Seek out the picturesque sights of Hokkaido, with the comforts of a sanctuary to call your own at Yu Kiroro, a new luxury condominium in Kiroro. Hong Xinying visits the Japanese resort town to explore the appeal of the locale
Explore the beauty of the frost at Yu Kiroro, a luxury condominium in a resort town in Hokkaido
When we arrived in Hokkaido in January, its appeal as a winter getaway is easy to see. Snow descends upon the Japanese island in an almost unending wave, covering the region in a blanket of white. The cold and dry winds of winter from Siberia brings heavy and consistent snowfall to Hokkaido each year, thus creating the powdery snow that makes the destination a hit with skiers. Beyond the well-trodden slopes of snow capital Niseko, there is a nearby locale that Thai developer Property Perfect hopes to grow—the resort town of Kiroro. Nestled on the western slopes of Mount Asari in Hokkaido, it’s also the site of Yu Kiroro, the property group’s first project in Japan.
BEAUTY OF THE FROST
Benjamin Lam recalls his first trip to Kiroro fondly. “Many friends asked why I chose to come to Hokkaido in December 2014, especially during a year where in other parts of the world, there was no snow,” shares the president and representative director of Kiroro Resort Holdings. The company manages the hotels and facilities in the area, and is a subsidiary of Property Perfect. “But when I arrived in Kiroro, it was amazing. I’ve skied in Whistler, the Swiss Alps, and in a lot of other places but there’s nothing like Kiroro; the kind of powdery snow you find here is just so beautiful that I felt that it was truly one-ofa-kind.” That awestruck moment has stayed with him, culminating in a project years in the making. Located an hour’s drive from Sapporo and a 100-minute journey from the New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, the resort town is easily accessible to international visitors. Piste conditions are also generally optimal on most days during ski season from December to mid-april, with the snow depth in Kiroro averaging around 21m annually (other neighbouring areas averages 19m); its beginner-friendly ski slopes make the destination family-friendly too.
Besides skiers and snowboarders in the know, interest in the area has been heightened after the release of popular Thai film One Day in 2016; the romantic drama was shot on site at Kiroro. This fortuitous timing coincided with the recent hotel renovation of The Kiroro and the adjacent Sheraton Hokkaido Kiroro Resort, which were bought over by the developer in 2012 from the Yamaha Corporation. The modernised interiors are part of Property Perfect’s ongoing redevelopment plans for the area, with the goal of turning it into a flourishing lifestyle destination as well as the future site of luxury vacation homes.
Yu Kiroro is the first of such vacation abodes in the area, strategically located beside the ski slopes of Kiroro. Due for completion by the end of 2019, the condominium complex comprises 108 freehold units, with apartment types ranging from one- to three-bedroom as well as the penthouse. Amenities within the property include an exclusive ski centre and owner’s club accessible only to residents and their guests. Other facilities include an all-day restaurant, indoor and outdoor onsens as well as a gym, lounge area, family-friendly rooms and a play area for children. Homeowners will also be able to utilise the facilities at the nearby hotels, which include over a dozen cafes and restaurants at the two hotels. This holistic experience takes chief priority in the development of the area. “We want the whole family to enjoy the Kiroro experience,” explains Lam. “For instance, we plan to expand the onsen into a spa that provides services such as facials, massages and body scrubs.” The developer plans to invest nearly ¥100 billion (approximately S$1.24 billion) in this project, with more ski runs, amenities as well as hotels and residential developments to be gradually built in the next 10 to 15 years.
“WE WANT TO BUILD A HOME AWAY FROM HOME WHILE PRESERVING THE ENVIRONMENT SUCH THAT KIRORO CAN LAST FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION”
At the same time, the property group plans to build sustainably within the area, to keep its natural beauty the biggest draw for the Japanese ski town. “We have a masterplan for Kiroro, with each phase carefully planned—we don’t want to build too much, as the preservation of the environment is still very important to us,” explains Lam. “We want to build a home away from home while preserving the environment such that Kiroro can last from generation to generation.”
Beyond its ski facilities, the Yu Kiroro condominium complex celebrates its proximity to the mountains, inside and out. The property developer collaborated with Hokkaido-based company Itogumi Construction and Japanese interior design firm Ilya Corporation to create apartments inspired by European chalets, with a Japanese touch. Taking cues from the beauty of its natural surroundings, the building’s facade uses natural materials such as stone and wood as well as numerous windows that bring in natural light while maximising the views of the snow-capped mountains and nearby forests. Suite-style apartments made for families also feature a traditional tatami room, in celebration of the Japanese resort experience. “We wanted to pair modern design with Japanese craftsmanship,” shares Yuichiro Ohkawa, senior designer from Ilya Corporation. “We believe Alpine style and Japanese design share a common feature— namely, the coexistence with nature, with an emphasis on wood and stone masonry, as well as the views from the window. As such, we have adapted warm textures of wood into the interior scheme, and used materials that have been carefully aged over time to realise the timeless design.” The resulting interior is one that maximises the views of the nearby mountains, while providing cosy havens for visiting urbanites. Beyond the winter allure of Kiroro, Lam sees the natural beauty and fresh produce of Hokkaido as a perennial draw to the island—the summer season is another peak travel period for this Japanese prefecture. According to statistics by the Japan National Tourism Organisation, over 400,000 Singaporeans visited Japan in 2017, with the figure expected to grow. “Singaporeans have sophisticated and discerning preference for vacations and investment. With an estimated yield of around 3 to 5 per cent per annum, we expect to see their interest piqued in Yu Kiroro and what Hokkaido has to offer,” shares the director.
OPPOSITE PAGE The gondola takes skiers up the slopes of Mount Asari from Kiroro
THIS PAGE The grand hotel lobby of The Kiroro; the mild incline of the ski slopes makes the ski town a family-friendly destination; new condominium complex Yu Kiroro will be situated adjacent to the ski slopes and chairlifts of Kiroro
THIS PAGE Each apartment in Yu Kiroro features views of the neighbouring ski slopes and a modern interior inspired by winter chalets in Europe; the Niisa Bell at the peak of Mount Asari is one of Kiroro’s landmarks; the chapel next to The Kiroro resort...