Myoko's Mixed Fortunes: Foreign Investment and the Future of a Mountain City

Myoko's Mixed Fortunes: Foreign Investment and the Future of a Mountain City

Myoko, Niigata Prefecture, a renowned training ground for Aoyama Gakuin University's Hakone Ekiden relay team, is facing mixed emotions as its population ages and declines. Rumors of large land acquisitions in the Suginosawa district have sparked concerns among residents.

In response to these concerns, PCG, a real estate investment fund, has acquired vast tracts of land in Myoko, including part of Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park and the Madarao Mountain Resort. The company's plans include developing a world-class ski resort with a resort hotel and luxury shopping area.

Shigeo Yamakawa, head of the Suginosawa Tourist Office, expresses both hope and apprehension about PCG's developments. While he anticipates an influx of tourists, he worries that the focus on attracting wealthy visitors could marginalize the local community.

PCG CEO Ken Chan, who has deep ties to Japan, envisions a resort on par with Canada's Whistler, offering year-round attractions. He emphasizes that the company's investments are long-term and aim to revitalize the community, despite concerns about foreign land ownership.

The Myoko Suginohara ski resort, once a vibrant winter destination, has seen its fortunes decline in recent years. Hisataka Yamakawa, a local resident, reflects on the past and expresses uncertainty about the promised development. However, he remains hopeful that it could bring a resurgence of prosperity to the region.