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Travel & Leisure

Nagasaki's old Christian sanctuary to welcome high-end hotel

Sojitz to build near World Heritage sites on Goto Islands

The picturesque Goto Islands once served as a haven for Christians in Japan hiding from persecution. (Photo by Nozomu Ogawa)

TOKYO -- Japanese trading house Sojitz has moved to construct its first luxury resort hotel in a historical landmark area near Nagasaki, informed sources told Nikkei, in a bid to capture the growing traffic of tourists the location has drawn.

Sojitz aims to open the hotel on the largest of the Goto Islands within the next three years. The project is expected to cost a few billion yen (1 billion yen equals $9.2 million).

Goto served as a haven for underground Christians before the long ban on the religion was lifted in the 19th century. Locations there associated with this history were named World Heritage sites in 2018.

The city of Goto took in 240,000 tourists that year, up 13% from 2017. But accommodations are in short supply. Sojitz's hotel would be part of a regional revitalization project. The two sides are expected to ink an agreement by year-end at the earliest.

"There are barely any [lodging] facilities that can satisfy affluent visitors from both Japan and abroad," said an official from the local tourism sector.

Plans are to build a hotel on a scenic 15,000-sq.-meter plot of city-owned land. About 20 to 30 two-person suites will be priced around 100,000 yen a night. Sojitz will construct and own the building.

The rooms will be part of vacation packages that include fishing and sightseeing. Not only do the Goto Islands boast historic landmarks, but the area also contains volcanos and 100 or so uninhabited islands.

Japan's inbound tourists tend to flock to big-name cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. But Sojitz has developed strong ties to Goto and plans to expand hotel development to other outlying areas.

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