World’s oldest hotel, the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, located in the Japanese province Yamanashi, had been founded in 705 AD. According to the Guinness World Records it’s also the oldest company still in operation. It has been operated by the same family for 52 generations since its founding. It was first classified as the oldest hotel in history in 2011, the title was renewed in September 2013.
The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a hot spring hotel and all of its hot water is created deep in the bowels of the earth through natural processes and not artificially heated. It consists of six different kinds of hot spring, fed from four spring sources.
Located in a mountainous area near Kyoto, the hotel provides views down into the mountain valleys. The Minobu River runs right behind the hotel and there are views of the river from many of its rooms.
The success of this hotel is it’s ability to adapt to the requirements of each era and renew their services with modern means. Although it is a ryokan with traditional tatami mat-floored rooms, it’s mixed with elements of modern hotel design. The hotel is already 1,310 years old but many parts of the hotel complex remain unchanged from its earliest days.
The simplicity combined with unpretentious luxury attracts thousands of visitors who don’t mind at all being charged 700$ per night for a simple double room. Here’s the Japanese website if you’re interested in visiting.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is said to have been established by Fujiwara Mahito, son of Fujiwara Kamatari, who was a close aid to Emperor Tenji (626-671). The hotel was built deep in the mountains near Kyoto and was used for centuries by Kyoto residents and visitors. It was especially popular among the military class and artists.
I’d love to visit the oldest hotel in the world one day.
Interesting fact about Japan:
In 2009, a Japanese study found over 21,000 companies in Japan over 100 years old. In fact, the five oldest companies still in operation are all Japanese.
Not only do the Japanese live long lives, but they operate the oldest businesses in the world!