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  • Shona McCarthy

OYO Yamamoto Ryokan, Fukuoka

Updated: Mar 16

When you visit Japan, you'll sometimes run into places that are frustratingly modernist; devoid of flavour and personality. But then other times, you'll come across places you can't find anywhere else, that make you feel as if you're taking a thrilling step back in time. I happened to stumble upon such a place while I was scrolling around online. So, I collected some images of this place from Booking.com and HotelsCombined.com so you too could embrace the vintage splendour of Yamamoto Ryokan, Fukuoka!

The thing about visiting really old places like this is that they predate the contemporary Japanese reproduction buildings. They are the old original old buildings where layers of mod-cons have been put on top over time. They aren't a new place trying to look like a ryokan. They are just ryokans doing what ryokans do. An added quirk with this one is that a friendly dog wanders the building and greets guests. Oddly, it seems to be cheaper to book this place on HotelsCombined.com. I have no idea why.


I wanted to try to find out if the building had any special historical significance. So, I tracked down the official website:

It turns out you can see the lobby and front of the building on Google Street View:

In fact, if you explore the website, you'll find they've embedded explorable 3D images of the hotel rooms and facilities, so you can get a sense of what being there would be like. But they didn't want to share anything about the building itself, except to say that it had been a hotel for a very long time. But they really wanted to emphasise that the hotel is forward facing; that they are trying to keep the rooms up to date with modern technology. But hey, I'm more interested in it for that funky sense of history.

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