It was the end of the Tokugawa period. A village headman from a traditional fishing village was told by Vassal to the Shogunate Katsu Kaishu "If you buy this land, it will be profitable in the future”. Full of doubts, the headman purchased land around that area, only to see the price sharply rise thereafter. The headman successfully grew his assets.
In fact, that area is Kobe in Hyogo prefecture. The reason Kaishu knew prices would rise was that the Shogunate’s Naval Training Centre was planned to be built there, and stories of this episode are still told as an episode of Katsu Kaishu, one of the greats of the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Incidentally, this “Kobe town” grew into the Kobe of today when both land prices and population increased due to the opening of Kobe Port a few years after the establishment of the Naval Training Centre.
In today's major urban areas where infrastructure is largely established, such a Cinderella story seems unlikely to occur. However, one town in Kanagawa prefecture seems to have the potential for one. This would be Hashimoto station, home to lines from 2 companies; the JR Yokohama and Sagami Line, as well as the Keio Line
Currently, construction planning for the Linear Chuo Shinkansen "Kanagawa Prefecture Station (Name subject to change) due to open in 2027 is underway nearby the Hashimoto Station south exit. This Kanagawa Prefecture Station is fast gaining attention as the "Only Linear Shinkansen Stop in Kanagawa".
Hashimoto has seen little change in its position as a common suburban town due to redevelopment being stuck at a small scale since the extension of the Keio Line and opening of the "Keio Hashimoto Station" in 1990. The new Linear Shinkansen station is looking to change this reputation completely. Even now looking at a map of the station's surroundings, there are many electricity substations, factories and company housing buildings, etc. on the south side where the new station will be built. There is the possibility that relocation of these facilities will be greatly accelerated on the south side, even when ignoring the north side of the station with its rows of tenant buildings.
Already, the new Linear Shinkansen Station plans are beginning to affect land prices in the surrounding area. The base land price announced on the 20th of September showed a large increase around the new station area. The area within about 100 to 200 metres arounds Hashimoto 2-chome's base land price increase by 12.9% from 425,000 yen per square meter to 480,000 since last year. In addition, 1-chome to the southeast and Nishi Hashimoto 2-chome further to the southwest have each seen increases of near 7% since last year (Taken from the "Kanagawa Prefecture Land Price Survey of Heisei 29), as is the below).
Incidentally, 2017 saw a fall of 0.2% in the base land price for residential areas throughout Kanagawa prefecture, with commercial areas rising by 1.5%. The Hashimoto station area saw increases in line with some of Japan's famous downtown areas such as Yokohama and Kawasaki, making the effect of the Linear Shinkansen Station clear. However, the average standard land price of Hashimoto as a whole is still far from that at end of the bubble period in 1992, standing at 252,340 yen per meter square compared to 770,000.
The region surrounding Hashimoto Station's south side is designated as an "Urgent Regeneration Emergency Development Area", meaning there is no doubt redevelopment leading up to the 2027 opening of the Linear Shinkansen Station will proceed at a rapid pace. While on it is perhaps worrying that on the Sagamihara city homepage, it is written that the station area's redevelopment will be "mainly by private entities", leaving the impression that they are perhaps trying to leave the work to others, it is certain that there is no time to waste with the construction of the Linear Shinkansen station just around the corner. As the previously mentioned factories, ex-factory sites, company housing, schools and so on begin to be relocated, it seems that a battle of the land will begin to take place.
Going back to the first story, it seems the Linear Shinkansen Station will take the role of the Naval Training Centre, and the Japanese government that of Katsu Kaishu. In the end, who will be the village headman?
Sept. 26, 2017