Japan continues to prove wildly popular with international tourists and investors since re-opening the borders late last year. Resorts across the country have rebounded strongly and with many metres of snow falling already, life feels almost back to normal. We asked Uchi CEO Chris Pickering for his latest real estate investment tips in Japan’s top ski resort areas.
“Given the volume of snow falling in Japan, especially when compared to the green slopes of Europe this winter, I wanted to focus this week on land. It’s worth remembering that international investors in Japan have exactly the same rights as Japanese, so freehold land is attractive not only due to sole ownership but because the tax rates tend to be extremely low in resort areas. So even if you don’t build immediately, the cost of holding is very low.”
Why is land proving a popular investment choice?
“I think it is part of the trend we have seen post pandemic where searches for standalone homes and land have soared. There are probably three main factors at play here: firstly, since we spent so much time isolated around the world, people have decided they want more space and more privacy in their second homes and generally speaking this is easier with a custom-built home than an apartment.
“Secondly, most luxury apartment buildings are built on prime land, often ski-in ski-out. So you are paying for that location, whereas moving just a couple of minutes from the lifts can see the price of land fall dramatically. So you end up getting more bang for your buck, especially as you can build a larger home for the same total cost.
“Add in the fact that you can custom build your home, as opposed to buying off-plan, and that you can select your land with specific views or bucket list items like rivers or proximity to supermarkets for example – all these make land a really good option for many investors who don’t need a turnkey apartment immediately.
“I literally just had a chat with one of my oldest friends out here in Hokkaido, Keith Rodgers of TAIGA, and he was bubbling with excitement about five pieces of land that is personally selling and how they have such incredible protected views of Mount Yotei in Niseko. Check out more about his property here.
“We are starting to see more estate communities pop up, similar to what has proved very popular in the top European and North American resorts. Projects like Odin Hills and KABA® Niseko in the Niseko area are full-scale communities with onsen and clubhouses planned and there are plenty more on the drawing board.
“But there are also options to pick up your own plot near to your favourite resort, choose your favourite local bilingual project manager and get your own home built in time for your next ski holiday! I’ve picked a few below, but head to our land listings page anytime to search yourself. We have over 200 land plots for sale starting at less than $60,000 USD!”
Location: Niseko-Hanazono, Hokkaido
Price: from 156m JPY ($1.2m USD)
Set in a pristine unspoiled natural environment with sweeping views of Mount Yotei and surrounded by protected birch forest, KABA® Niseko is within touching distance of the famed Hanazono ski resort. This collection of 31 refined land and house sites with onsen has already proved hugely popular this winter, with several sales already completed.
Yotei View Niseko-Soga Land
Location: Niseko, Hokkaido
Price: from 17.5m ($130k USD)
Originally purchased because of the protected views of Mount Yotei across working farmland, these five plots offer privacy thanks to the mature forest at the back of the land. With Annupuri, Moiwa, Niseko Village and Hirafu all within 10 minutes, the location is fantastic for winter and summer!
Location: Niseko-Hanazono, Hokkaido
Price: from 98m JPY ($730k USD)
Odin Hills is a 16-hectare private luxury residential estate within minutes of the Hanazono ski resort. Boasting incredible Mount Yotei Views, the heart of the Odin Hills community is a wonderful on-site clubhouse offering a suite of spaces, concierge services and activities for owners to enjoy with family and friends.
Location: Furano, Hokkaido
Price: from 99.8m JPY ($750k USD)
Intuition Furano hosts 17 villa plots and one hotel site, with villa plots ranging from 430 to 640 sqm. Maximum floor area of custom homes on these plots could reach 600 to 1,000 sqm. At the peak of the Kitanomine ski village, the estate is set in a spectacular natural landscape with stunning views across Furano Ski Resort and Daisetsuzan ranges.
Rusutsu Resort Land
Location: Rusutsu, Hokkaido
Price: from 17.4m JPY ($130k USD)
It’s still possible to pick up plots of land in Rusutsu Resort at reasonable prices that are within a couple of minutes of the ski lifts. Rusutsu benefits from less-crowded slopes in winter and also has 4 golf courses and a theme park to keep everyone entertained in summer!
Hakuba Norikura Ski-In Ski-Out Land
Location: Norikura Resort, Nagano
Price: 7m JPY ($50,000 USD)
This well-sized plot of land is ski-in ski-out to Norikura resort, part of the Hakuba Valley in Nagano. Build your dream home in this quiet resort and enjoy doorstep access to the Japanese Alps!
Location: Niseko Kabayama, Hokkaido
Price: 72m JPY ($540k USD)
This 675 sqm plot has protected views over a river but is also less than 2km from the lifts of Niseko-Hirafu resort giving easy access to the snow and the restaurants of the heart of Niseko.
Check out all our land listings on Uchi and start the journey to your dream Japanese alpine home now!
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