One of Tokyo’s oldest Ryokans to be demolished this year

Choyokan Hongo Bunkyo 1

One of Tokyo’s older ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) is set to close at the end of March, ending 112 years of operations. Choyokan-honke is located in Hongo, Bunkyo-ku – an area that was once bustling with ryokans and old bathhouses. During the 1920s there were over 120 ryokans in the neighbourhood, but by the 1960s the number had dropped to around 50.

The building is schedule to be demolished in the summertime. It will then be replaced with a high-rise condominium.

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Iseya Pawnshop sold to University

Bunkyo Iseya Pawnshop 1

The owner of the historic Iseya Pawnshop in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, signed a contract of sale with Atomi University on March 11. The price has not been disclosed, although some reports suggest it sold for around 130 million Yen (1.07 million USD).

The property includes a 2-storey warehouse dating from the 1850s ~ 1860s, a tatami room dating from 1890 and a shophouse dating from 1907. The pawnshop operated from 1860 to 1982, and was mentioned in author Ichiyo Higuchi’s writings. The three buildings were registered as Tangible Cultural Properties in 2003.

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150+ year old warehouse and shop in Bunkyo-ku at risk of demolition

Iseya Bunkyo

The owner of a historic shop in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo announced plans to demolish the building and sell the land after having difficulty in maintaining the 150 year old property. Local residents have formed a group to oppose demolition and held a public symposium on December 17th to call for urgent action to protect the property.

The former Iseya Pawnshop, located alongside the Hongo-Kikuzaka slope, operated from 1860 to 1982. The property consists of three buildings including a 2-storey warehouse, shop and a 1-storey tatami room. The traditional warehouse dates from the Bakumatsu era, or the closing days of the Tokugawa shogunate (1850s ~ 1860s) and was relocated from Shikihama in Adachi-ku to its current location in 1887. The tatami room was built in 1890 and the shophouse was built in 1907.

Ichiyo Higuchi, a prominent author of the Meiji period who is featured on the 5,000 Yen banknote, mentioned the store in her writing as she lived in the neighbourhood for several years.

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Historic lodging house “Hongokan” to be demolished in August


Built in 1905, Hongokan is Japan’s oldest 3-storey wooden lodging house. The L-shaped building has approximately 70 rooms and a total floorspace of 1500 sqm which is very large in scale for a wooden structure.

It was built by an aristocratic family from Gifu Prefecture and was initially used as a boarding house for the Tokyo Girl’s Highschool (now known as Ochanomizu Women’s College), but soon became a high-grade lodging house that provided luxury accommodation.

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