The latest coronavirus-related closure in Japan’s hotel industry is the heritage-listed Kappo Ryokan Tamagawa in Funabashi, Chiba. On May 19, the operator announced that the ryokan had closed permanently at the end of April. No time will be wasted, with demolition of the 92-year old ryokan to start as early as June.

Cancellations of banquet and guest bookings began to seriously affect operations from March. The old buildings were also facing increasingly costly maintenance and repairs. 

The ryokan was founded in 1921, with the oldest building currently dating from 1928. The buildings were registered as a National Tangible Cultural Property in 2008.

The ryokan has 30 guest rooms, several large banquet rooms, and rotenburo-style outdoor hot spring baths. It rose to fame after famed fiction writer Osamu Dazai was a guest for several weeks in 1935. He apparently had trouble paying his bill, leaving behind a French dictionary and fountain pen as payment. Despite surviving several disasters including WWII and the 2011 Tohoku disaster relatively unscathed, strong typhoons and heavy rain in recent years have left their toll on the ageing, wooden structures. 


Minatocho, Funabashi City, Chiba

The Nikkei Shimbun, May 19, 2020.
The Chiba Nippo, May 19, 2020. 
The Sankei Shimbun, May 19, 2020.