When we think of hotels, we typically think of modern, luxurious accommodations that offer all the amenities and comforts we could possibly desire. However, did you know that the oldest hotel in the world is still in operation today? The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, located in Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, was founded in the year 705 A.D. and has been operated by the same family for 52 generations. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the history and significance of this fascinating piece of Japanese culture.
The Beginnings of the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan was founded by Fujiwara Mahito, a nobleman who was searching for a hot spring that could help him recover from an illness. He discovered a hot spring in Hayakawa and built a small inn around it, which eventually grew into the hotel we know today. The hotel was named “Keiunkan,” which means “the hall of continued peace,” and it quickly became popular among the aristocracy of the time.
Throughout its long history, the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has survived numerous natural disasters, including earthquakes, floods, and fires. However, the hotel has always been rebuilt, and the hot spring that was the original reason for its founding still flows today.
The Unique Experience of Staying at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan
Staying at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. The hotel has retained its traditional Japanese architecture and design, and the rooms are decorated with tatami mats, shoji screens, and futons. The hot spring baths are also an essential part of the experience, and guests can enjoy soaking in the same waters that have been used for over a millennium.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan #inn since 705 AD the oldest #hotel in the world 🏨 recognized by #GuinnessWorldRecord 🏅Fujiwara Mahito founded in 2nd year of Keiun era 🇯🇵 52 gens of his descendants caring for it ever since. 37 rooms at $470 per night. pic.twitter.com/tzStYgblvx— Effendy D. Wirawan (@EffendyDW) June 22, 2018
In addition to the hot spring baths, the hotel offers traditional Japanese meals made from local ingredients. Guests can also participate in cultural activities such as tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and kimono dressing. The hotel’s location in the beautiful mountains of Yamanashi Prefecture also provides opportunities for hiking and enjoying the natural scenery.
The Significance of the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, Oldest Hotel in The World
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is not only significant because of its age but also because of its cultural and historical importance. The hotel has been a place of rest and healing for over a thousand years, and its hot spring waters are said to have therapeutic properties that can help alleviate various ailments.
The hotel’s location in the mountains also played a significant role in Japanese history. During the Edo period, the hotel was on a popular travel route between Tokyo and Kyoto, and many samurai and merchants stopped there on their journeys. The hotel’s owner at the time was even granted permission to bear the Tokugawa family crest, a significant honor in feudal Japan.
In addition, the hotel has been visited by many famous figures throughout history, including the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho and the American author Lafcadio Hearn. These visitors were drawn to the hotel’s unique combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and therapeutic hot springs.
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is not only the oldest hotel in the world, but it is also a testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage and history. Its traditional architecture, hot spring baths, and local cuisine offer a unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else. By visiting this remarkable hotel, guests can connect with Japan’s past while enjoying its natural beauty