Hot springs

A Long-Established Ryokan Founded in 1630 and Popular with Foreigners

06-29-2018

A Long-Established Ryokan Founded in 1630
and Popular with Foreigners

—Tonosawa Ichinoyu Honkan—

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Tonosawa Ichinoyu Honkan, a long-established ryokan in Hakone, a prime hot-spring resort not far from Tokyo, is becoming popular with foreigners. Individual foreign travelers now account for 40% of its total clientele. One of the reasons for this support is that reforms at the ryokan aimed at improving “productivity” have led to increased customer satisfaction. Let’s take a look at this new approach of a traditional Japanese-style inn.

Tangible cultural property built more than a century ago

 After an uphill walk of about 10 minutes along National Highway No. 1 from Hakone-Yumoto Station, a busy transportation hub, the Tonosawa area comes into view, with its civil engineering heritage, including a bridge constructed in the early Showa period (1926–89), and inns designated by the state as tangible cultural properties. The view might not be so unusual for Japanese, but in the eyes of foreigners, it is very much a scene of Japan in bygone days. Go a little farther, and you really do feel as if you are walking in a theme park.

Guests are welcomed by the ryokan’s imposing entrance. This print of the late Edo period by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797–1858) shows the Ichinoyu inn (on the right of the bridge).

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