• Kyodo

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A Ritz-Carlton hotel will open in the resort city of Nikko, north of Tokyo, in the summer of 2020, aiming to attract affluent foreign tourists, its operators said.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel Nikko will be the sixth in Japan to open under the luxurious hotel brand run by U.S. chain Marriott International Inc. It will be run in conjunction with Tobu Railway Co.

The city of Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture is known for UNESCO World Heritage sites, including such historical buildings as the Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

The four-story building with 94 guestrooms, open-air hot spring bath and spa is located by Lake Chuzenji on a 19,000-square-meter site where a hotel run by Tobu Railway was closed in January.

The size of a guest room will be at least 50 sq. meters.

Tobu Railway President Yoshizumi Nezu said, “We would like to attract tourists from all over the world to come to Nikko.” He expressed hope that the hotel will also help promote tourism in the Kanto and Tohoku regions.

The move comes on the heels of the latest tourism data released by the Japan Tourism Agency showing that the estimated number of foreign visitors to Japan this year has already surpassed last year’s record 19.74 million, topping 20 million in only 10 months.

The number of visitors in the first nine months of this year was up 24.1 percent from the same period in 2015 to 17.98 million, and the total is estimated to have topped the 20 million line as of Sunday, the agency said Monday.

The government has a target of 40 million tourists a year by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Olympics.

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