Major Japanese Venue Closing

Yamaha announced it is closing its Tsumagoi Resort in the central Japan prefecture of Shizuoka on Dec. 25.

The Yamaha Tsumagoi Resort opened in 1974 and soon became one of the premiere venues for large outdoor concerts. In 1975, it was the first place to hold a large-scale rock festival, even if only two artists played there, but over the years many of Japan’s biggest rock and pop artists have performed at Tsumagoi. Yamaha’s Sept. 2 announcement took the city of Kakegawa, where Tsumagoi is located, by surprise.

The mayor gave a press conference where he expressed “deep disappointment,” according to the Mainichi newspaper. Tsumagoi is credited with putting Kakegawa on the map, and had become one of the city’s “most precious resources,” attracting people from all over Japan. In addition to the large outdoor concert venue, the resort also contains a golf course, tennis courts and other sports facilities; a large indoor concert hall; and 232 hotel rooms.

The entire resort covers 1.4 million square meters. Tsumagoi is most famous as the host venue for the Popular Song Contest, or POPCON, which began in 1969 and moved to Tsumagoi when it opened in 1974. The contest brings together amateur musicians from all over Japan, and was the launchpad for some of the country’s biggest stars of the ’70s and ’80s. Since POPCON ended in 1986, Tsumagoi has been a prime training ground for athletes, especially archers, as the Ministry of Education has designated Tsumagoi an official venue for traditional Japanese archery. Many of the Japanese athletes who competed in the 2016 Olympics in Rio trained beforehand at Tsumagoi.

The mayor’s biggest regret in this regard is that the city was expecting foreign teams who would be participating in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Olympic Games, both of which will take place in Japan, to use Tsumagoi as a pre-tournament training facility. Yamaha has not revealed what it plans to do with the resort, and the city of Kakegawa is urging the company to transfer management to another entity so that it can continue to attract users and visitors. As the mayor pointed out to the Mainichi, there is no comparable facility in central Japan. However, an anonymous insider told the Mainichi that the facilities require a great deal of renovation, and Yamaha doesn’t believe it’s worth it.