Nara Hotel (an old established hotel in Nara City, Nara Prefecture) (奈良ホテル)

Nara Hotel is an old established hotel which is located in Takabatake Town, Nara City, Nara Prefecture and opened in October, 1909.

Summary

It stands in the remains of the Daijo-in Temple on a small rise of land near Ara-ike Pond, and is near to the tourist spots such as Kofuku-ji Temple, Nara Park and so on. The main building, designed by Kingo TATSUNO and Yasushi KATAOKA, is a tile-roofing two-storey building made of Japanese cypress in Momoyama style (luxurious, splendid and decorative style created during Momoyama period). It remains the same as the opening. Once it was run by the government (the direct management of Ministry of Railways) to play a role of a state guesthouse in Kansai region. Even today, many celebrities stay at this hotel; imperial families mainly use this hotel when they stay in Nara. The paintings of Shoen UEMURA, Seison MAEDA and so on are put on the wall of the corridor.

At first fireplace was used for heating and lots of chimney pipes were put on the roof. When steam heaters were introduced during Taisho period these fireplaces were abolished and the chimney pipes were removed, but the mantelpieces furnished in each place such as in the lobby and so on still exist up until the present.

There is an episode when it was temporarily taken over by the allied forces after the war in 1945, U.S. soldiers tried to paint out the interior and exterior design considering them unclean, but the main part were protected while only a part where hands directly touched was painted vermilion-lacquered by the desperate persuasion of the hotel manager in those days; until the end of 1960s it kept the original form almost the same as the opening days, while the room arrangement of the interior design was changed.

Later, to expand the capacity for the Japan World Exposition '70 held in 1970, a new high-rise building was planned to be built at the south of the dining room of the main building, but because the area was under several regulations as for scenic reserve, it was called off when the basic foundation was completed of which a modern half-underground grillroom has been newly built on the base; in accordance with it, the unnecessary lounge was removed.

On this occasion, to compensate for the lack of capacity in the first plan for Wakakusa National Athletic Meet in 1984 and 'Nara Silk Road Expo' in 1988, the annex was began to be operated in 1970 using the higher storeys of Kintetsu Nara Station Building which was planned to be built at the same period, however, it decreased its necessity dramatically due to the new building of steel-reinforced concrete built in 1984 in Yoshino-tsukuri style (an architectural technique for building on a sheer cliff) by Japan National Railways, which was embedded by digging the south slope of rising ground where the main building stood, and was eventually closed in 1991 although running for a while after the closing of 'Nara Silk Road Expo.'

Now Nara Hotel Co., Ltd. manages the hotel with 400 million capital fund. Among them, West Japan Railway Company (JR West) invested 50 percents and Miyako Hotels & Resorts 50 percents. For this reason, it is under both JR West and Kinki Nippon Railway Company and it becomes a member of both JR-West Hotels and Miyako Hotels & Resorts. This was because a private railway (company) Kansai Railway Company, which was the predecessor of Kansai Main Line, purchased the area and built a hotel managed by Miyako Hotel in Kyoto (currently, The Westin Miyako Kyoto). The company was established in 1983 by joint capital investment of Japan National Railways (JNR) and Miyako Hotel at first, and later the investment of Japan National Railways was succeeded to JR West and the one of Miyako Hotel was to Kintetsu Hotel Systems Co., Ltd.

In the main building, the traditional furniture had been used for a long time by repeated repairs even after the completion of a new building, but in 2006 the bed clothes, the furniture, and the air conditioners were wholly renewed and it underwent a complete change.

Celebrities who stayed at the hotel

Foreign celebrities who stayed at the hotel.
Sergey PROKOFIEV: May 19 to 27, 1918, Russian composer
Bertrand RUSSELL: July 19, 1921, British mathematician
Albert EINSTEIN: December 17 and 18, 1922, physical scientist
Edward VIII (British monarch): 1922, British monarch (prince in those days).
Duke of Gloucester: 1929, British royal prince
Charles LINDBERG: 1931, American pilot
Fugi AISHINKAKURA: 1935, Emperor Manchukuo
Jose LAUREL: 1945, ex-president of Philippine, stayed for two months because of exile
Helen KELLER: 1948, American social welfare entrepreneur
Olivier MESSIAEN: 1962, French composer
Yvonne LORIOD: 1962, French pianist
Karlheinz STOCKHAUSEN: March, 1966, German composer
Audrey HEPBURN: March 31 to April 2, 1983, actress
Marlon BRANDO
Glenn FORD
John LENNON
Dalai Lama

Japanese celebrities who stayed at the hotel
Many of Imperial Family related people
Maresuke NOGI
Toshiro MIFUNE
Makoto ODA
Ikuo HIRAYAMA
Ryotaro SHIBA

Information on the surrounding

The garden of the Old Daijo-in Temple (neighboring)
Nara Park
Kasuga-taisha Shrine
Kofuku-ji Temple
Todai-ji Temple
Nara National Museum
Mt. Wakakusa
Nara-Machi