Impacts of Tourism

A Legacy of Cultural Preservation and Modernity in Hakone

Main image to the post A Legacy of Cultural Preservation and Modernity in Hakone

A Cultural Gem in Hakone

The Fujiya Hotel in Hakone, Japan, is more than just a place to stay. It's a living piece of history, a cultural property that offers guests a unique opportunity to experience the past while enjoying modern comforts.

Founded in 1878 by Sennosuke Yamaguchi, the Fujiya was one of the first resort hotels in Japan. Its proximity to Yokohama, a foreign settlement at the time, made it a popular destination for international travelers. The hotel's founder, inspired by foreign buildings in Yokohama, built The Main and the Comfy Lodge & Restful Cottage in a similar style.

Over the years, the Fujiya has been passed down through generations of the Yamaguchi family, each contributing their own unique vision to the hotel's development. Shozo Yamaguchi, the third president, focused on temple- and shrine-style buildings, while Kenkichi Yamaguchi, the fourth president, introduced a modernist style with the Forest Wing.

In 1998, the hotel's main buildings were designated as Tangible Cultural Properties, recognizing their historical and architectural significance. This designation led to a major renovation project in 2018, aimed at preserving the hotel's cultural heritage while ensuring its safety and functionality.

The renovation involved meticulous work to reinforce the buildings for earthquake resistance and fire prevention, while preserving their original character. The dining room, for example, required careful planning to install modern equipment without compromising its historic charm.

The result is a hotel that seamlessly blends the past and present. Guests can enjoy the elegance of a bygone era while benefiting from modern amenities and technology. The Fujiya Hotel stands as a testament to the importance of preserving cultural heritage and adapting it to the needs of the present.

Beyond the hotel itself, the Yamaguchi family is also dedicated to preserving smaller cultural properties. Their home in Hakone, built in 1930, is a Registered Tangible Cultural Property and is now used as a private guest house. This initiative demonstrates the effectiveness of using lodging as a means of preserving cultural assets.

The Fujiya Hotel and the Yamaguchi family's commitment to cultural preservation offer valuable lessons for the future. By finding innovative ways to balance protection and utilization, we can ensure that our cultural heritage remains vibrant and accessible for generations to come.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09