Japan’s answer to Aspen is drawing skiers and foreign developers to its slopes

Billionaires from across Asia are investing in projects and second-homes in Niseko

Feb.February 09, 2019 02:00 PM

Niseko (Credit: Getty)

Nestled on the island of Hokkaido, the picturesque winter resort town of Niseko is emerging as Japan’s answer to Aspen.

Its surging popularity has drawn interest from Australian and Asian developers who are flocking to build luxury hotels and chalets, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

“Niseko will end up at the top of the global destinations,” Eyal Agmoni, who leads a private equity firm active in the town’s development, told the Journal.

His firm is working on a project in Niseko worth hundreds of millions of dollars that includes hotels, shops and restaurants.

Other Asian investors have also been drawn to the area.

Francis Yeoh, the Malaysian billionaire, has run a resort near Niseko since 2010. His company are now developing a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and a W Hotel, opening in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Hong Kong-based Richard Li’s Pacific Century Premium Developments expects to open a Park Hyatt this year with residences priced between about $900,000 and $10 million.

And billionaires are not only investing in Niseko — they’re also buying property there for themselves.

Chalerm Yoovidhya, a Thai billionaire and heir to the Red Bull fortune, owns a house in the area designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. (Locals call it the “Red Bull House,” according to the Journal.)

Some Japanese investors are also getting in on the rush to develop in Niseko, albeit a little late. Kamori Kanko, a Japanese company based in nearby Sapporo has a $1 billion development underway near Niseko that includes a 148-unit hotel. Niseko Alpine Developments, an Australian company, is a partner on the project. [WSJ] – Decca Muldowney

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