Posted on Nov 22, 2022 292
In the year 705, an enterprising Japanese Fujiwara Mahito opened a hotel. Probably this would not have survived in history, but the fact is that the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel welcomes guests even today, and in 2011 this institution was officially entered into the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest hotel in the world. Compilers of the book could not find more ancient hotel, preserved in the XXI century.
After Fujiwara Mahito died, his business passed to his son and then to his heirs. Now the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is run by the 52nd generation of the founder’s descendants. But all these years the owners of the institution were members of the same family! Fujiwara Mahito himself was an aide to Emperor Tenji. Perhaps the patronage of the emperor was one reason for the popularity of this hotel.
The hotel is in Yamanashi Prefecture on Honshu Island. There is no sea beach here, and it takes several hours to get to the famous Mount Fujiema. But the hotel owners do not complain about the lack of customers. That nearby are the thermal springs, so, to improve their health here come not only residents of Japan but also tourists from all over the world. By the way, the hotel itself is also heated by natural boiling water, which also flows into the water taps in the rooms.
In ancient times, the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel was popular among Japanese warriors who came here after battles to heal their wounds and thank the gods for staying alive in battle. The building itself has been rebuilt many times over the centuries, but its location remains the same.
There are now about 40 rooms and several baths, some of which are indoors and the rest are outdoors. Although the staff is sufficiently fluent in English, the traditions of old Japan are strictly preserved here. For example, the guests dine not at tables, but sitting on tatami. It is even recommended to wear traditional Japanese clothes. Despite the preservation of tradition, the prices here are quite on a modern level.
A night in a standard double room costs ¥35,000, which is more than $300. Tourists will be gladly told which emperor or noble warlord has stayed at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan before. For example, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogun dynasty.
The last time a major renovation was done here was in 1998. Although it was on the eve of the 21st century, the rooms have never had television or the Internet. After all, people come here to rest from the “good” of modern civilization, to be alone with yourself, to treat not only the body but also the soul.
For a long time, water procedures at the same time took both men and women. But, since the middle of the twentieth century for them allocated separate bathing. Or set a certain time for members of different sexes. Before the procedure should be thoroughly washed with soap and water. And in the bathing room, certain rules should be strictly observed. For example, you can not even talk loudly.
Thermal springs, and there are about 26,000 of them in Japan, are not a dirty business. But, even with chief competition, the world’s oldest hotel remains one of the most popular in the country.