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Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ramenman, Sep 14, 2018.
You are a lucky man (in some ways).
After 37 years of work I finally get my long service leave I'll still be working but there is certainly going to more riding than ever along with low stress levels. Hoping international travel bounces back for 21/22 so I can pay the bills.
Hope there is some business/real estate tax reduction for this situation!
Recently, I often heard bear related incidents and some climbers's / hikers's deaths (not caused by bear attacks but they fell off). One incident that happened this week gave me one question. First of all, I'll write about the sad incident that happened this week. A young guy died in this long dangerous mountain trail. It was made for constructing one of Japan's biggest dams in Kurobe Gorge (near Mt.Tateyama, one of the snowiest mountains of Japan = one of the snowiest in the world).
It's quite a long trail = 13km. A lot of Japanese dam construction workers died there.
The site is famous for this incident. A huge avalanche hit a 4 storey mountain hut for the dam construction workers and the mountain hut got flown away for 580m by the avalanche, killing 80 workers. Really?. My question is, a 4 storey building can really fly for 580m?
That is a huge send for a building
I actually came here for an update on travel to Japan for tourists
Sorry if its being discussed elsewhere... but I read some tourists maybe allowed back into Japan soon?
I couldn't find anything official though
You are flying from Australia?. Then, I think the Australian government decision matters more (they allow the people in Australia to fly out?).
A related news :
Japan’s travel bubble will extend to five Asian countries and regions on September 8
NZ but prob similar situation. Good to see we are also on the list
It seems Tazawako ski resort is newly opening official treerun area in 2020 - 2021 season, which is great. Actually, Tazawako's mountain (Mt.Akita Komagatake) has quite potential sidecountry, backcountry and treerun terrains.
Happo has announced that 'Happo Banks' will no longer be constructed. Their glamping has been very successful this year and the two compete for real estate. There was some mention that they were struggling to get enough snow some years to build the banks but my understanding the key driver is the Glamping. Why they wouldnt use that for the messaging is somewhat perplexing...
Today, local media are reporting about a new development project around Tokyo station. The tallest building is 390m. As a building (except towers such as Tokyo Sky Tree), it's going to be the tallest building in Japan.
4 new ares are opening in Tokyo Disney Resort this month (on 28th). Even bigger expansions will come in the future (including "Frozen" area).
Unless I have misread this, Rusutsu will not be running all its lifts this season including the West Mt gondola. Seems odd for a resort that is very popular with both foreigners and Japanese. The impact of the COVID pandemic I guess.
Could be having trouble getting staff, but expecting the numbers, so rationalising operations.
Specifically, the Yotei Gondola, which is covered mostly by the West No2 Quad.
Also not running:
・ East Quad
・ East 2nd pair lift
・ Across 1st pair lift
(So essentially, East Mt just serviced by the East No2 Gondola)
・ Isola 4th Quad Lift
・ Isola 5th pair lift
(Essentially, Isola Mt just serviced by the Isola Gondola, No2, 3 & 4 Quads)
i.e. No real decrease in terrain, able to run with less staff.
Rusutsu is okay, they'll surely grow and I don't worry at all, but it was a quite bad year for Rusutsu. Japan are planning to make Japan's first ever casinos in several different sites. Till last year, it looked like Rusutsu was going to win one casino site. The market size of Pachinko is 20.7 trillion Yen per year (tourism industry is 11.278 trillion Yen, so Pachinko is nearly twice). Because of the potential domestic casino market of Japan, several American and Chinese casino operating companies are desperate to win Japan's first ever casino licenses. They say "we'll invest in tourism as well for Japan, not only casino" so that Japanese government will choose them as the casino operators. Then, the people from the Chinese casino company and ex-president (CEO) of Rusutsu resort were arrested for bribery (they were bribing to in order to win the casino license). Their development plan was veeeery huge, installing a lot of new lifts, making a lot of new runs, and even building an airport near the resort. However, now they were arrested for bribery, I highly doubt Rusutsu will win the casino license war (only 3 or 4 places will win).
