Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Tucked away in central Japan is an inn that has been in the family for 1,300 years. Just as remarkable is the tale of the current family members keeping that lineage alive, beautifully told by filmmaker Fritz Schumann.
The video is getting quite the Internet love at the moment, and for good reason. It was posted to Digg and tells the story of Houshi Ryokan, an inn that has been run by the same family since 718.
Schumann states on the video that was uploaded to Vimeo, "Houshi Ryokan was founded around 1,300 years ago and it has always been managed by the same family since then. It is the oldest still-running family business in the world."
As you see, keeping the remarkable feat alive is no small accomplishment:
Houshi (english) from Fritz Schumann on Vimeo.
More information on the inn, including location and accommodations can be found at the official website.
There we happened upon an intriguing history for the location, which relays the story of Buddhist teacher Taicho Daishi who in 717 is said to have been told by the "deity of Hakusan" the following:
"Lying 20-24 kilometers from the base of the mountain is a village called Awazu. There, you'll find an underground hot spring with wondrous restorative powers that Yakushi Nyorai (the Physician of Souls) has bestowed upon it. The people of the village, however, do not known of this good fortune. Descend the mountain and head to Awazu. With the people of the village unearth the hot spring-it will serve them forever."
The South China Morning Post reported on Zengoro Hoshi back in February, offering the following on the inn's legacy: "Following the death of his eldest son, Hoshi is preparing to transfer the inn to his grandson, who represents the 48th generation of the family."
While we couldn't track down a firm answer on the current hopes for the inn, the video certainly makes it seem as though Zengoro is still waiting for his daughter to grant the family an heir in marriage.
While the hot spring continues to bubble life into the inn, the pressure to maintain a lineage doesn't seem lost on his daughter.
It's here that we find the most compelling aspect of the documentary. Sure, covering an inn that has been passed down 46 times is astounding, but it's the story within the tall tale that resonates so powerfully.
The family is like any other, dealing with tragedy, expectations and love in their own special way. We are just so grateful that an unbelievable feat of ownership afforded a curious lot on the Internet a chance to glimpse a truly marvelous family.
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