseko!?
Hanwha Group : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanwha_Group
Another Niseko related news is, JA Yotei was looking for 20 people who work in their farms(JA = Japan Agriculture), then 82 foreigners applied for the jobs. It means a lot of foreigners are stranded in Niseko due to COVID-19 and they are looking for jobs in Niseko region.
There's a line in there that I think will probably be the way international travel starts again:
"The government will also study how other countries are reopening their borders. In China, for example, arrivals must possess a certificate that shows they have undergone a PCR examination and have tested negative for the virus within 72 hours of departure. They must be reexamined upon arrival. If they test negative again, they can skip a 14-day quarantine period."
I hope we get some version of this to allow travel for the next season.
:O I think I spend that much on alcohol each season
my $ spent for last season is embarrassingly huge.
Then, I assume you never drink cheap Chuhai such as Strong Zero
Same......Grape juice! Not good.
Japan does lotsa stuff very good, wine has not been one of them IMO. Hopefully improving.
Ok that explains a lot, a lot of “wine” does taste like juice :o
Yep, those fake wines should be called "Grape Chuhai", rather than wine.
Actually, Yamagata Pref is a bit famous for wineries and there are two or three highly rated wineries relatively near Zao Onsen along the highway.
Sakai Winery : http://www.sakai-winery.jp/
Takeda Winery : http://www.takeda-wine.co.jp/
Takahata Winery : https://www.takahata-winery.jp/
Not sure if you like their wines but I enjoy visiting local wineries, sake breweries, craft beer breweries, etc near ski resorts. Trying local foods and drinks is a big part of travelling for me, so I enjoy the experiences, rather than tastes
Yoichi village near Kiroro, Hokkaido is famous for whiskey, but the region has some highly rated wineries too such as Domaine Takahiko.
Japanese government will possibly be offering travel subsidies to entice tourists back
Oooo take me take me.
Get in line Skifree
Appropriately socially distanced line, while wearing a mask and stinking of hand sanitiser.
And not talking, even quietly, particularly in a train.
Japanese 'murder hornets' are apparently attracted to the smell of hand sanitiser. Just saying...
So you think that an Ozzie is going to be scared off by a pissy murder hornet??? We eat them for breakfast.
I wonder if it becomes a bit more reasonable or a bit more expensive for tourists from abroad to travel Japan in the next ski reason. For people living in Japan, it'll be more reasonable in that Japanese government and each prefectural government are planning to distribute travel coupons. But, they'll be distributed to only residents in Japan (they won't be distributed to foreigners living abroad). I assume most highways will become for free in that I often see it when a disaster hits the region. For example, when the gigantic earthquake and Tsunami hit Tohoku region, highways in Tohoku and highways to Tohoku became for free to support Tohoku's tourism industry.
I wonder if international flights can be cheaper during the next ski season. Less people fly = less demand = the price will go down?. But I think it's not that simple.
Oh, you eat them?. By the way, Japan have the world's biggest hornets called "Japanese Giant Hornet" or "Asian Giant Hornet". They kill Japanese people the most among all animals and insects. Fortunately, I have never seen them around my house nor ski lodges. I guess they prefer hotter places and our places are a bit too cool / cold for them. It seems they have landed in the UShttps://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/05/asian-giant-hornets-arrive-united-states/
Yes, they were the ones I was making fun about. They are calling them 'murder hornets' in the US.
I see it going both ways, but maybe cheaper in the end.
value of numbers won't be in effect, so flights/etc will be more expensive.
but people desperate to fill flights/seats/slots/etc will have everything cheaper.
Local media are reporting that a skier's body was found on Mt.Okenashi (It's Lotte Arai's mountain) today. The condition of the body is too bad, and police couldn't tell the age, gender, etc of the body but they could tell at least he or she was a skier from the gears.
Actually, a skier has been missing in Zao as well (A Chinese skier went missing around the peak of one of Zao mountains in early February and his body has not been found yet).
bugger, at least found in the end.
strange they couldn't identify him. id, passport, phone, rental skis, description and color of gear, etc, everyone is pretty unique combination. maybe its one of those we're 99% sure but want to wait for loved ones first.
I don't ski with my wallet or id anymore because bulge in pocket was damaging my ski pants because I ski so close to trees. maybe I should bring something tho, considering the extra exposure I take each day, I expect I'll probably go out this way.
Yeah, worth it.
My ski pass (yours too) would identify you.
I don’t tend to take it out of my jacket when I do a bc day, but if I use different jacket I often will chuck a drivers licence in a pocket.
Morbid maybe but once a Girl Guide always a girl guide.
The conversation above is from the thread "COVID-19 in Japan", but I think it's better to talk about it here.