Dubious industry encourages dubious behaviour...
Interesting story though, I knew nothing about this. Also didn't realise that pachinko is twice as big as tourism.
I understand the economic benefits, but maybe in the long run losing a casino will be a blessing in disguise? It's just my personal prejudice, but can't really imagine casino operators being interested in sustainable/sensitive development of an area.
There are a lot of long background stories about this.
First of all, Japan has the world's biggest "gambling" market "Pachinko". Even in residential areas, very close to elementary schools, there are numerous Pachinko. Historically, Pachinko has been treated as "loophole", but actually, I'd say it should be illegal. After the world war 2, for some reasons, people from Korea were allowed to start Pachinko business. As you may know, most owners of Pachinko business are Korean (or ex-Korean who are Japanese now). If their profit is going to South Korea, it's okay, but it is often said it is going to North Korea as well.
Making some casinos in limited number of places that can be strictly monitored by Japanese government is a lot better than numerous Pachinko are making profit and huge amount of money is sent to Korea (especially North Korea). Legitimated well monitored casino business is killing Pachinko is what I want.
I assume it's mainly Chinese and the other foreign tourists who will spend a lot of money at the new casinos in Japan, rather than Japanese. Plus, those Chinese and American casino operating companies must invest in tourism in order to win casino licenses in Japan (and they are actually saying "we are ready to invest in a few trillion Yen" or something like that)
Personally, I'm not interested in casino or pachinko, but I think that opening some official casinos in limited places is actually good for Japan, considering the facts that I wrote above.
I'm not an expert on Pachinko but I'd heard about the North Korean connection. Not sure to what extent it's true and to what extent it's anti-Korean racism, so it's a debate I generally steer clear of.
I'd be quite happy to see Pachinko die too, but because of your 2nd statement, I don't think the 1st statement will happen
And actually, Chinese casino companies have started investing in Japan's tourism industry. Melco, Hong Kong based company that have been operating casinos in Macau partially bought Oku-Shiga Kogen ski resort last year. They are investing in Hakone, etc as well. They are planning to operate a casino in Yokohama.
https://www.melco-resorts.jp/en/doc/Melco Release -MCX Okushiga annoucement_EN_191126.pdf
Last year, I wrote in this thread Blue Resort bought Sanosaka and Yanaba. Sanosaka opened under Blue Resort last season. Yanaba still kept closed last season as well but "Yanaba = under preparation now" was written in the official website of Blue Resort, so I wrote "Yanaba might re-open". It seems Blue Resort bought the ski-in ski-out hotel of Aokiko ski resort as well and the hotel is under renovation now. It means Blue Resort will open all Sanosaka - Yanaba - Aokiko?. If so, it's a big news.
Blue Resort Hakuba Sanosaka
Blue Resort Yanaba
Blue Resort Royal Blue Resort Hotel Aokiko
It seems that Blue Resort bought both Aokiko ski resort and the hotel at about 50 million Yen last year (The picture below is the Aokiko's ski-in ski-out hotel) and it's been under renovation now. I know some people on this forum are Hakuba locals, and I guess they know the details.
That's good news. Aokiko is the key. The Hotel is not quite ski in ski out, as the resort base is across the road up the hill, but only 50m.
There were five lifts at Aokiko, but I think that those lifts will be junk by now.... They were old double chairs anyway.
They really only need to put in ONE lift from the base to access Sanoska, or two lifts to service all of Aokiko.
One more lift to Kashimayari would link all three again.
K= Kashimayari, A=Aokiko, S=Sanosaka. The hotel is just to the right of the + and down a bit, this side of the road.
"partially bought" do you know what that means? What land is that and facilities is that - do you have any idea?
There plenty of land at Okushiga.
What I wanted to ask was, what piece of land belongs to what landowner the cottages further away are f.etc. leased land,
state, city, other public ownership, private, landowner association and so on, because it said" partly bought".
Any ownership to be found here:?
