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Japanese family business profile: Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan

By Michael Finnigan

Founded in 705 AD and now in its 52nd generation, Japan's Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is today the world's oldest family business. With that sort of longevity, it's not surprising that the hot spring hotel has catered for some of Japan's most famed ancient samurai and sh?gun.





Fujiwara Mahito, the son of a well-known aide who served the 38th emperor of Japan, founded Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in 705 AD. The hotel has since had 52 generations of the same family operating the business, who have slowly modernised the space with each passing epoch. Just like the family behind the business, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan's hot spring has flowed without interruption. 




The hotel's longevity appears to lie in the family's long history of service: most reviews list Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan's customer service as being exemplary. Another defining feature is its traditional Japanese design. Last renovated in 1997, the hotel today has 37 rooms, a restaurant and a moon-viewing platform. All are in keeping with its original features.




Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is looking to become the hot spring resort with the most water produced per minute. By digging a new 888m well that delivers 1,955lt of water per minute, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan will expand upon its existing four open-air baths and two indoor baths—a smart move considering the lack of Wi-Fi in the remote location.