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Latest ski & tourism news

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ramenman, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Be interesting to see if the Covid outbreak alters plans or not. Our apartments were going to have a summer bathroom upgrade, and potentially new lounges (finally), but I have heard nothing. Personally I feel if there is no chance of renting it out then now is a great time to get on and do the renovations. Especially if other things are closed down and people are looking for work. They can work solo doing the tiling and stuff, and can stay in the apartments they are doing up, so really easy to isolate. But so far it’s all been delayed.
     
  2. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I confirmed what they were saying in this January.

    The ski resort was supposed to open till the first week of May and they were planning to stop the quad lift running and get some runs closed from April 4th in order to replace the quad lift with a new 6 seater. So, their plan as of January = the new 6 seater lift and the 10 seater gondola are running from next season (2020 - 2021 season).

    [​IMG]
     
  3. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    They were both for Hanazono.
    I think @Any was asking about the Ace Quad at Grand Hirafu
     
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  4. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oops, my bad, Gomen nasai:oops:
     
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  5. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Was racking my brain what スノーパル (in the image) could mean, turns out it's 'snow pal'
     
  6. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    スノーパル is "snow + pal" as you mentioned:)(Katakana words might be a bit confusing and Japanese language is full of borrowed words including "スノーパル = Snowpal":p)

    Snowpal is Tobu Railway's winter time express between Asakusa and Aizu Kogen (where there are Takatsue ski resort and Daikura ski resort). If you use Snowpal, the hotels, lift tickets, etc are discounted. Snowpal leaves Asakusa (Tokyo) at 23:55 and arrives in Aizu Kogen in early morning (So, you can save the expense of an accommodation). This is Takatsue ski resort.


    New Snowpal (new one started running last year).
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oops, I forgot to add. This 31 year old lodge with 10 guest rooms (+ a few more rooms for the owner) very near the base lift station of Takatsue ski resort is only 8 million Yen now;)(It's what the owner says, so it can be 7 million Yen or even less:whistle:)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Reportedly, ASEAN + 3 (+3 = Japan, China and South Korea) had a video conference yesterday and they talked about opening borders too. Opening the borders to tourists won't happen soon, but it's a good sign that they have already started talking about it at this stage. The population of ASEAN = 650 million, Japan = 120 million, China = 1.4 billion, Korea = 50 million. The total = about 2.2 billion. The political leaders of 2.2 billion people talking about opening the borders is surely a good sign:).
    [​IMG]


    And NHK is reporting the ministers of Foreign Affairs of Japan and NZ had a video meeting yesterday to talk about opening borders as well.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I have randomly written about cheap ski lodges for sale in this thread. Most of them are in Southern Tohoku because it's our main ski region and we own lodges there. But actually, I love Hachimantai region very much as well (it's in Nothern Tohoku and Hachimantai region = Appi, Shimokura, Amihari, Shizukuishi, Iwate Kogen, Mt.Iwate and some very good backcountry mountains). I think I have never written about ski lodges in Hachimantai area for sale. My stance here is, owning a ski lodge as a life-time hobby, so it should be very cheap one = 10 million + Yen. This 26 year old lodge very near Shimokura ski resort (which means, very near Appi, etc too) is 14 million Yen. The owner says the lodge is designed for 16 people, but the lodge has only 5 bed rooms. But, 5 bed rooms is enough for a small business in Tohoku, considering you might be able to buy the lodge around 10 million Yen. I mean, I noticed the lodge was for sale more than a year ago, and it means, I guess the owner is thinking it's a bit too expensive now and COVID-19 hit, so 10 million Yen might be okay for the owner (14 million is what the owner said initially and it must be negotiable now). The region is full of short hike great backcountry terrains. So, if you can work as an English speaking backcountry guide, a lot of advanced skiers from abroad will choose your lodge, I guess;)












     
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  10. Asama

    Asama Early Days

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    I guess the question is, how much more money would you have to put in in order to get it up and running again.

    I've just been through the process of buying a 2nd hand house. There are lots of crazy cheap places available, but you'd probably have to spend more than the price of the house just to make them livable. Decided against that option in the end (I don't have good taste/DIY skills).

    I guess your recommendation ↑↑ has a bit of a showa vibe, but from the photos it looks like it has been in use up until recently so at least stuff probably works...
     
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  11. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    You are very right.

    The condition is very important. I basically choose the ones whose conditions are not that bad. When it comes to the lodge above, seen from the outside, the condition looks good (and it's actually not that old in that it's 26 years old). Plus, the owner kept using the lodge till quite recently (or might be still using it sometimes even now), so the condition won't be bad inside too, I guess. I often walk in lodge areas of ski resorts at 7pm. All the lights off at 7pm in winter means the ski lodges are very likely to be closed now and I try to check how much they are now:D
     
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  12. Asama

    Asama Early Days

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    No photos of the guest bedrooms (unless you were selective in what you shared), which makes me suspect they will be rather "retro".