As I wrote in this thread, I assume the travel coupons from Japanese government and each prefectural government are only distributed to the people living in Japan now. The travel coupons will surely help hotels and business owners of each tourist destinations, but it doesn't help tourism agencies directly much that organize package tours. So, another subsidy will come to support those tourism agencies. But, I think most people on this forum don't use package tours to ski in Japan (many first timer Asian tourists use such package tours, though).
I think transportation expenses can be discounted for you. When Japanese government try to help tourism industry after a disaster hits the region, highways often become for free to make more people visit the region. And, flight tickets might be discounted as well. Due to COVID-19, the number of tourists from abroad to Japan last month shrunk by 99.9%(only 1/1000) compared to April of 2019. So, subsidy will come to Japanese airline companies too(they surely need public supports). As a result, JAL, ANA, etc can offer you cheaper flight tickets. And if international flight tickets to Japan become cheaper, more tourists from abroad will visit Japan and it's what Japanese government want now(for example, each Japanese airline offers you 20% discounts and the 20% discounts come from the budget of Japanese government's "Visit Japan Campaign", and those tourists from abroad will spend money in Japan, so subsidy for Japanese airlines to offer you discounted international flight tickets is good for Japanese economy in the end)
Reportedly, the body was wearing black ski boots and a woman with black ski boots has been missing since March 2019. Her husband told the local police that she went missing at Lotte Arai and she was wearing black ski boots. Supposing it's really the woman, she was there for 14 months. No wonder the condition is very bad. The body was found about 2.5km away from a ski slope of Lotte Arai. Lotte Arai is a very snowy ski resort and it makes Lotte Arai "killer mountain".
How the prices on hotels doing with this business slow down? Do you have any more tempting leads? I love looking at them and dreaming about owning one. It would definitely be an interesting way to spend the first half of my retirement.
Some hotels are very discounted due to COVID-19 but it's because the owners need cash / money immediately. In the long run, inbound tourism in Japan will grow, so, "most" real estates in popular destinations for foreigners (such as Niseko) aren't discounted much in that the owners can expect more tourists to come in the future (it's just my guess and I actually don't know much about the real estate prices in Hokkaido now).
A lot of 30+ years old ski lodges have been closing in Tohoku and a lot of owners are looking for new owners. They can be hugely discounted because a lot of them want cash sooner to prepare for their retirement life. That said, in most ski resort villages in Tohoku, you'll be the first "foreign" business owner and I think most people don't like that(I guess a lot of people want English speaking foreigner's community). Tohoku has very interesting mountains for skiing / snowboarding, but when it comes to ski resort with a relatively big base village in Tohoku, I'd say it's only Zao Onsen. Recently, I see foreigners have started buying real estates in and around Zao Onsen. If you want to own a ski lodge in a ski resort village in Tohoku where there is a relatively big English speaking foreigners's community, I can only come up with Zao Onsen(Appi, Aizu region, etc will grow too, I guess, though).
Niigata and Nagano ( = Major ski prefectures in Honshu), I don't know much about the real estates there now. And, when it comes to Hokkaido, you can use English speaking local agencies (they cover Niseko, Furano, etc).
FYI Appi Kogen is owned by the same people that own Madarao. Whilst it is a Japanese company the actual owners are Chinese.
Being the first completely foreign business owner in an area is "interesting", hard work and not for the feint hearted.
BTW not all snow tourists want night clubs and bars. But having a few restaurants helps. The issue for many westerners with many of the Japanese resorts is there being a big hotel with no other options. And the other issue is being allowed of piste.
Not sure if you are aware but I own 2 lodges in Niigata. both are very close to the border of Nagano.
The whole area is very snowy. My lodges are further up the valley. Doesn't help that people break rules and do dumb things.
Sorry a semi bump - having been to Japan (Hakuba) this year (Feb) for the first time, I like to follow what’s happening - especially as I got home @ End of Feb just Before The lock down began.
Just saying that today I saw ‘my’ TV ad for a Japanese ski resort - at least for the Forthcoming season.
The resort was Tomamu - it looked quite funky, even if the tall twin hotel towers dominate The front side.
Is this a good place to ask ‘Regulars’ about opinions of Tomamu for families/ experienced skiers (tele) and especially views of easily accessible sidecountry / BC?
BTW: I recall someone from the ski.com community has connections or interest in a BC lodge somewhere in the area. Looked quite funky too!
I guess another question / comment while bumping: Is there any more internal goss/ info as the likelihood of flights to Japan & resorts reopening for winter 20/21? - perhaps by Feb/March?
Cheers - Sorry for the interjection. (Maybe we’ll ‘need’ a ‘Japan BC‘ forum if popularity increases?)
