Hyatt and Kiraku fund first hotels in Japan under new joint venture

Hyatt Hotels has taken the first steps to construction of its new Japanese-based hotel brand featuring hot springs, ATONA with the funding of three developments in regional Japanese locations.

Hyatt Hotels and development partner Kiraku have announced the first close of a new fund that will back the pair’s new chain of hotels in Japan. Their ATONA brand, launched in 2022, will provide a modern take on the traditional Japanese ryokan hotel with hot springs, with the first properties now due to open in 2026.

To back the development of the new properties, the pair created the Atona Impact Fund, and have both committed financially to it alongside investment partner Takenaka Corporation, a major Japanese construction group. The combined input of JNY10bn is halfway towards a planned target of JNY20bn to cover all projected investment needs. Initially, work will start on three hotels, in Yufu, Yakushima, and Hakone.

A luxury wellness experience

Each ATONA hotel will have between 30 and 50 bedrooms, aiming to deliver a luxury wellbeing experience for guests. As well as hot springs, the guests will also enjoy experiences linking them to the local culture and nature. Leading Japanese designer Kenya Hara is brand director for ATONA, working alongside architects Shinya Kojima and Ayaka Kojima of Tokyo and Shanghai-based practice kooo architects. The venture is the first time that Hyatt has opted to originate a new hotel brand in Japan, indicating the expectation that the move will create a truly original experience for guests.

The ATONA brand will aim to exploit the natural resources of destinations across regional Japan, as well as taking advantage of a growing momentum in the country’s tourism sector. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019 the country’s National Tourism Organisation recorded close to 32 million international visitors, and the aim is to build that number to 60 million by 2030. Tourism leaders have already enjoyed some success in ensuring the benefit of growing tourism benefits the country’s regions, rather than simply staying in the major cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

Growing across Japan

Hyatt already has a presence of 20 hotels open in Japan. In February 2024, it opened its latest property, Hyatt House Tokyo Shibuya. This was the second Japanese property to open under the Hyatt House brand, offering apartment style rooms designed to suit guests requiring a longer stay in accommodation that feels more like a home from home.

In late 2023, the group opened its first Japanese hotel under the Unbound Collection brand. Hotel Toranomon Hills, in the heart of Tokyo, partnering with Mori Building. Pipeline properties include two Caption by Hyatt hotels, opening this year in Osaka with a further hotel, Caption by Hyatt Kabutocho Tokyo, launching in 2025.