The land is still owned by Hyakkaen. ……?
Have you ever heard of Hyakkaen, a fruit parlor that has had a store for more than half a century in a very prestigious location around Alta, about a two-minute walk from the east exit of JR Shinjuku Station?
The store was established in 1967. The storefront is lined with specialty “fruit skewers” of pineapples, melons, and strawberries, and inside the store you can also find rare species such as durian and coconut. The long-established specialty store disappeared without a trace at the end of July 2022, and on August 1, a food cart-style izakaya opened on the former site.
In addition to the Shinjuku store, Hyakkaen had also had stores in front of JR Yurakucho Station and in Ameya Yokocho in Ueno. However, due to the prevention of the spread of the new coronavirus, all stores have been temporarily closed since April 2008. On its official Twitter page, posts were regularly sent out extending the closure.
Although the company denied on SNS that it was closing, in November 2009 the Yurakucho store became a bakery from Kyoto, and in August 2010 the Shinjuku store became a separate store as mentioned above. The Shinjuku store’s official Instagram announced that it was closed and never reopened for business. Currently, only the main store, the “Ueno Daiichi Store,” is closed.
When we visited the remaining store, Ueno Daiichi Store, at the end of July, the shutters were still closed. A sign was posted on the door, “The store is temporarily closed for the time being. A phone call to the Ueno Daiichi store was disconnected, but the owner said that even recently, people could be seen coming and going inside the store.
The owner or owner-like person seems to come to the store with a motorcycle around the end of every month. He comes around noon and the motorcycle is gone by evening, so he probably comes to the store about once a month just to check on things. The store itself is closed for a long period of time, and at this point there are no particular plans for a new property to come in” (staff member at a nearby store).
Apparently, the Ueno Daiichi store is still functioning as an office. And on the other hand, tracing the registration reveals that the land rights to the Shinjuku store are still held by Hyakkaen (as of August 15).
The estimated 100-square-meter site in Shinjuku was occupied by “Shinjuku Yatai En,” a chain of four izakayas (Japanese-style pubs). Hamakura Shoten Seisakusho, the company that operates this facility, is the instigator of the neo-norenmachi (goodwill town) boom, having been involved in Ebisu Yokocho and Shibuya Yokocho in Miyashita Park.
When we called the headquarters of Hamakura Shoten Seisakusho to inquire about the relationship with Hyakkaen, we were unable to get a concrete answer. When we asked the store staff, they said they did not know the details of the tenants.
What is of interest, however, would be the tenant’s rent. How much would the rent be for a large property of more than 100 square meters in a very prime location at the east exit of Shinjuku? We asked a real estate agent who owns a tenant in the neighborhood about the market price of land in the area.
He replied, “I am only talking about the market rent, but it is said that the unit price per tsubo (3.5 square meters) in the area in front of the station at the east exit of Shinjuku Station ranges from 60,000 yen to over 100,000 yen at the highest. Incidentally, the average rent for the entire Kabukicho area is about 35,000 yen, but since it is a prime location, the market price will probably be about that much.
Moreover, the buildings on either side of Hyakkaen have recently been equipped with large 3D street visions, so they are easily seen and talked about. I think this property is becoming more popular because of the enormous publicity that can be expected just by setting up a store in that location. The new tenant is also in the food and beverage industry, so I think they also took the PR improvement into account,” said a real estate agent in the neighborhood.
If the store’s site is 100 square meters, it is calculated that the monthly rent could exceed 3 million yen. The long-established fruit parlor, which had become a landmark in front of Shinjuku Station along with Alta, has switched its business form from store management to “landlord business”?
As of August 18, the official Twitter account of Hyakkaen has stopped updating with a post announcing the continued closure of the Ueno Daiichi store.
Interview and text： Hayahide Sato
Born in 1995. After graduating from university, he worked for an editorial department related to horse racing, and became a freelance journalist around 2021. Hobbies include drinking, horse racing, and reading.