Speaking of Appi Kogen, there are a few reasons for which I think they will grow. One of the reasons is a British public school Harrow School will open in Appi Kogen in 2022 (only two years from now). I heard the tuition is 3 million Yen or more per year (not sure it is accurate or not, though). As you mentioned , the new "real" owners of Appi Kogen Resort are veeeery rich Chinese investors. Super rich Chinese people tend to want to educate their kids outside China. Majority of the students will be the children from super rich parents from Asia, mainly China. The land of the school is 100,000 square metres and school buildings and facilities will be constructed soon in Appi Kogen. 2022 = Harrow School opening in Appi + Winter Olympics in China = big invests will come to Appi
Harrow School : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrow_School
A lot of international flights have started flying between local airports in Tohoku and some Asian countries. Near Morioka (the capital city of Iwate Prefecture) between Appi and Geto Kogen, there is a local airport (Hanamaki Airport). The airport used to have only domestic flights, but since 2018, international flights have started flying between Taiwan, and since 2019, international flights between Shanghai have started flying. More international flight are coming to the local airport.
In Appi - Hachimantai region, there are very good mountains for backcountry skiing / snowboarding. So, more advanced skiers / snowboarders from Western countries will come too. In the long run, Shinkansen will reach Kutchan (Niseko). Then, more people will ski both Niseko and Aomori (Hakkoda / Mt.Iwaki) - Appi / Hachimantai - Geto Kogen, etc in one ski travel.
The video below was filmed this season (2019 - 2020) in Appi - Hachimantai region. As you may know, 2019 - 2020 season was the worst season in decades (the least snowiest in the last 50 years or more).
No need to apologise. Start a thread asking what you want to know. Then all the info is in one place. I don't know much about Tomamu explicitly but be aware that the purely Japanese resorts, i.e. the ones with a big hotel and nothing else. are not keen on people even going of piste let alone further afield. Some of them are in National Parks so they cannot cut down any trees. And those lovely areas clear of trees, well that often means they are avalanche prone.
There is already quite a lot of discussion about BC in the Japan setion. Just start a thread asking what you want to know or giving info.
If there aren't flights by then a lot of people, including me, will have some serious problems. The resorts will open as there is no reason not to. Madarao has reopened for summer activities even though the big 50km run they do along the Shinetsu trail has been cancelled.
Did not know that. mmmm Interesting.
Would not be surprised if tuition was higher than that. I am sure some of the Aus schools cost more than that.
Hi @snowgum, we have a lodge at Tomamu. Ski.com link here. https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/alpine-backcountry-lodge-tomamu-now-open.86107/ Tomamu BC IMO is the great sleeper. Superb terrain and snow. You'll see plenty of pics on this thread of Tomamu BC. https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/furano-asahi-dake-tokachi-kamui-tomamu-2020.85905/
Plenty of people on here have skied the resort so can let you know. The side country is very good. Ill leave others to comment on families etc but IMO a good family resort. As for winter 20/21, wish I bl...dy knew! Ive read some goss about Japan slowly opening up inbound flights for certain categories around July but also locals here are expressing a concern about an autumn 3rd wave (apparently we've already had our second wave) but you'll find more info on the Japan Covid thread. We opted to stay here (Japan) and I am feeling confident of some travel opening up but very much a wait and see game at the moment. Personally I'm going into decision making mode in about mid September, when we'll have a clearer picture on many fronts. I think if it does open up it will be very lats minute.
Off piste at Tomamu is not a problem, with appropriate systems in place to allow access. The resort is surrounded by forest, not national park, with unique open glades, no need to cut down trees. All BC skiers should be avi prepared anywhere in the BC, but Tomamu, despite the one avi death that has occurred off piste there, is a generally very safe area. Anyone who wants details on that feel free to PM me for accurate information.
There is usually a Japan 2021 thread up about this time of year, guess we shall continue to post here until we know more?
You could use this thread:
I've updated the title to make it a bit more generic.
It’s an announcement that sounds almost too good to be true.
But under a bold tourism plan to lure visitors back to Japan, the government has launched a new campaign that will help offset travel costs for visiting tourists.
According to The Japan Times, Hiroshi Tabata, the head of the Japan Tourism Agency, said the $18.2 billion plan hopes to attract foreigners by offering to subsidise half of their travel expenses.
The $18 billion project hopes to lure travellers back to Japan, who were supposed to host the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo this year.Source:istock
While little detail of the program has been announced, the government says it could be in place as early as July (despite travel bans to Japan still in place).
The announcement follows Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifting the state of emergency in Tokyo and four other areas where it was still in place.
Mr Abe said the lifting of the state of emergency did not mean the pandemic was over, however was in response to the country’s success in battling the coronavirus. To date, the country of 126 million people has had only 16,433 infections and 784 deaths.
Japan was at the centre of one of the first big outbreaks outside China, when the coronavirus swept through the Diamond Princess.
