While hotels nowadays are constantly evolving by getting bigger, grander and more technologically advanced, it’s rare to see a property do the opposite and remain true to its original form and traditions. Having been run by the same family since 718, the 1,300-year-old Houshi Ryokan is the oldest still-running family business in the world.
Located in Awazu village, the luxury ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) is now run by the 46th generation of the same family. Although it has renovated some by expanding to 100 guestrooms which can hold up to 450 people, it still retains its façade and keeps up its long-standing values. Sitting above Awazu hot spring, the inn utilizes its waters which are still believed to cure illnesses and relieve stress for rheumatism or chronic skin diseases.
“The Houshi’s family responsibilities are: passing on our long history for future generations and to protect our hot spring,” says the hotel’s current owner at the beginning of the documentary. As you continue to watch the rest of the video, you’ll hear a beautiful story about family, perseverance and tradition. “To keep this ryokan in our ever changing world, that’s our priority,” he continues at around the 7:47 mark. Rates start at 450 euros per night (around USD $550).