    A couple of friends bought and renovated this place - it started off as an old-style lodge with about 10 (maybe not quite that many?) small rooms. I would guess quite similar to the place you're talking about. They knocked it all together into two very large guest rooms. Their logic is that it makes more economic sense to look after a couple of higher-paying guests than 10 low-paying guests.
    https://ricca-inn.jp/
     
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  13. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I agree with you. I mean, I often see ski lodges in Tohoku which have 10 small guest rooms. If I were the owner, I would definitely renovate them to make it 5 bigger rooms. For example, 6 tatami sized room is small, and I would make 12 tatami sized room by renovating. Basically, having 5 good rooms is better than 10 cheap small rooms (especially when you own a ski lodge in Tohoku because it's not easy to make all the 10 rooms full).

    Or, I would jointly own the lodge with friends or family. I mean, If you don't have your own room, I think you might not feel it's your lodge. If you own the loge jointly with 2 other people, 3 owners's rooms and 7 guest rooms. Then, you can buy 30 million Yen lodge instead of 10 million yen lodge;).

    When it comes to the ski lodge above, the owner says 4 western rooms and 1 Japanese room but somehow, the owner has only uploaded a picture of the Japanese room. So, not sure what the Western rooms look like. This is the Japanese room. Well, please don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to sell the lodge. I just think ski lodge owners are the best "ambassadors" for the ski resort region and Japanese ski resorts need "foreign ambassadors" now. So, I just hope more people from abroad get interested in owning ski lodges here "as a life time hobby".



    By the way, if I were looking for a cheap lodge, I would choose a cheep lodge near a big ryokan / hotel. Renovating bath rooms can be costly. I would just renovate them into cheep shower rooms instead. I mean, most big ryokans / hotels in ski resort region let you use their onsen (and they are reasonable), so if my guests want better big onsen, I would tell them to go to the ryokan / hotel nearby. And, some hotels even let day trippers use their playrooms, bars, restaurants, etc as well.
     
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  14. Asama

    Asama Early Days

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    Love (or possibly hate) the oversize model car and antique wooden globe combo! No doubt left over from an era when that seemed like a good idea.
    I guess in a true ski resort, you are more or less guaranteed a steady flow of people throughout the winter, even with average accommodation. We're a bit far away from any "proper" ski slopes (I'm not a skier, but I am guessing the hill next to Karuizawa station doesn't count) so we don't really get that sort of winter traffic. So there's absolutely no chance in hell of filling a 10-room pension with crappy rooms, hence needing to aim for a different market...
     
  15. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I visited the link of Ricca(六花 = six flowers). It's a lovely inn:). And I envy you and your friends. It's in 1,200m above sea level, which means, when Tokyo is super hot = 33 C, it must be around 25 C there, not hot at all;). Japan's hot and humid summer + wearing a mask = the worst summer is coming now:(.

    Prince Hotel own a hotel and ski resort in Karuizawa (near Ricca) and it's very popular for Asian tourists now. For first timer Asian tourists who come to "see and touch snow", rather than to ski, the size and the snow quality of the ski resort doesn't matter much and the location (being close to Tokyo) is important. Plus, Karuizawa has a big outlet mall. Ricca is only 30 mins to the mall and only 40 mins to Asama 2000(a ski resort neaby on Mt.Asama). Mt.Asama is a tall mountain = 2,568m, must be fun all year around:).
     
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  16. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  17. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    WRT to Aussies buying and operating lodges in Japan, unless you have a Japanese partner or are somewhere already "settled" by Aussies or other gaijin it is hard work. There are obstacles that just don't exist in Aus. Finding tradies is a nightmare. And getting treated genuinely respectfully, not just people be respectful to your face, can be a huge problem. Some of the situations are much the same as I encounter in Aus. Being female and more technical than most men always adds another layer of obstacles to overcome. But some are unique to Japan, e.g. if you cannot do something just say no rather than saying yes to be polite and then not doing what you have been asked to do. And sometimes, but not always, change is a good thing.
    I really should revisit the thread I started on the Chalet Madarao renovations now we have made huge progress. It all became a bit overwhelming, code for sabotaged by the builder.
     
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  18. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It was reported the minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan and Australia had a video meeting yesterday to talk about it(how and when we should open the borders)


    My guess is,

    Business people = from July
    Students = from late August
    Tourists = from mid October (or my hope, rather than guess:p)

    What I wonder is, if tourists are required PCR tests twice (before and after flying), the travel might become more expensive than the previous year?
     
