July 3, 2017 4:09 pm JST

Ginza land valuations rocket to new highs

Redevelopment, tourism boom stoke price rise in Tokyo's posh shopping district

ALEXANDER MARTIN, Nikkei staff writer

The most expensive piece of Japanese land is in front of the Kyukyodo stationery store near Ginza Station in Tokyo.

TOKYO -- Land prices in Ginza, Tokyo's luxurious shopping district and a popular tourist destination, have soared beyond bubble-era highs this year.

The National Tax Agency on Monday released the average roadside land prices for 2017, which saw a square meter of land in the heart of the shopping area priced at 40.32 million yen ($357,000), exceeding the previous record of 36.5 million yen set in 1992 after Japan's economic bubble. The price is used to calculate inheritance and gift taxes. 

The annual release saw the national average rise by 0.4%, with Tokyo up by 3.2%.

The data reflects Ginza's new shopping complexes and changing landscape. Ginza Six -- a 13-story commercial complex featuring luxury outlets like Christian Dior and Fendi -- opened in April. Last year saw the openings of the Tokyu Plaza Ginza and Ginza Place shopping malls.

Real estate developer Mori Trust is also building a 13-story hotel slated to open in early 2020, in time for the Tokyo Olympics that summer.

Ginza is also near the famed 80-year-old Tsukiji fish market, long a magnet for tourists. The market is to be relocated to the nearby Toyosu waterfront district and transformed into a culinary theme park.

Japan has recently been experiencing a tourism boom. Last year, it welcomed 24 million visitors, an increase of 21.8% over the previous year. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's goal is to increase the number of foreign visitors to 40 million by 2020.

Ginza, known for its high-end boutiques and restaurants, has always been a tourist favorite.

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