Japan’s Bullet Train Lines and Tourists Prompt Land Price Hikes

Japan Real Estate

Japan Real Estate

21 Sept, 2016 –

Government data released Tuesday showed a stark contrast in the effects that new shinkansen routes have had on land prices in areas along the lines. So-called standard land prices as of July 1, used as a benchmark for land transactions in Japan, went up, as they did last year, in areas around the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line’s Nagano-Kanazawa section, which opened in March 2015, according to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry statistics. On the other hand, impacts of the launch of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line in March this year have not been tangible, at least so far.

Elsewhere in the data, land prices posted growth in areas with tourist spots popular to foreigners. Residential and commercial land prices rose 0.7 percent and 5.7 percent, respectively, in the city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, the host to the Kanazawa Station terminal of the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line. In particular, the price of a commercial land plot near the train station shot up 25.3 percent. The rises came as the number of tourists to the Hokuriku central region facing the Sea of Japan, including Ishikawa, from the Tokyo metropolitan area has been continuing to increase, thanks to the Hokuriku Shinkansen extension that has shortened the travel time between the two regions. Residential and commercial land prices also increased in the city of Toyama, the capital of the namesake prefecture, next to Ishikawa. The city has Toyama Station, also on the bullet train line.

Meanwhile, land prices fell by 1.6 percent for residential areas and by 0.9 percent for commercial areas in Hakodate, a major city in Hokkaido, although the city adjoins the city of Hokuto, where Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station, the current northern terminal of the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line, is located. This was because travel by air between Tokyo and Hakodate is still more convenient than travel by rail even after the Hokkaido Shinkansen Line shortened the time needed for a trip between the Japanese capital and the Hokkaido city, a transport ministry official indicated.

Land prices were also up in Sapporo, which saw an extension of its iconic streetcar service in December 2015, and in Sendai, where the Tozai Line opened, also in December last year, as its second subway line. In addition, prices of land rose in municipalities around the Tokyo-Gaikan Expressway and the Ken-O Expressway in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including the Ibaraki Prefecture town of Goka and the Chiba Prefecture city of Funabashi, as recent improvements of the motorways increased the demand for sites hosting new logistics facilities. The land price surged 27.3 percent for a residential area in the Hokkaido town of Kucchan, near the Niseko resort area. An increasing number of foreigners are buying villas in the town, officials said.

Tokyo’s posh Ginza district and the downtown area around Shinsaibashi Station on a subway line in the city of Osaka saw rises in land prices on the back of growing consumption amid an increase in foreign tourists. Land prices in areas having sightseeing spots in Okinawa registered increases, thanks to a rise in the number of cruise ships visiting the prefecture, one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country.

(Source – “The Japan Times,” Pic – Shinkansen at Tokyo Station / “Tony & Wayne“)

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