Original Nikko Kanaya Hotel and Samurai House Foreclosed

*Update: The property sold to a private buyer for 33,000,000 Yen. They were the only bidder. It was then carefully restored, and registered as a Tangible Cultural Property in 2014. From 2015 onwards it has been open to the public.

The original 350+ year old Nikko Kanaya Hotel has been foreclosed on and is up for auction with a minimum bid set at 25 million Yen (320,000 USD). The house was originally built as a samurai residence in the Kan’ei era (1624-1644).  At the beginning of the Meiji era, James Curtis Hepburn, a Christian missionary who created the Hepburn romanization system for Japanese, stayed at the home, which was then the residence of Zenichiro Kanaya. Mr. Hepburn  suggested that the owner use his home as an inn for foreigners. The house soon became a popular spot for foreign guests and became known as “Kanaya Cottage Inn” and was later re-named “Kanaya Hotel.”

In 1893, Mr. Kanaya bought the ‘Mikado Hotel’ which was was in the midst of being completed and converted it into the current Nikko Kanaya Hotel. The new hotel is located 1 kilometer to the west of this home.

Isabella Bird, a 19th century English explorer, writer and historian, stayed at the Inn during her visit to Nikko in 1878.

In the past it was used as a sightseeing spot for hotel guests, but due to deterioration it is no longer open to the public. The buildings are currently being maintained by a live-in caretaker hired by the hotel. The grounds include a storehouse, shed and a pond. The rear of the property backs onto a bamboo grove.

Despite its famed history in Nikko, the property is not heritage listed.

The annual fixed asset and city taxes in 2011 were 664,626 Yen (approximately 8,480 USD).

Auction Details:

– Bidding Period: October 3 ~ October 10, 2012.
– Opening of Bids: October 19, 2012.

– Court Evaluation: 31,250,000 Yen (400,000 USD)
– Minimum Bid: 25,000,000 Yen (320,000 USD)
– Deposit (20% of evaluation): 6,250,000 Yen


1-25 Honcho, Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture
2.5km from Nikko Station

Property Details:

Land size: 3,342 sqm
House size: 291 sqm
Construction: 2 stories, wooden frame
Annual fixed asset tax:* 562,558 Yen
Annual city tax*: 102,068 Yen
*These were the figures for 2011. 



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