Unless there is a last minute change in policy, consumption tax rates in Japan are set to increase from 8% to 10% from October this year.
Between April 1997 and March 2012 the consumption tax rate in Japan was 5%. It then increased to 8% in April 2014 with a view to it being increased to 10% by October 2015. For various reasons that was postponed twice meaning we are still currently at 8%, but the increase to 10% is scheduled to come into effect from October.
The tax increase back in 2015 saw many things in Japan becoming more expensive and some companies also took the opportunity to increase prices further than the actual tax increase (which was kind of annoying!)
It remains to be seen how things will change for the upcoming 2019-2020 winter season but we can probably expect a similar situation.
Most ski resorts in Japan will not be updating their official information (including lift ticket prices) until the autumn months, but one or two have already made updates.... including lift ticket prices for the ever-popular Niseko United resorts in Hokkaido. And if we are doing our sums correctly it looks like most all-mountain Niseko United lift tickets (valid at Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko HANAZONO, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri) are going to be 8% more expensive in 2019-2020. Here's a few examples:
A one day Niseko United lift ticket will cost 8,000 yen (it was 7,400 yen last season)
A two day Niseko United lift ticket will cost 14,700 yen (it was 13,600 yen last season)
A three day Niseko United lift ticket will cost 21,400 yen (it was 19,800 yen last season)
A Niseko United season ticket will cost 125,000 yen (it was 115,600 yen last season)
(Interestingly, the 'Free 50 hour' ticket is the only one that seems to remain unchanged).
We have updated the lift ticket information on each of the relevant Niseko listing pages if you want to check them out (for example here is the page for Niseko Grand Hirafu).
It is worth noting that in many respects Niseko remains a 'special case' in Japan. And also that the above ticket covers 4 resorts, and there will be cheaper tickets available for the individual resorts (and we'll post them when we have them). But even so most ski resorts could not even command such prices and we do not expect such large increases to be widespread.
If the tax increase in 2015 was anything to go by we might expect a one day lift ticket at many ski hills to increase by around 100-150 yen. We shall see! And then of course there are the prices of transportation, accommodation, gear and everything else to consider too.
It will certainly be interesting to see how different resorts deal with the situation.
We will of course be updating the lift ticket prices for every ski resort around Japan within SnowJapan, but please note that it will very probably be autumn before this information becomes available for the most places.