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  19. Jonkl

    Jonkl Hard Yards

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    But first of all, we need the Aus govt to lift the ban on travelling overseas.
     
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  20. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    More than happy to add the tests to the cost of travelling, and mask use while transiting. It’s pretty reasonable. As is recording and minimising contacts for the first week or two in the new country.
    If people aren’t prepared to beat that cost and extra level of responsibility then they can always stay at home and holiday in place.
     
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  21. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    And Japan
     
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  22. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, and the video meeting was for talking about lifting the ban between the two countries(how, when, with PCR tests, etc)
     
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  23. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    This is the polar opposite of my experience .
    I don't speak a word of Japanese , but I have had a great 10 years being involved with the local community .
     
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  24. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Today, Japanese media are reporting that rich Chinese people are buying Japanese ryokans discounted due to COVID-19.

    Here is the link (it's written only in Japanese, though).
    https://www.sankeibiz.jp/business/news/200606/bsd2006061906003-n1.htm

    There is no private ownership of land in China. Even if they own real estates, Chinese government can confiscate them. So, very rich Chinese people are motivated to own real estates outside China. Recently, I often hear Chinese people buying real estates in japan.
     
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  25. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Happens in Australia....
     
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  26. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It's June but some people still enjoy skiing now:p. This was filmed at Gassan ski resort this weekend (June 5th, 2020). Gassan is too snowy and it's closed in winter and opens in mid April - late June or early July. 2019 - 20 season was the least snowiest. It usually has more snow there.


    This was filmed in mid Apri in Gassan ski resort. Mid April = most ski resorts in Japan start closing while Gassan is opening.
     
  27. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Early Bird Season Pass email for KIRORO came out today.

    42,000yen (about $550AUD) for the base pass. Bit more for the premium pass with lots of lovely extras.

    This one piques my interest, but full details not up yet.



    The very good news is that if you commit to the pass and travel isn’t possible you can get it credited to the following year.

    I am seriously considering committing to a big season! I wonder if Japan will reconsider making people do a visa hop to extend to 180 days this year? Maybe ask them to come in to an immigration office for an interview and re-issue the next 90 days rather than requiring risky travel OUT of the country and extra Covid tests.
     
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  28. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    There's an Akakura local who runs a ski school and hotel. He packs up each April and runs classes in Gassan for a couple of months. EDIT: He's still going according to his Facebook.

     
    #2928 M_G, Jun 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
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  29. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yamagata Prefecture has official Youtube channel and Yamagata Prefecture has been uploading "Enjoy Yamagata" videos to attract more tourists. 10 days ago (May 30th, 2020), they uploaded a video related to backcountry skiing on Mt.Chokai. Along with Gassan, Mt.Chokai is very famous for late spring - early summer skiing destination for advanced backcountry skiers & snowboarders. Both are in Yamagata Prefecture, but a lot closer to Sea of Japan compared to Zao Onsen, etc, and it means a lot more snowy (might be the snowiest in Japan or even the world). And they are nicely tall mountains (Mt.Chokai = 2240m, Gassan = about 2000m). Edit : Mt.Chokai straddles Yamagata Pref and Akita Pref. As you can see in the video below, they use snowmobiles, so guests (you) don't need to hike!. That said, a driver for one guest, so I assume the backcountry tour is a bit expensive.


    Mt.Chokai, seen from Sea of Japan.
    [​IMG]

    This was filmed on Mt.Chokai in early May. They are skiing from 1635m. Mt.Chokai is 2240m, but it's a very long hike, so a lot of people ski from Shogadake (the 1635m ridge), etc instead of the highest peak. It's a big mountain, and there are a lot of different routes.


    This is near Shogadake (the 1635m ridge) in August. The treeline is about 1100m. There is a ryokan at 1000m asl. It's closed in winter but opens in mid - late April, and skiing from 1635m asl (Shogadake) to 1000m (the ryokan) is a common route of late spring - early summer backcountry skiing on Mt.Chokai. Edit : You see, it's so close to Sea of Japan.
     
    #2929 Ramenman, Jun 9, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2020
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  30. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    The terrain and vegetation looks quite similar to Mt Annupuri in Niseko, although much higher and close to the SOJ. Judging by the pretty extreme ridge build-ups, I'm assuming this place gets pretty crazy wind during the winter?
     
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  31. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sorry, I have no idea what it is like there in mid winter because I have never visited the mountain in winter:p.

