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Ranking of Accommodations Designated as National Cultural Properties Announced!!

The online booking site, Rakuten Travel, announced a ranking of inns that are designated as cultural properties by the Japanese government. The ranking is based on ratings by customers between Monday, February 1, 2016 and Tuesday, January 31, 2017, of accommodations that are either a "tangible cultural property," "important cultural property," or "national treasure."

No. 1: Nishiyama Honkan, a Registered Tangible Cultural Property in Hiroshima

Ranked No. 1 is Nishiyama Honkan, a 2-story wooden structure built during the Taisho Period (1912-1926), the entirety of which is registered as a tangible cultural property with the national government. So all guestrooms here are part of a registered tangible cultural property. The 2-story and 3-story wooden buildings are intricately designed so that all guest rooms face a small courtyard and guests can enjoy the scenery that changes with the seasons. The guestrooms include sukiya-style Japanese rooms, as well as western-style rooms designed for foreign sailors, reflecting the inn's history as a port city ryokan. Guests here left reviews such as "Nishiyama Honkan is in a charming, old building, and the interior is very clean and comfortable", and "It is a marvelous inn where we could relax as if we were at home."

No. 2: Yatsusan-Kan, a Ryotei Ryokan in Gifu

At Yatsusan-Kan, the ryotei ryokan established 160 years ago that ranks No. 2, three buildings are registered as tangible cultural properties: The shoka-style main building, Shogetsuro, built during the Meiji Period (1868-1912); the Ohiromaren, with a large room with 100 tatami mats that acts as the entrance; and the Dozo storehouse with white walls by Seto River, which is a tourist attraction. In addition to staying in a guestroom in the main building, guests can see and experience various parts of the historic interior, including the Hida Shoya style lobby in the main building with a high atrium and sunken hearth, a lounge with a hibachi table, a parlor built in 1935 with carefully selected furnishings, and a library where you can pick books from a teahouse cabinet from the early Showa Period (1926-1989). One guest commented that "It is an inn that is very valuable historically. The wonderfully dignified building is well maintained and complemented with just the right furnishings, and even the slight creak of the floorboards added to the charm."

No. 3: Bansuiro Fukuzumi in Kanazawa

At Bansuiro Fukuzumi in Kanazawa, which came in 3rd, guests can stay in the Mansuiro or Kinsenro buildings, both of which are pseudo-Western style buildings that blend Western-style architecture and Sukiya-style architecture and were the first buildings of a ryokan inn to be designated as important cultural properties. The skills of Meiji Period (1868-1912) craftsmen are evident throughout the buildings, such as in the spacious guestroom with a large engawa balcony with 48 paintings on the ceiling depicting such motifs as Mt. Fuji and flowers; the latticework on the sliding shoji doors, including ones with trompe l'oeil drawings, which are different between guest rooms; and the spiral staircase with lights designed to cast just the right amount of light onto the rooms. Guest reviews include comments such as "I was impressed by the variety of designs by builders from the Meiji Period," and "They have calligraphy and picture scrolls by famous people hanging unassumingly. It is admirable how they carefully retain and utilize valuable property."

We hope you will refer to this ranking to experience an inn that is designated as a Japanese cultural property and is full of Japan's charms. [This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 03.13.2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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