When we think of ancient history, we don’t typically imagine hotels welcoming guests as early as the 8th century. However, incredibly, there is a hotel that first opened its doors over 1300 years ago in 705 AD.

Here’s a quick answer: The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Hayakawa, Japan is recognized as the oldest hotel in the world still in operation today.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the fascinating history of the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, how it has continued to operate for over 50 generations, what you can experience by staying there today, and why it deserves its Guinness World Record title as the oldest hotel.

The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel

If you’re wondering which hotel was opened in 705 AD, look no further than the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel. Located in Hayakawa, Japan, this historic hotel holds the title for being the oldest hotel in the world.

Location in Hayakawa, Japan

The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel is situated in the picturesque town of Hayakawa, nestled in the stunning mountains of Japan. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes and serene natural hot springs, it offers a tranquil and rejuvenating experience for its guests.

First Opened in 705 AD

What makes the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel truly remarkable is its rich history. It was first opened in the year 705 AD, during the reign of Emperor Monmu. For over 1,300 years, it has stood as a testament to the enduring tradition of Japanese hospitality.

The hotel’s longevity is a testament to the exceptional service and captivating atmosphere it provides. Guests can step back in time and experience the elegance and charm of ancient Japan while enjoying modern amenities and comforts.

Run by the Same Family for 52 Generations

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel is the fact that it has been operated by the same family for an astonishing 52 generations. This unparalleled commitment to preserving tradition and providing exceptional hospitality has contributed to the hotel’s enduring success.

Each generation has passed down their knowledge, expertise, and passion for hospitality, ensuring that every guest who walks through the doors of the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel receives a truly unforgettable experience.

So, if you’re looking to immerse yourself in history and experience the warmth of Japanese hospitality, a stay at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan Hotel is a must. You’ll not only be staying in the oldest hotel in the world but also be a part of a legacy that spans over a millennium.


The Hotel’s Enduring Legacy Over 13 Centuries

Founded by Fujiwara Mahito in 705 AD

The hotel in question, known as Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, holds the distinction of being the oldest hotel in the world. It was founded by Fujiwara Mahito in the year 705 AD during the reign of Empress Genmei.

Located in Hayakawa, Japan, this historic establishment has been welcoming guests for over 13 centuries.

Developed from a Private Hot Spring

Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan was developed from a private hot spring discovered by Fujiwara Mahito’s father, Fujiwara Mahito. The natural hot spring water has been a key attraction for visitors seeking relaxation and rejuvenation.

The hotel’s architecture and design have evolved over the centuries, blending traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern amenities to provide a unique and comfortable experience for guests.

Survived Natural Disasters and Wars

Throughout its long history, the hotel has withstood numerous challenges, including natural disasters and wars. Despite being located in a region prone to earthquakes and typhoons, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has managed to endure and maintain its operations.

Its strategic location and sturdy construction have played a crucial role in its survival, earning it a reputation for resilience.

Maintained Ancient Japan Traditions

One of the remarkable aspects of Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is its commitment to preserving ancient Japanese traditions. From the architecture and interior design to the culinary experiences and hospitality, the hotel strives to provide guests with an authentic taste of Japanese culture.

Visitors can immerse themselves in traditional tea ceremonies, enjoy kaiseki cuisine, and even don traditional Japanese attire during their stay.

The enduring legacy of Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a testament to the power of longevity and adaptation. Over the course of 13 centuries, this historic hotel has not only survived but thrived, continuing to attract visitors from all over the world who seek a glimpse into the rich history and traditions of ancient Japan.

Historic Features and Hotel Design

When it comes to historic hotels, one that stands out is the Hoshi Ryokan in Japan. This remarkable establishment, which was opened in 705 AD, showcases a fascinating blend of traditional Japanese architecture and design.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the unique features that make this hotel a true gem.

Traditional Japanese Architecture

The Hoshi Ryokan embraces the essence of traditional Japanese architecture. Its design is a testament to the country’s rich cultural heritage. The hotel’s exterior features a striking combination of wooden structures, intricate carvings, and delicate paper walls.

This attention to detail creates a sense of serenity and tranquility that is truly captivating.

Old-Style Low-Slung Wooden Buildings

The hotel’s buildings are constructed in the old-style low-slung wooden architectural design. This design emphasizes simplicity and harmony with nature. The use of natural materials such as wood and stone creates a warm and inviting atmosphere that takes guests back in time.

Walking through the corridors of the Hoshi Ryokan feels like stepping into a different era.

Tatami Mats and Futon Bedding

One of the distinctive features of the Hoshi Ryokan is the use of traditional tatami mats and futon bedding. These traditional elements provide guests with a unique and authentic experience. Tatami mats, made from woven straw, cover the floors of the rooms, creating a soft and comfortable surface.

Futon bedding, consisting of a mattress and a quilt, is laid out on the tatami mats, offering a cozy place to rest and sleep.

