Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan

Coordinates: 35°33′15.9″N 138°18′21.7″E / 35.554417°N 138.306028°E / 35.554417; 138.306028
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35°33′15.9″N 138°18′21.7″E / 35.554417°N 138.306028°E / 35.554417; 138.306028

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan
Native name
西山温泉慶雲館
Company typePrivate
IndustryHospitality industry
Founded705; 1319 years ago (705) in Hayakawa, Japan
FounderFujiwara Mahito
Key people
Kenjiro Kawano (president)
Services
OwnerNishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Limited
Websitekeiunkan.co.jp

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan (Japanese: 西山温泉慶雲館)[1] is an onsen—a Japanese hot spring spa—in the Yamanashi Prefecture. Founded in 705 by Fujiwara Mahito, it is a prime example of shinise ("long-established business") and perhaps the oldest independent company in operation following the acquisition of construction company Kongō Gumi in 2006.

In 2011, the Keiunkan was recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest hotel in the world[2][3] despite the hotel facilities on site being only a few decades old.[4]

History[edit]

Keiunkan lies at the foot of the Akaishi Mountains. Since its founding, the spa has had all its hot water sourced directly from the local Hakuho Springs. The onsen was created by Fujiwara Mahito, son of an aide to the 38th Emperor of Japan, Emperor Tenji.[5][6] The springs gained popularity and attracted bathers from various parts of Japan.[7] The onsen's guests included Takeda Shingen, Tokugawa Ieyasu,[8] and current Emperor of Japan, Naruhito.[4]

The onsen was continually developed over its millennium of existence, with rudimentary pools in caves being replaced with more finished baths in wood huts, which were themselves replaced and refined iteratively over centuries. Keiunkan underwent its most drastic transformation in 1997 when dedicated lodgings were created and the business became a ryokan offering private rooms with futons and half board.[4] In 2005, private, free-flowing hot spring baths were added to every room.[8]

Until 2017, it was continuously operated by 52 generations of the same family (including adopted heirs) for over 1,300 years.[9] In 2017, no family members were willing to take over the business. Keiunkan’s general manager, Kenjiro Kawano, was selected as the new president. Because Kawano was unrelated to the owner he was unable to inherit Yushima, the holding company. Ownership of Keiunkan was transferred to a new holding company, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Limited, and Yushima was dissolved.[4]

Description[edit]

The hotel has 37 rooms, a kaiseki restaurant, and a moon-viewing platform. As of 2019, all rooms and facilities of the hotel have password free Wi-Fi. Tatami mats and classic art furnish the rooms. The staff wear nibu-shiki (two piece) kimono.[10] The hot baths' machinery pumps 1,000 liters of naturally heated water per minute[7] and there are plans to double that capacity.[6]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 西山温泉慶雲館 translates as "Western mountain onsen of the Keiun era". Japanese hot spring resorts are known as onsen and Keiunkan refers to the spa's foundation in the second year of the Keiun era.
  2. ^ "Oldest hotel". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Koshu Nishiyama Hot Spring | Keiunkan | [Official] English site". www.keiunkan.co.jp. Archived from the original on 31 August 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d Scott, Tom (13 March 2023). "Things are changing at the world's oldest hotel" (video). YouTube. Retrieved 16 March 2023.
  5. ^ Morris, Chris. The World's Oldest Hotel Has Been a Family Business for 1,300 Years Archived 14 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine Fortune. 16 January 2016
  6. ^ a b "Japanese family business profile: Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan". www.campdenfb.com. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan". Atlas Obscura. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Prior owners of Keiunkan ryokan, the world's oldest hotel, liquidate company". SoraNews24 -Japan News-. 18 January 2019. Archived from the original on 15 January 2020. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  9. ^ "A 1,300 year-old hot springs hotel that's in the Guinness Book of World Records". www.japanpage.net. Archived from the original on 9 February 2015. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  10. ^ "The World's Oldest Hotel: What It's Like to Stay at Japan's Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan". GaijinPot Blog. Archived from the original on 23 January 2021. Retrieved 15 January 2020.

External links[edit]