Venice, a City in Constant Movement
If you leave Isahaya Bay and head up a mountain trail with the seaside road at your back, then you’ll eventually reach the hot spring town of Unzen-Amakusa National Park. As you go, keep your eyes peeled for the signs showing the way to Unzen Kanko Hotel as you head up the tree-lined street, before finally encountering the hotel and its European chalet-like design.
Inside, the white-walled hall is crisscrossed with thick wooden beams and pillars. The tiled floor at the bar has been preserved since the hotel opened. The William Morris wallpaper in the guest rooms fits the dark, bucolic atmosphere perfectly. As for the signs, from their ironwork design to the calligraphy written upon them, the warmth of a human touch is unmistakable.
Unzen was originally a popular summer retreat for international visitors. In 1932, the government enacted a policy to attract foreign tourists, and so in 1935 Unzen Kanko Hotel was established. The hotel was seized by the US Army for a period after WWII, but it reopened in 1950 and has been in business since. The carefully selected furniture and furnishings are far from overstated and create an atmosphere that blends Japanese and Western aesthetic tastes. As you look out the window and see the smoke rising from the sulfur hot springs, it is almost a surprise to be reminded that this beautiful hotel is in a Japanese hot spring town.
Unzen Kanko Hotel