I reside in Hillsboro, Missouri. We have our historic places. There is the Governor Thomas Fletcher House, which was built in 1851. Sandy Creek Covered Bridge was built in 1872 and has been claimed a historic site. “Old” in the USA, however, is quite a bit different than old in other areas of the world. Governor Fletcher’s House is showcased each Halloween for a little get together and history tour. The covered bridge is a nice place to stop by and have a picnic lunch. If you ever come to our tiny town, be sure to stop by and check it out.
Recently, I found out about three very old places that also happen to be the three oldest still-running businesses in the world. They are located in Japan and guess what? They are hotels; hotels that were founded around hot springs. Perhaps those springs are liken to a Fountain of Youth, for businesses anyway. It also makes me think that perhaps meeting planning could actually the oldest profession in the . . . . well, never mind.
Nisiyama Onsen Keiunkan was founded in 705 AD! Due to its hot springs, the hotel enjoyed warm water way before its competition. The place has been around so long that both Ghengis Kahn and the US Marines Corps can be counted amongst those who tried to conquer the area. You can make a reservation at their website, though you may need a translator on hand to do so. It’s worth a look, however, as they do display their certificate from the Guinness World Records for being the oldest hotel.
Hoshi Ryokan was founded a mere 11 years after Keiunkan. What makes this place especially interesting is that it has remained in the same family throughout the centuries! Okay, so in all reality, this has to do with a Japanese tradition of adopting promising young men in their 20s. To be head honcho, however, the young men must also take on the name of Zengoro Hoshi, of which there have been 46 so far.
Next in line is Sennennoyu Koman, founded in 717 AD. This hotel came along during the time of the Samurai; which may also lend to its staying power. I mean, who wants to mess with a Samuri!
Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but I need to start seeking out my own hot springs to leave as a legacy to my kids and grandkids and great grandkids and beyond. When I get it built, will let you know (of course, there will be plenty of meeting space!).