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Hoshi Ryokan

February 28, 2009

The always excellent Kirainet has some photos and info about an amazing ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) that is the oldest hotel in the world. Get this: It opened in 717 (or 718) and has been operated by the same family for 46 generations!!! That’s 1,300 years of continuous operation!

From the post:

One night in Hoshi Ryokan costs around 350 USD per person with breakfast and dinner included. They also offer activities like tea ceremony or guided tours around the area. The best thing they offer are the hot springs, known in Japan as onsen.

In Japanese onsen, usually girls and guys bath in different areas, but there some traditional onsen where everyone, men and women, baths in the same “pool” ;) In the case of Hoshi Ryokan, there is an outdoor mixed bath area (露天風呂).

Here’s the ryokan’s website (in English), and here’s a microscopic tv commercial for it.

This reminded me of my trip a few years ago to Shima onsen, in Gunma prefecture.  It was a long, cold bus ride from Tokyo to get there, but it might have been the greatest place I’ve ever been. The ryokan we stayed in may not have been 1,300 years old, but it was very old. In fact, the main building was the inspiration for the enormous bathhouse in SPIRITED AWAY.

Absolutely Perfect.

Absolutely Perfect.

Click on the pics for more pictures of Shima onsen…

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