A Special Place to Stay: Hoshi Ryokan is the World’s Oldest Hotel

November 1, 2011 By:Christopher Roney

There's a certain stature that comes with age. So when I learned that the oldest hotel in the world is approaching its 1300 birthday, I knew it was worth looking into.  Not only is the Hoshi Ryokan in Japan the oldest hotel and spa, it is also the world’s longest continuously operating business. Spanning 46 generations of family ownership and 1291 years of operation, this hotel and spa has been since nearly the decline and fall of the Roman Empire.

Anything this historic has to have an origin story, and the Hoshi Ryokan does not disappoint (some details embellished): In the year of 718, when the world was young, a great Buddhist monk, Taicho Daishi, set out on a journey of enlightenment. His travels took him to the top of sacred Mt. Hakusan, an ancient peak that bears the spirit of the god of the mountain. The deity came to him in a dream and offered up his secret: Only a few kilometers away, the village of Awazu houses a subterranean hot spring blessed by The Physician of Souls himself. Yakushi Nyorai, also known as the Nyorai of Emerald Radiance, is the Buddha who offers the gifts of physical and mental wellness to those in need. Daishi returned from the mountainside with his secret and unearthed the wellspring, where the sickened villages of Awazu bathed in its healing waters and were cured. Ever since, his disciple Hoshi’s family has run a spa at that very location, where people from around the world come to bathe in the holy waters.

I invite you to step a little bit outside of your comfort zone and experience the traditional lodgings of the world’s oldest hotel and spa.

Photo and Source: World's Biggest.


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