Companies face continuous changes in market environment, tough competitions, and changes in management along time. Therefore, not all companies survive. Only some of the succeed to remain in market and run their business for long. Therefore, old companies feel proud of their history. That is why we see poster with something like “since 1905”, “since 1891”, or something similar.
Speaking about “old”, can you guess what is the oldest company in the world? And when was it established?
You may feel surprised when you know that current oldest company is running since 705 AD! … this means more than 1300 years ago, and they are still working till today.
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan
Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a hotel in Japan that started in 705 AD and it is open until today. The hotel is a hot spring hotel at the foot of Akaishi Mountains, in a town named “Hayakawa” located about 3-hours driving to west of Tokyo. since its start, the hotel has been continuously operated by 52 generations of the same family for over 1,300 years. Recently, this is added in Guinness Records.
Therefore, next time you travel to Japan, you may live the history in the oldest hotel in the world.
if that will be your first time to travel, you can know how to plan your trip.
The full name of the hotel is “Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan”. Let us split it:
In Japanese language, Nishiyama is two words that mean Western Mountain. Onsen means Hot Spring
Regarding Keiun, we should say that Japanese history is divided into eras (periods of time). Each era marks an event or series of events and has a unique name. “Keiun” is a name of an era that spanned the years from May 704 through January 708. As mentioned before, the hotel started in 705, which is the second year in Keiun era.
By putting the puzzle pieces together, we can say the name “Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan” represents the hotel that lies at the hot springs next to the mountain and started operating in the second year of Keiun era.
History of Mahito family business
The hotel was established “Fujiwara Mahito”. He was the son of an aid to emperor. One day, Mahito was on the way for hunting, he discovered hot water sprawling between the rocks by chance. By trial, he found that water had a refreshment effect on his body.
Later, Mahito opened a road in a steep mountain, built a hot tub, and it became possible to tell villages that There is a hot spring hidden in the neighborhood. that was the origin of “Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan”. and it has stayed in Mahito’s family for an astounding 52 generations.
Along the years, numerous citizens and numerous samurai warriors have visited Nishiyama Onsen Keigunkan to enjoy the water from the hot spring. Moreover, and generals visited the hotel during the Warring States Period that lasted around two centuries (from 15th to 17th century).
Oldest company today
The hotel has got its recent renovation in 1997. Today, the hotel has the modern facilities such as air conditions and TVs. However, it keeps the same look and feel of traditional Japanese culture.
The hotel has only 35 rooms and can accommodate up to 130 customers. Prices per room varies from around USD 350 to more than USD 600. All rooms have baths and showers with free flowing spring water. In addition, the hotel has rooms for meetings and conferences as well. all of that is there without losing the touch of history.
All images are from hotel website.
A writer & GIS consultant … Studied the Management of Technology … dreaming with a better world.