91-yr old condo-conversion in Tokyo blends old with new

Nestled down in a quiet and hidden location in Tokyo’s Hongo neighbourhood is a 91-year old building that was converted into condominium-type apartments several years ago, making it the oldest apartment conversion project in Japan.

The Kyudo Gakusha was built in 1926 as a student dormitory. It was designed by architect Goichi Takeda (1872-1938) and originally had 30 rooms, each about 10 sqm in size, as well as a common area with dining hall and library. The 3-storey building is one of Japan’s earliest reinforced concrete buildings.

The building fell into disrepair in the 1990s, with roof leaks causing serious damage to the 2nd and 3rd floors and rendering them unlivable. In the early 2000s, the owner had considered demolishing the historic building and replacing it with a block of studio apartments.

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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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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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