Prop­erty

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

Singapore Tatler Homes - - JUN/JUL 2018 -

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.

HOL­I­DAY HAVEN

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.”

ALPINE IN­SPI­RA­TION

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...

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