    By the way, I heard Seibu Group (Prince Hotel is Seibu Group) used to plan to make a ski resort there back in 1980s. It was uploaded onto Yamagata Pref's official channel. I think it's a good sign in that prefectures in Tohoku have started thinking they should make the most of their snowy mountains (including National Park mountains) to attract more tourists.

    Mt.Chokai on May 20th.
     
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  32. zarik

    zarik Addicted

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    https://www.fukkouwari-nagano.com/

    In Nagano can get travel subsidy for staying at hotels. Time and amount limited.

    We will go stay at Nozawa and then Hakuba next couple weekends. For staying at fancier Ryokans it is a really good deal. One annoying thing is that had to book through travel agent(Nozawa) and through city office (Hakuba).
     
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  33. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don't suppose you know if a similar thing is available in Niigata do you?

    At Madarao the prefecture boundary runs through the middle of the resort. The ski patrol building has a line down the middle showing which part is is in Nagano and which part is in Niigata.
     
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  34. zarik

    zarik Addicted

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    Hmm not sure, I can try too check. Best bet is to talk to the people at city hall. If something like that exists they will know, they will also know if people have to book through city hall or travel agent.
     
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  35. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks

    It can be hard to talk to City Hall. But I might see if some of the people I know that are still in Japan can find anything out.
     
  36. zarik

    zarik Addicted

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  37. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  38. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    This week, Hoshino Resorts announced that they would build & open an Onsen Ryokan by a lake in Shiraoi village, Hokkaido. Shiraoi village is very close to Tomakomai Port (it's an international port) and there are cruise ship tours between China and the port. So, I assume the new Onsen Ryokan is targeting Asian tourists (mainly from China). That said, after the Diamond Princes and some other cruise ship cases (COVID-19 infections), they still assume many people will book cruise ship tours?. Reportedly, all 42 bed rooms have magnificent views of a beautiful lake and the Onsen Ryokan is Ainu culture themed one.

    About Ainu : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ainu_people

    It's not targeting skiers / snowboarders, but there are some snowy mountains in Shiraoi village too (the ryokan is opening in Shiraoi village in 2021). This was filmed on Mt.Shiraoi in Shiraoi village.



    Hoshino Resorts have been / are opening many Ryokans and hotels recently. The image below is the one that they released last September. As you can see, only for 7 months between last year's October and this year's May, they were / are opening 6 Onsen Ryokans and hotels in Japan and a few others abroad too. Hoshino Resorts are "operators", and in some (or many) cases, there are "actual owners" who are investing. For example, a Chinese company own Tomamu now but the ski resort is named "Hoshino Resorts Tomamu". So, I guess, a lot of foreign companies and investors (mainly from Asia) are investing in Japan's inbound tourism market, which results in Hoshino Resorts opening more Ryokans and hotels in Japan.
     
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  39. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are people who will do cruises regardless of what has happened. They are already booking them for when they can next do them. IMO Crazy!
     
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  40. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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  41. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yesterday, Tokyo municipal government, Warner Bros, Seibu Railway and Itochu jointly announced opening a new park in Tokyo (inside 23 special wards). A few months ago, I wrote Holly Potter Park is opening in Tokyo and the Holly Potter Park is in the new park. The total area is about 27 ha = 270,000 square meters, and the size is very big considering it's inside Tokyo's 23 special wards. Reportedly, it will be the second "Holly Potter Studio Tour" in the world (it's only in London now). The park will open in 2023 (Edit : Holly Potter Studio Tour Tokyo is just a part of the new park)

    This is London's one : https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/
     
  42. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    You mean Harry Potter?
     
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  43. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I like the sound of Holly Potter, Harry’s raunchy cousin.
     
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  44. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Oh, yeeeeeeeeeeees, Harry Potter:eek:
     
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  45. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Isnt there a Harry Potter show at Universal Studios in Osaka?
     
  46. Scoober

    Scoober One of Us

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    Yes, theres a Harry Potter world inside universal studios. Had the unpleasant fun of taking my niece there as she loves Harry Potter.
     
  47. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    More "water bus / taxi" services are coming in Tokyo Bay and related rivers. One of them is even going to Haneda Airport. The image below is a "new water bus station" opening this month. It's only 5 or 6 mins on foot from the nearest Yamanote Line station. Some new water bus lines will start next week and the trial of the new water bus station to Haneda airport will start July (next month).


    [​IMG]

    A lot of related developments are coming.
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    This is the water bus route between the new water bus station and Haneda Airport.
    [​IMG]
     
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  48. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    fennekeg and elSpike like this.
  49. Asama

    Asama Early Days

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    I really like the idea of the water bus! Not sure how scalable or practical it really is but something about it just appeals. The network of rivers and canals on that side of Tokyo is fascinating too.
     
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