The Guinness World Record for “the oldest hotel in the world” is currently being held by Keiunkan Inn in Hayakawa, Yamanashi region. It was built in 705 A.D. and has since been visited by a number of Japanese Emperors like daimyo Takeda Shingen and shogun Tokugawa Leyasu.
Its precise location is in the Southern Alps of Yamanashi Prefecture right in the heart of nature in this beautiful region. It is the ideal location where one can retreat from the busy schedules and hurly-burly of city life.
The inn is built on top of hot springs, and this therefore means that the visitors who go there have a chance to enjoy the hot spring baths. What’s more, the shower facilities in each room are piped with pure water from the same springs. As a matter of fact, the water is used everywhere in the inn, with an exception of only the toilets, hence making it a very luxurious travel destination.
Japanese reporter Yoshio had the opportunity to experience the life there first-hand, and he therefore stayed in this hotel. This is the report he gave after his stay:
As earlier stated, the whole inn uses water from the hot springs at the site. You can take a look at how amazing this is from the photos below. The reporter emphasizes on how the water was of very high quality, and the views were amazing, especially that of the valley. The remarkable thing is that the baths are open to anyone at any time of day or night.
The building constructed in a Japanese fashion has 35 suites for guests. The suite in which our reporter stayed in had two large rooms within it, which gave him a great deal of space to relax. The cleanliness was top-notch. The only potential issue is the fact that the charges are a little on the expensive side, with the total amount being US$269 per night.
Meals are served at your room, at the times you choose. The food mostly comprises of fresh ingredients gotten from the nearby river or mountains. Even an enthusiastic and vigorous eater would be satisfied by this food, since there always was more than enough. ‘Unusual foods’ did not lack on the menu. An example is ‘acorn soba’.
Breakfast and dinner were quite similar in terms of quantity of food served. For instance, Keiunkan serves okayu rice porridge with breakfast instead of the usual white rice. This kind of rice is very beneficial though. The quality of both meals was always superb.
The only thing that struck Yoshio as far as hospitality is concerned is the fact that there was no adequate information about the history of the place. At least by virtue of the fact that it is the oldest hotel, there should at least be some kind of info made available to its visitors.
No one, including the staff seem to know about the history of Keiunkan, even though they are proud of the position it holds in the Guinness World Book of Records. All the in-depth questions directed at them went unanswered.
The staff also seemed not to put as much weight on the importance of the place, in that they worked in a casual manner. Even though Yoshio was not so pleased with the service, the baths were more than excellent, and the cuisine amazing. In the near future, more signs that elaborate on the hotel’s history should be put up, and the staff educated about the essence of the place.