The historic Fujiya Ryokan in Yugawara, Kanagawa, has been sold to a fund and will re-open in 2018.
The sukiya-style building was built during the Meiji period (1868-1912), while the gardens date from the previous Edo period. The ryokan was a famed high-end onsen until its closure in 2002. Since then, the building has sit empty and unused.
Located 66 minutes by train from Tokyo, Yugawara Town has long been a popular hot spring resort area. However, tourist numbers started to decline several years ago. In 2015 the town had 3,100,000 tourists, which was half the number seen 20 years prior. To revive the town’s tourism industry, the local government has teamed up with five banks to both encourage and provide support for the renovation and re-use of the town’s empty houses, shops and hotels. At the center of this revitalization scheme is the planned re-opening of the old Fujiya Ryokan.
Last year, the Bank of Yokohama and REVIC (Regional Economy Vitalization Corporation) started a fund with an investment of 1 billion Yen (approx. 9 million USD) to acquire and restore historic and valuable buildings, with their first acquisition being the Fujiya Ryokan. The fund acquired the ryokan from the former owner in March 2017.
It will re-open in April 2018 with 17 guest rooms, a restaurant, and a cafe with library.
The Kanagawa Shimbun, March 30, 2017.
The Nikkei Shimbun, March 30, 2017.
Japan Tourism Agency News Release, March 29, 2017.