Take a look at the world’s oldest hotel
IN EAST ASIA, there’s a resort that has been around for longer than our ages combined – the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan.
Located at the foot of the Akaishi Mountains (also known as the South Japanese Alps) in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, the hot spring hotel was founded in 705 AD.
To put this into perspective, that’s some 300 years before the Vikings came to America and 225 years before the founding of the kingdom of England.
Passed down from generation to generation of the same family, including adopted members of the family, it was first operated by Fujiwara Mahito.
Mahito’s descendants, all 52 generations for over 1,300 years, have been diligently operating this historical treasure with impeccable hospitality and carrying on the family legacy.
Nestled in the mountains in a remote valley, the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan offers splendid views of nature and the sprawling wilds of Japan.
Expect to be completely undisturbed and at peace as the nearest attractions are hours away.
Walking down the corridors of the landmark inn will undoubtedly transport you back to Japan of the yesteryear, as countless numbers of guests have over the centuries graced the same corridors and rooms.
In fact, the rooms have hosted everyone from politicians to samurai and military commanders in the past.
If authentic Japanese hot spring experience is what you desire, then look no further than Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan.
The foundation of the hotel has all its water sourced directly from the local Hakuho Springs and almost everything in the hotel is run with the help of the hot springs.
It has been said that the hot springs have been free-flowing without interruptions since the hotel’s opening in 705 AD.
Guests can enjoy the healing properties of one of its four outdoor baths, said to be particularly popular during the warring periods because of the beneficial effects it has on aching muscles.
Don’t fancy open-air baths much? Then have all the privacy you need at either one of its two indoor baths. Some of its rooms also have access to a private pool.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan’s historical building may have been last renovated in 1997, but everything remains traditional.
The rooms are furnished with tatami mats (Japanese-style flooring material) and traditional art.
Aside from its luxurious spring baths and cozy rooms, the hotel also has a restaurant which serves its trademark koshu beef (beef produced from cattle raised on feed blended with wine) and a karaoke bar.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is truly the place to visit for those who want to discover Japan’s heritage.
In 2011, the hotel was officially recognized by the Guinness World Records as the oldest hotel in the world.
Price: From JPY52,000 (US$460) per night, inclusive of a kaiseki (traditional multi-course Japanese gourmet dinner) and breakfast.
Address: Japan, 〒409-2702 Yamanashi Prefecture, Minamikoma District, Hayakawa, 西山温泉.
For more information, visit its website.