This Japanese Hotel Has Been Run by the Same Family for the Last 1,300 Years
Called the Hoshi Ryokan, this Japanese hotel has been run by the same family for the last 1,300 years.
The Japanese inn has opened in the Ishikawa prefecture in 718, according to historical documents, and since then 46 generations of the Hoshi family have run it.
The business is the oldest-family business still opening in the world and almost the oldest hotel in operation.
Where do you make reservations?
The hotel which still exists today is a popular tourist attraction and can be booked through ho-shi.co.jp.
About the current family who is running the hotel, a short documentary has been made, all that after the disaster struck in 2013, when the oldest son died.
And this is bad for the tradition, because according to it, only the oldest son may take over the business, but Zengoro and his wife Chizuko Houshi, the current owners, have only one daughter, named Hisae.
The short documentary is directed by German photographer Fritz Schumann and features interviews with each of the three members of the family.
In the interview, Zengoro says, ‘Since I was born and first cried, everyone told me I would take over the Hoshi Ryokan.’
He describes growing up in such a bucolic setting and that he ‘loved rooms in which [he] could play hide and seek.’
How many generations?
Zangoro is part of an arranged marriage with Chizuko for fifty years, and he is the 46th generation to be at the inn’s wheel.
The hotel has hundreds of rooms where can sleep up to 450 people. When guests arrive to the hotel are greeted with tea and given a Yukata, which is a traditional Japanese cotton Kimono, to wear to induce relaxation and set the tone for the rest of their stay.
Zengoro says: ‘Only one thing hasn’t changed: Hoshi’s hot spring has always been flowing. But other things have changed a lot.
We used to have parties every day and many hostesses and geisha would come. Now most of our guests are families.’
When the hotel entered the Guinness Book of World Records?
Unsurprisingly, the hotel was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest hotel in the world in 1996, although that honor has since been given to another property that was discovered to be even older.
‘A Buddhist monk built a temple on Mount Hakusan,’ says Zengoro in the documentary. ‘He was our first ancestor, therefore we believe in Buddhism. He adopted a boy and named him Zengoro. All my ancestors took this name.’
Hisae says, ‘There were times that I wished I hadn’t been born as a member of Hoshi. Before I started working at Houshi Ryokan I graduated university and worked as a doctor’s secretary. I was learning what I was interested in.’
She has now taken on many of her late brother’s duties and is feeling the pressure.
‘I have many unimaginable responsibilities now and it is a heavy burden on my mind. ‘ ‘I think I’m a weak person but people close to me think I’m a mentally strong person. I’m often crying.’
Hisae has yet to marry and who she or her parents help chose for her will be pivotal for the businesses future. Whatever happens next, keeping the inn going is the family’s priority.
‘Losing our son brought us into the worst emotional situation’ says Zengoro, ‘but everything is changing around us so we have to follow it.’
‘To keep the hot spring and the hotel running youngest daughter is the right person to do it.’ ‘We will be waiting for her.’
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