Naraya Hotel (Ryokan), Hakone, c. 1910.

1910sArchitectureCommerceMt. Fuji/Hakone
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Naraya Hotel (Ryokan), Hakone, c. 1910. The ryokan was located across the road from its rival and more famous inn, the Miyanoshita Fujiya Hotel. Built in 1887, the Naraya closed in 2000 when its owners were unable to pay a steep inheritance tax. All that was left to Yoshikazu Ando, the 14th in the family line, was scrap wood and a legacy — which he turned into the Naraya Cafe, Miyanoshita’s newest “hip” hangout.

See also:
Fujiya Hotel, Miyanoshita
Miyanoshita Village, Hakone, c. 1910

“The Nara-ya was first built about the time of the fifth Tokugawa shogun, Tsunayoshi (1646-1709). It started life as a honjin – an inn designated for the daimyo nobility traveling on the Old Tokaido Highway. In 1873, the Meiji emperor (1852-1912) stayed there while his villa was under repair, and members of the imperial household used it frequently in 1896.

“The original Nara-ya was burned down in 1876, and again in 1885. It once had a Western-style hall so unusual that it was recorded in a book called The Most Famous Places of Japan, but the hall too fell prey to fire in 1889.

“Although most of the buildings at Nara-ya now date back only to the turn of the century, they have many spectacular architectural features. Intricately carved gables in the bathroom of the honkan have a playfulness of design that you cannot find in modern architecture.”

Classic Japanese Inns & Country Getaways, by Margaret Price, 1999

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