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The World's Oldest Continuously Running Hotel

Nestled in the misty woodlands at the foot of Japan’s Akaishi Mountains, the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has welcomed guests for over 1,300 years, making it the oldest continuously running hotel in recorded history, according to Guinness World Records.

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, the world's oldest hotel
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan.

Fujiwara Mahito, the son of a powerful aristocratic family, discovered hot springs in the area in A.D. 705 and decided to establish a ryokan - a traditional Japanese hot springs hotel. It has been operating ever since.

Today, the main attractions are the hotel’s six hot spring baths. The springs, which contain crystalline, drinkable water fed by the nearby mountains, have run uninterrupted since the inn’s opening. Four of the baths are outdoors, while the two indoor baths are available by reservation only, making them accessible to people with tattoos, says CNN. Although displaying tattoos isn’t illegal in Japan, many spas, gyms, hot springs, and beaches prohibit people with visible body art from entering due to its association with yakuza gangs - a perception that’s slowly changing. Besides inducing relaxation, the springs are believed to help alleviate conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders and muscle pain.

All images credit Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan

The 37 bedrooms at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan come with tatami mats, futons, hanging scrolls that serve as art, gorgeous views, and spring water showers. Guests are served gourmet meals by kimono-clad staff in a private room at a reserved time for their five-course dinner.

If you fancy adding this ryokan to your bucket list, prices start at around $400 per night.


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