Last month, Hakone’s historic landmark Fujiya Hotel announced that they will be temporarily closing the hotel from April 2018 to conduct necessary earthquake retrofitting and refurbishment. The hotel will re-open in Spring 2020.
Fujiya Hotel’s main building was built in 1891 and is registered as a National Tangible Cultural Property along with the Comfy Lodge, Flower Palace and Kikka-so Inn Annex. Famous past guests have included Charlie Chaplin, Helen Keller, John Lennon, Prince Albert, Emperor Showa and the current Emperor and Empress of Japan.
The restaurant in the 122-year old Kikka-so Annex building, which was originally a holiday villa of the Imperial Family, will continue to operate as normal during the refurbishment.
On March 17th Kanagawa Prefecture released details on public buildings in the prefecture that were built to the old earthquake codes (i.e. buildings built before 1981). Based on earthquake resistance inspections, 58 of the buildings were found to pose a high risk of collapse or destruction in an earthquake producing a seismic intensity (shindo level) of 6+. Buildings included the Asahigarakami District Government Office Building, Hakone Fujiya Hotel, and the St. Marianna University School of Medicine Hospital’s main building in Kawasaki.
Some of Fujiya Hotel’s buildings had earthquake resistant seismic indexes of below 0.30. Anything under 0.30 poses a high risk of collapse or destruction in a shindo 6+ or 7 earthquake.
The 58-year old Hakone Hotel Kowaki-en will be closing indefinitely from January 2018. The main building had a seismic index of 0.25.
The Prince Hakone Lake Ashi Hotel’s main building was designed by Togo Murano and built in 1978. It had a seismic index of 3.38, putting it well above the safety guidelines.
The Nikkei Shimbun, March 7, 2017.
The Nikkei Shimbun, March 18, 2017.
Kanagawa Prefecture Homepage, March 17, 2017.