Hot Spring Baths and Zen Garden

The Hoshi Ryokan is renowned for its hot spring baths, known as onsen. These natural thermal baths offer a rejuvenating and relaxing experience for guests. The hotel also features a beautiful Zen garden, which serves as a peaceful oasis where visitors can meditate and find inner peace.

The combination of the hot spring baths and the Zen garden creates a harmonious environment that promotes both physical and mental well-being.

Visiting the Hoshi Ryokan is like stepping back in time and experiencing the rich history and culture of Japan. Its historic features and traditional design elements make it a truly remarkable destination for travelers seeking an authentic and immersive experience.

Experiencing Centuries of History as a Guest

Imagine staying at a hotel that has been welcoming guests for over a thousand years. Well, you don’t have to imagine it because there is a hotel that fits this description. The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, located in Japan, holds the title for being the oldest hotel in the world, with its doors first opening in 705 AD.

Sleeping in Traditional Japanese Rooms

When you stay at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, you have the unique opportunity to experience sleeping in traditional Japanese rooms. These rooms, known as ryokans, are designed with tatami mats, low furniture, and futon beds.

The minimalist style promotes relaxation and a peaceful night’s sleep, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the rich history of the hotel.

Bathing in Original Hot Spring Source

One of the highlights of staying at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is the chance to bathe in the original hot spring source. The hotel is built next to the Keiunkan Hot Spring, which has been flowing for centuries.

The natural mineral-rich waters are believed to have healing properties and provide a truly rejuvenating experience. Soaking in these thermal waters is a perfect way to unwind and connect with the ancient traditions of Japanese hospitality.

Tasting Local Cuisine

As a guest at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, you’ll have the opportunity to indulge in traditional Japanese cuisine. The hotel’s restaurant serves a variety of dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, offering a true taste of the region.

From fresh seafood to seasonal vegetables and delicate flavors, every meal is a culinary delight. Don’t miss the chance to savor the flavors of Japan while immersing yourself in the hotel’s rich history.

Learning about Japanese Culture

Staying at the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is not just about enjoying luxurious accommodations and delicious food. It’s also an opportunity to learn about Japanese culture. The hotel offers various cultural activities and experiences, such as tea ceremonies, calligraphy lessons, and traditional Japanese music performances.

Immerse yourself in the traditions and customs of Japan and gain a deeper understanding of its rich cultural heritage.

So, if you’re looking for a truly unique and historic hotel experience, look no further than the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan. It’s a chance to step back in time and be a part of centuries of history while enjoying the best of Japanese hospitality.

Earning the Title of Oldest Hotel

Being recognized as the oldest hotel is a prestigious title that comes with a rich history and a testament to the establishment’s enduring popularity. One such hotel that holds this distinction is the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Japan, which opened its doors in 705 AD.

This remarkable feat has earned the hotel a place in the Guinness World Records as the oldest continuously operating hotel in the world.

Guinness World Records Recognition

The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan’s claim to fame is not just a mere assertion. In 2011, it was officially recognized by the Guinness World Records for its impressive longevity. The hotel has been serving guests for over 1,300 years, and its continuous operation is a testament to the dedication and commitment of its owners and staff.

The hotel’s management has meticulously maintained the traditional architecture and ambiance, allowing guests to experience a taste of ancient Japan while enjoying modern amenities. With its serene hot spring baths and breathtaking natural surroundings, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan continues to attract visitors from around the world.

Proven Longevity Compared to Other Historic Hotels

While there are several historic hotels worldwide, the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan stands out due to its proven longevity. Many other ancient hotels have undergone extensive renovations or have changed ownership over the centuries, but Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has remained in the hands of the same family for over 50 generations.

Comparing the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan to other historic hotels, such as the Hoshi Ryokan in Japan or the Zum Riesen in Germany, it becomes clear that the former has truly stood the test of time. This remarkable achievement sets it apart from other contenders and solidifies its place as the oldest hotel in the world.

Legacy of Japanese Hospitality

The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is not merely a relic of the past; it is a living testament to the enduring legacy of Japanese hospitality. The hotel’s staff, trained in the art of omotenashi, ensures that guests are treated with unparalleled warmth and respect, making their stay an unforgettable experience.

This commitment to exceptional service has been passed down through generations, preserving the essence of Japanese culture and tradition. Visitors to Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan can expect to be greeted with a genuine smile, offered traditional Japanese cuisine, and immersed in the calming atmosphere of the hotel’s hot springs.


The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan has amazed visitors and historians alike by remaining in continuous operation since it first opened as a hot spring hotel in 705 AD. By maintaining its traditional architecture, family management, and ancient spring source for over 1300 years, this iconic Japanese hotel thoroughly deserves its Guinness World Record as the oldest hotel globally.

A stay here is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to experience living history from the 8th century to today.

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