oldest hotel in world

World’s Oldest Hotel Has Been Run by the Same Family for Over 1,300 Years

Imagine stepping into a place where history breathes through every wall, and tradition is woven into the fabric of everyday life. This is exactly what you experience at Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, the oldest hotel in the world, nestled at the foot of the Akaishi Mountains in Japan, also known as the Southern Japanese Alps.

A Timeless Legacy

Founded in 705 AD, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has been welcoming guests for over 1,300 years. This incredible feat has earned it a place in the Guinness World Records as the oldest continuously operating hotel on the planet.

Just 87 miles (140 km) from the iconic Mount Fuji, this historic gem offers more than just a place to stay; it offers a journey through time.

Photo via Booking

The Founding Story

The hotel’s founder, Fujiwara Mahito, established the inn during the Keiun era of Japanese history, at a time when Japan was still in its early stages of development. The inn was initially designed to provide rest and recuperation for weary samurai and travelers making their way through the mountainous region.

Over the centuries, it has hosted numerous notable figures, including shoguns, emperors, and modern celebrities, each adding to its rich tapestry of history.

The Heart of Japanese Hospitality

What makes Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan truly special is its deep-rooted commitment to the principles of Japanese hospitality, or “omotenashi.” This is not just a service; it’s a philosophy of anticipating and fulfilling guests’ needs with genuine warmth and care.

Every aspect of the hotel reflects this ethos, ensuring that each guest feels like an honored friend.

Photo via Booking

Personalized Service

The staff at Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan are dedicated to providing a personalized experience for each guest. From the moment you arrive, you are greeted with a warm smile and a sense of genuine care.

Traditional tea ceremonies, tailored dining experiences, and attentive room service are just a few examples of how the hotel goes above and beyond to make you feel at home.

A Sanctuary of Natural Beauty

The hotel’s location is a serene paradise, surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Akaishi Mountains. This region, also known as the Southern Japanese Alps, offers stunning views and a tranquil environment perfect for relaxation and reflection.

The hot springs, or “onsen,” are a highlight, providing rejuvenating waters that have soothed visitors for centuries.

The Healing Waters

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The onsen at Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan are fed by natural hot springs, rich in minerals that are believed to have healing properties.

These waters have been used for relaxation and therapeutic purposes for over a millennium. Guests can enjoy a variety of baths, including outdoor pools with panoramic views of the mountains, ensuring a deeply restorative experience.

Preserving Tradition

Staying at Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is like stepping back in time. The hotel has meticulously preserved its traditional architecture and decor, allowing guests to experience the elegance and simplicity of ancient Japan. Tatami-matted rooms, sliding shoji doors, and carefully maintained gardens transport you to an era where beauty and harmony were paramount.

Photo via Booking

Cultural Experiences

The hotel offers a range of cultural activities that allow guests to immerse themselves in traditional Japanese arts and crafts. From calligraphy lessons to ikebana (flower arranging) workshops, each activity is designed to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture.

These experiences are complemented by the serene ambiance of the hotel’s surroundings, making them truly unforgettable.

Modern Comforts in an Ancient Setting

While steeped in history, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan also offers modern comforts to ensure a pleasant stay. The blend of ancient charm with contemporary amenities creates a unique experience where you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Luxurious baths, exquisite kaiseki cuisine, and attentive service make your stay both comfortable and unforgettable.

Gourmet Dining

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The hotel’s dining experience is a highlight in itself. Kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, is prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients.

Each dish is a work of art, beautifully presented and rich in flavor. The hotel’s chefs are skilled in creating a harmonious balance of taste, texture, and color, ensuring that every meal is a feast for the senses.

A Must-Visit Destination

For those seeking to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of Japan, a visit to Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a must. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of traditional Japanese architecture, or simply in need of a peaceful retreat, this historic hotel offers an unparalleled experience.

Planning Your Visit

Located about 87 miles (140 km) from Mount Fuji, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is accessible yet remote enough to provide a peaceful escape. The journey to the hotel is an adventure in itself, offering stunning views of the Japanese countryside and the majestic Akaishi Mountains.

Photo via Booking

Travel Tips

To make the most of your visit, consider the following tips:

  • Best Time to Visit: Each season offers a unique charm. Spring and autumn are particularly beautiful, with cherry blossoms and vibrant fall foliage adding to the scenic beauty.
  • Travel Arrangements: The hotel is accessible by train and bus from major cities like Tokyo. Consider purchasing a Japan Rail Pass for convenient travel.
  • Packing Essentials: Bring comfortable clothing for exploring the area and traditional Japanese attire, such as a yukata, which is often provided by the hotel for use during your stay.

Final Thoughts

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is more than just a hotel; it’s a living testament to the enduring spirit of Japanese hospitality and tradition. With over 1,300 years of history, this remarkable establishment invites you to become part of its timeless story.

So, why not plan a visit and experience the world’s oldest hotel for yourself? Your stay will be a journey through time, offering memories that will last a lifetime.

Pack your bags, embrace the journey, and let Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan show you the true meaning of hospitality.

Whether you are soaking in the healing waters of the onsen, savoring a gourmet meal, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of the Akaishi Mountains, your visit to this historic hotel will be an unforgettable experience.

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