Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hoshi Ryokan

Hoshi Ryokan is a hotel and hot spring spa in Komatsu, Japan said to have been founded in 718, so coming up on its 1300th anniversary. It has been in the same family for 46 generations. No, the Japanese records going back to 718 are not really good enough to make this certain, but there is some documentation. So why not? Obviously the buildings are a lot newer than that, but they are lovely. Interesting video here.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

To be fair, as onsen are typically remote locations up in the mountains, their isolation affords them a great degree of protection from external influences, and I can very easily believe at least a few of them date back that far and further. After all, the same sort of thing occurs with churchs, castles, and the like elsewhere in the world - to say nothing of cities that have constantly been built up on a single site since the Classical Era.

Anyway, onsen themselves amuse me a bit, because they've got that stereotypical Japanese beauty and traditional aesthetic that we Westerners so strongly associate with serenity and contemplation and enlightenment and all the rest of that nonsense, but in reality they're essentially giant party houses full of very drunk and very noisy people cutting loose and being rowdy. It's a nicely humanizing contrast that undoes some of preconceived notions that we inherit as outsiders looking in on a culture whose reputation has been distorted by centuries of Orientalism.