And Denmark could take over that size of Denmark - no problem:
Japan’s lost lands: why a fifth of the nation’s territory is worthless
Feudal laws and untraceable landowners have rendered an area the size of Denmark practically unusable
It seems Blue Resorts bought Aokiko in a public auction last year. Many properties can be available at super cheap prices . Considering "the original prices (the amount of origianl investment)", some properties are almost for free. It was only 48 million Yen for Blue Resort to buy the hotel and Aokiko ski resort. A whole ski resort + a hotel is less than 50 million. I worry about the super cheap price a bit, though. I mean, if Blue Resort didn't need to invest much to buy the properties, it might mean they are not very serious. They are just waiting and seeing what will happens. For examples, tourists from abroad to Hakuba region keep increasing and China's first ever winter olympics in 2022 might make a crazy ski boom in China, which makes a lot of Chinese people rush to Hakuba. Then Blue Resort think "It's time to invest". So, they might not be serious yet now. That said, it was a public auction and the seller was Nagano Prefecture. In those public auctions, in many cases, there are some conditions like these. Condition A : You must utilize the property within ..... years. Condition B : You can't resell it for ..... years. I don't know the details of the public auction but if there were those conditions (requirements), Blue Resort is serious to reopen Aokiko as well.
Realistically, Aokiko is a tiny resort, and the skiing is tame. However, the combination of Aokiko & Sanosaka makes the two a reasonable size and ideal for Chinese tourists, BUT there must be a good hotel in the deal to make it viable. That, plus the lake views clinches the deal.
BTW, I don't think that's a photo of the hotel at Aokiko, it's the base complex of Aokiko.
I've also looked at the location of Blue Resort Royal Blue Resort Hotel Aokiko, and it's NOT located at the base of Aokiko, it's located next to the woods at Sanosaka, and it's ski in ski out. (it's located at the end of that road, not exactly as shown on the map.
Here it is at Sanosaka, middle of the shot from google maps:
- Sanosaka to the top, just to the left of centre. Aokiko resort centre to the left of the lake. Kashimayari bottom to the left. Yanaba, bottom, just left of centre.
Hotel is just above middle of the photo. Aokiko resort base complex at the bottom, just above "G" in "Aokiko camping Ground"
I wondered where the image is from, then I came to notice it's available in English. http://www.bcm-co.jp/en/news.html
This blog says Blue resort? bought the ski resort (Aokiko) as well (and another lodge / hotel there?). We (my ski mates and I) are a bit confused with some different information on recent movements in relation to Aokiko ski resort and Blue Resort.
Ok, so maybe the other hotel is the one I thought they were referring to first.... the one across the road from the Aokiko base building. It makes sense to buy that if they buy the whole Aokiko resort. I've walked around that one in summer, along with the camping grounds and the lake.
Oh for the "good ol days" when you could ski all three on "Mens Day" for 2500 yen.
Yep, Wednesday "Mens Day", Friday "Ladies Day", both 2500yen.
Every year, this 鉄道要覧 book is issued (it's 6,500 Yen). 鉄道 means Railway. It might sound a bit strange, but all ropeways, gondolas and lifts are categorized as railways under Japanese related laws. So, the book (鉄道要覧) has information about ropeways, gondolas and lifts at ski resorts as well. The newest 鉄道要覧 book says all lifts at Aokiko ski resort are owned by Blue Resort. So, they bought the ski resort as well. Aokiko ski resort has been closed for 10 years or longer, so I assume it's a bit costly for Blue Resort to reopen the ski resort by renewing or repairing the lifts.
All the lifts there were already old and slow 10 years ago. They may or may not be able to use the lift towers, but everything including running gear, cables, chairs and machinery would need to be replaced.
However, building only one new quad chair at Aokiko would allow good access to Aokiko and Sanosaka from the base area & hotel at Aokiko.
