About the Hotel
Recognised as the oldest hotel in the world, the Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan has been in business since 705 AD. Passed down 52 generation, the 1311 year old hotel (yes you read that right!) is still a rage among tourists thanks to its excellent hospitality and ethnically attuned decor. Read on to more about this place and why it’s an experience worth having:
Located at Hayakawa, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, the Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan was founded in 705 AD and has been among the oldest hotels in operation as confirmed by the Guinness Book of World Records in the year 2011. Founded in the Keiun era, (hence the name “Keuinkan”) this 1300 year old inn was visited by the town’s most prominent citizens.
Set in the backdrop of the ice capped mountains with a hot spring flowing nearby, the Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan is well known for its scenic and historical charms. With such a rich history and a fascinating tale of longevity, the Keiunkan Inn has been a gracious host to people from different centuries, generations, cultures, countries, and hierarchies of life. Set snugly in the foothills of the Southern Japanese Alps, the hotel has always enjoyed the awe of tourists because of the hot springs that have flowed since its inception all those centuries back.
Among the world’s oldest historical inns, the Nishiyama Osen has been a witness to most of the west’s known history. It was built some 300 years before Vikings invaded America and 225 years before England even existed! It’s set in the same region as Mount Fuji (a world heritage site listed by UNESCO); tourists can enjoy a magnificent view of the mountains on their way to the Keiunkan Inn. Popular since the warring periods, this hotel was frequented by both military and common folk. It is also said that Tokugawa Ieyasu visited the inn twice during the war times of unification of Japan.
It is surprising how a simple family hotel business has survived the test of time, and has continued to offer the same top notch service for centuries without compromising on the quality. The excellent ratings and customer recommendations have made Keiunkan inn among the longest running family organisations. A comfortable, homely place set amongst the mountains and hot springs, the Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan is the ideal destination for tourists who want to escape the din and chaos of urban life.
A firm acknowledgement of the deep set traditions along with the flexibility to adapt has been the success mantra of Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan. Offering calm peaceful accommodation, every inch of this surreal hotel is witness to the glorious era of gallant warriors and magnificent kings. Last renovated in 1997, the Keiunkan hotel is not exceptionally large or grand. There are 37 rooms in all – some with open baths while others offering special moon view platform along with a lounge, a karaoke bar and a restaurant famous for its local kosh beef.
Passed along 52 generations, each of which has contributed to the gradual growth and development of the place, the Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan Inn has sure has come a long way from the days of the samurais. Today the place is considerably larger than it was a thousand years ago and offers the guest a decent share of modern facilities apart from the charms of yore. But it is interesting to note that though the inn has changed with the changing times, the fundamental charms of the place remain the same. This juxtaposition of the old and modern is what makes the place so special; its basic look and feel is still rooted in705 AD and not 2016, that’s the magic!
Built by Fujiwara Mahito in 705 AD, the Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan has been managed and administered essentially by the close knit family; no wonders, the trade secrets of this hotel stay in the family. The guests are especially impressed by the considerate bilingual hotel staff that caters to all their whims and fancies. And although the place is surrounded by natural hot springs, more springs were dug about a mile underground in 2005. Guests can enjoy the relaxing baths anytime of the year as the place has constant hot water supply. About 430.5 gallons of water are pumped at about 125.6 degrees F every minute.
The authentic, simply decorated rooms offer all the necessary facilities required for a comfortable stay. Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan, with its rich heritage, offers visitors a diverse cultural experience blended with the modern amenities that make their stays memorable. The exteriors and room decor is uniform across the building, with only some minor variations.
Keiunkan has four open baths, two indoor baths as well as four natural hot water springs rich with sodium, calcium nitrate and chlorine right from the deepest chasms of the earth. The rooms are spacious and sparsely furnished with authentic Japanese furniture. Also check out the lavishly decorated suit rooms where guests can enjoy the luxury of modern facilities in the blissful lap of nature. Some of the features and facilities offered by the inn are listed below:
- Daily housekeeping
- Complementary tea, closet, towels, slippers, TV in selected guestrooms
- Special services of transport for disabled guests
- Spacious airy rooms and large windows with spectacular views of Mount Fuji
- Uninterrupted access to the hot springs nearby
- Pamper yourself with the spa and complementary massages
- Helpful and cheerful staff always at your service.
Perhaps the best thing about Nishiyama Osen Keuinkan Inn is its ability to adapt to the changing times without losing its fundamental values. This place has stayed true to its roots but also developed with each generation, offering visitors the best of both worlds. The Keiunkan Inn is a treat for the senses. The natural scenic beauty, relaxing hot springs and mouth-watering fare serving the best of authentic Japanese flavours would remain with you long after you’ve returned to your usual lifestyle.
The hot springs have been a major attraction and are the lifeline of the place; the hotel sources almost all of its water from the springs. You can also find a pretty hot water spring fountain made from rock, right at the entrance. Here you can enjoy the picturesque views the Hayakawa and Yukawa ravines from the windows while sipping Japanese tea… sounds wonderfully blissful right? And although there have been a few changes, the core vibe of the place remains attuned to traditions; the rooms are still furnished with authentic Tatami mats and classic Japanese paintings and artwork.
Travellers from all over the world have visited this place to experience the best of Japanese culture. The airy rooms and glass windows allow plenty of sunlight that only adds on to the beauty of the place. Even the wooden construction accentuates the authentic oriental style. All in all Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan offers a quiet peaceful stay where guests can enjoy long refreshing baths and the revivifying mountain air.
You can enjoy the views from the windows of your room, or choose to explore the charming surroundings on foot. Since the hotel is located near the airport, guest can easily get any mode of transport to visit the nearby attractions. The place also offers excellent opportunities for sightseeing; guests can also check out the famous tourist spots nearby, such as the Mount Fuji, Zenko-Ji Temple and Jigokudani Monkey Park. All these locations are about a 3 hour drive from the hotel.
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How to Book:
Because of its warm and inviting atmosphere and hospitality, Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan has always been a favourite among tourists. Let’s tell you a few tips to make your stay all the more memorable and enjoyable:
- Check out the authentic architecture and wooden construction of the place to understand the historical significance of the place better.
- Make a list of all the nearby locations and try visiting Mount Fuji if you can.
- Hire a local guide who can provide more information on the tourists attractions which you might otherwise miss.
- Try the delicious Japanese cuisine, (the Keiunkan inn has its own restaurant famous for its Koshu beef)
- Other than that you can even check out sushi and other scrumptious dishes from the lavish courses laid by the hotel (kaiseki or multi-course tasting menus)
- Ensure that you get to experience the legendary hot springs that were once frequented by samurais and great warriors!
- Savour traditional Japanese culture. Wear the Japanese robes provided by the hotel, the place even provides wooden slippers.
Cut off from the world, set in the lap of nature, Nishiyama Osen Keiunkan has been a silent witness to more than 1000 years of Japan’s history and culture with nostalgia for company.