A total of 3711 passengers and crew members were trapped on board as the virus spread quickly. When the Diamond Princess arrived into Yokohama on February 3, 2666 passengers – including 1281 Japanese nationals – and 1045 crew members were aboard. Of them, 705 had the virus.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has lifted the state of emergency in Tokyo and four other areas.Source:istock
Just last month, Sicily, located off the south of Italy, opened a similar program to lure visitors back to the island.
The offers, first reported by The Times, will be available on the island’s tourism website.
Essentially, for every three nights you stay at a hotel, they will cover one of them, along with museum and archaeological entry tickets.
The government will use €50 million ($84.6 million) to fund the scheme, with losses of €1 billion ($1.6 billion) reported from March and April.
I have seen this in sooo many places and it concerns me that it is misinformation. Yet to see any details that indicate that the tourism subsidies apply to anything but domestic tourism. There are quite a few people with lodges in Japan who will be promoting this if we can take advantage of it.
Disagree. There are absolutely shite wines made here due to the simple reason of so called wine makers not knowing what they are doing. That can mean the wrong grapes but they wouldn't even know that.
Well, I think many of them know what they are doing, I mean, they are "intentionally" making "fake wines" for two reasons.
Reason one : Wine is a kind of "acquired taste".
I think most kids don't highly rate wines (they prefer grape juice, not wines) because wine is a kind of acquired taste.
Reason two : Fake wines are "less costly" to produce.
Conclusion : Traditionally, sake, shochu, chuhai, beer, etc usually come ahead of wine here in Japan and I guess there are less number of people in Japan who highly appreciate "real wines". Not many people appreciate real wines and fake wines are more profitable (less costly to produce), hence many manufacturers "intentionally" make fake wines.
What's happening recently :
Things are changing rapidly in recent years. Look at the Japanese whiskey's case. Actually, "Cheap / fake whiskey" was more profitable just like fake wines. I heard and read 1970 - 1990 was a kind of whiskey boom. Whiskeys were well sold but they were mainly cheap whiskeys (sort of "fake whiskeys") targeting "fake whiskey fans". The whiskey boom ended and a lot of whiskey manufacturers suffered a lot. Then, they started targeting serious whiskey fans in Japan and abroad. 10 - 30 years have passed since then, Japanese whiskeys are highly rated in the world. Similar things are happening to wines and beers. The population of Japan has started shrinking and people don't drink alcohol as much as they used to + wine manufacturers saw Japanese whiskey's international success = they started targeting "real wine" fans in Japan and abroad. As I wrote above, for Japanese, traditionally, alcohol beverages meant sake. But recently, Japanese people drink other alcohol beverages and a lot of sake manufactures have started producing craft beers, wines, etc as well. Some of them are highly rated, but different climates and different soils = different tastes, so high quality doesn't always mean similar tastes to wines produced in "wine countries" = Europe, etc. It might be like comparing the best quality orange and the best quality apple (both can be great in different ways).
Today, local media are reporting about travel coupons (Japanese government are planning some subsidies for tourism industry now and the travel coupon is one of them). The travel coupons will be distributed and become valid from late July. The coupons cover the half of your travel expenses (but max = 20,000 Yen per night). It's for people living in Japan now. Some media guess a subsidy(ies) which help(s) Japan attract more tourists from abroad will come too, but not sure it will actually happen or not(mass media basically like rumoring = they like making fake news).
It's just my guess, but I think Japan will restart accepting business men and students in summer (maybe, mid July - mid August) and start accepting tourists in Autumn (September - November).
I knew about "fake beer". but not about the other fakes.
I am not a whisky drinker but some that are tell me the best value for money is the Nikka Black stuff that is less than 1000 yen for 700ml in 7/11. So I went looking for a picture and ....well I am picking my jaw up off the floor because it seems it is super expensive in Aus. WTF? The mark up is way more than excise and tax. Over $100 or have I completely got the wrong stuff?
Then for those of you who are not aware of this the cheap stuff that looks like beer is not actually beer. It is beer flavoured alcohol.
Yep, there are also "fake beers" in Japan, but it's actually a lot different from the fake wine's case. "Fake wines" have been widely available because there wasn't a wine law in Japan till 2018 (= quite recently), and it was not very easy for average consumers (= not real wine fans) to know which were real wines and which were fake wines. Now, you can differentiate it from what is written on the wine bottle, but still, quite a lot of Japanese people don't even know the new wine law, and they (= non-real wine fans) still buy fake wines without noticing.
Fake beer is the opposite. There has been a beer law. If it's a "real beer", the beer tax is imposed. In order to evade beer tax, manufacturers make fake beers = cheap beers. Almost all Japanese consumers know they are fake beers, and some of them intentionally choose fake beers because they are more economical (= with lower tax). The image below explains the taxes on "real beer" and "fake beers".