If they're thinking ahead, they'd rebuild lift 5 as a quad chair, and build a new lift from the base, up to the top of lift 2. If the infrastructure is ok on lift 3, they could run it (even as the original double chair) to Kashimayari..... this is the key to profitability IMO, restore the 3 resort "Sun Alpina". (Kashimayari, Aokiko, Sanosaka)
I've haven't been back to Sanosaka since Aokiko closed(not worth the money for the ticket for such a small resort), but I would ALWAYS go to Kashimayari, Aokiko & Sanosaka combined, before that.
Perfect spot for MTB as well.
The Yanaba one is strange. Its such a little hill. Was a great little terrain park...
But if Happo Banks can't open cause of "climate change" What hope does little old Yanaba have (unless it installs snowmaking)
About the only thing Yanaba has going for it is the train stop directly opposite.
Which is probably what Sanosaka needs.
With the lift infrastructure as described by Sandy and some new or refreshed buildings I could definitely see it being a destination resort for certain market sectors.
Approaching from the east on the train and rounding the lake is gorgeous and the view of the Alps breathtaking. Imagine alighting at Yanaba station and being in the resort in ten minutes. Very nice (Borat voice).
The well connected / linked ski resorts of Sanosaka - Aokiko - Kashimayari (+ Yanaba) with the beautiful lake view of Aokiko is potential, considering the better accessibility (if compared to the other ski resorts in Hakuba region) and the location as a gateway to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route. Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route is very popular among Asian tourists. Omachi city (where there are those ski resorts) is one of gateways to Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route, so Hoshino Resort invested there, opening Kai Alps. The images below are from the website of Kai Alps (the Ryokan there)
Kai Alps : https://www.hoshinoresorts.com/en/resortsandhotels/kai/alps.html
That is one of the most stunning things I’ve ever seen!
I have actually taken a tour of the abandoned hotel at the base of Aokiko. It's a huge building but realistically you'd need at least 500 million, more likely a billion to get it back into shape.
Hey @LMB , where is that?
Have a look at Ramenman's previous post.
There is a copyright - will find other way.
If you google "lost landowership in japan ft"
you may find the hit and tekst.
This one is good too:
Here were I live it is very easy to find landowners from a grafical online map.
Was hoping to find something like this in Japan.
May family has given serveral lots to other people in Japan.
If they can spend that amount of money for the hotel, it is more likely that they'll install a new lift there to make the most of the hotel. One lift line is only 500 million Yen on average. If they can afford to pay a billion Yen for the hotel, installing a new lift line which makes Sanosaka and Aokiko one united ski resort is not expensive for them in my opinion.
Local media are reporting ski resorts in Niseko region are opening two weeks later than average season because of COVID-19 (Grand Hirafu are opening on December 5th and they usually open around November 23rd). The article says 70% visitors to Niseko Grand Hirafu are from abroad, and it's the reason. However, the snow condition in late November is far from its best, and almost no one from abroad mind if they won't open in November.
The link : https://www.hokkaido-np.co.jp/article/463142/
70% of the visitors are from abroad, then Niseko will suffer a lot in 2020 - 2021 season (That said, some other local media are reporting a lot of investment from abroad are still coming to Niseko region now even amid COVID-19 shock)
New list of lift operations for the season also:
Green Cross is no operation
A - I think is the Pizza Box good to see that is retained.
B - was that a double? Don't think I used it once so that's alright to go.
G - was this running last year? I think I used it a bit.
A: yes it’s the pizza box
Having the Ace 4 out of action this will be the only way to access the top of the hill, skiing over to Annupuri/Niseko Village and the peak.
B: yes it’s a double chair. The one that starts in front of the Ace Quad. I used it a lot, one of my favourites during busy times, specially in bad weather as the majority of people head to the hooded Gives a quick turn around and nice facial exfoliation while you’re at it.
But yes - ALL of that terrain can be accessed from the king hooded lift.
G: King 2 lift - this is a funny one. Just when I think I haven’t seen the thing run in YEARS, it’s spinning again, but it isn’t spinning regularly. I rode it myself a few days last season.
The sad one is the King 1 duplex double chairs.
RIP terrain park.
Reducing lifts is scary for the future - what if they decided not to reopen them. Old lift, let’s just decommission it, never mind the queues...