~~ Book 1904110922 ~~
Notes For Tourists to Miyanoshita and the
The same pamphlet was published in 1903. The only differences in the 1903 edition and this edition are the date on the front cover and the calendar on the back cover. In all other respects the books are identical.
The hotel was founded by Mr. Sennosuke Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi was a delegate on an early Japanese diplomatic mission to the United States and Europe (Iwakura Mission, 1871~1873). Because of this experience, he was determined to create a Western style hotel in the Hakone area catering to the tourist trade. On his return to Japan he purchased an established Japanese inn, the "Fujiya Ryokan" (Wisteria Inn) at Miyanoshita (pronounced "Mee-yan-o-shi-ta") in the Hakone District. This was a large two story Japanese style (non-Victorian) building configured in a "L" shape with two major wings. He renamed the Japanese inn the Fujiya Hotel and by 1878 it was catering to foreign tourists. This building was destroyed by fire in December of 1883. By 1885 Yamaguchi had reopened the hotel on an interim basis as a one story Japanese style inn which was know as the Aerie. I believe that this is an early photograph showing that structure. This building remained, at least as late as 1894, even after the new Fujiya Hotel was opened. A single story building called the "Eyrie" is shown in a ca 1964 sketch map and this is probably the Aerie.
Although the details are not clear, sometime between 1878 and 1883, Yamaguchi began construction of a grand replacement for the Japanese inn buildings using the Victorian style of architecture that was developing in the treaty ports. His architect was Heijiro Kawahara. While the new hotel was still under construction, it was destroyed by fire in 1883. Construction restarted in 1884 and by 1891 the main building of the new Fujiya Hotel was completed. In many photographs of the 1891 Fujiya Hotel a two story Western style building is seen to the right of the front of the hotel. This building was apparently completed in 1886, before the main building. It later came to be know as the Hermitage. The main building was distinguished by its Western construction combined with a tile roof and Japanese style gables. Basil Chamberlain Hall moved into the hotel ca. 1891 and resided there for 20 years. While the hotel advertises that it was founded in 1878, it appears very unlikely that guests were regularly accommodated in the main Western style hotel building until 1891. In 1893 the hotel was incorporated under the Japanese Commercial Code under the name Fujiya Hotel Co. Ltd. Sennosuke Yamaguchi died in 1915. His son, Shuichiro Yamaguchi, then assumed the presidency of the corporation. The hotel came under the management of H.S.K. Yamaguchi (1882-1944), the founder's son in law, around 1907 and remained so until his death in 1944 when the management passed to his son in law, K.M. Yamaguchi. During H.S.K. Yamaguchi's tenure you often see him listed as the "President" and K.M. Yamaguchi listed as the "Managing Director." Also, you find the hotel described as under the "personal management" of S. Kanaya, H.S.K. Yamaguchi's brother.
In 1906 two Victorian style cottages (Comfy Lodge and Restful Cottage) were added. The hotel complex was severely damaged in the great earthquake of 1923. By 1930 the complex was rebuilt/restored and an annex added. A large sun porch was added to the front of the main building during this reconstruction phase (1923-1930). The new building, know as "The Annex" contained a dining room, the "Dream Pool," a bar and billiard room and a shopping arcade. The dining room was finished in teak and contained 159 ceiling panels with paintings and 41 separate wood carvings. In total the ceiling panels featured 636 birds, 507 flowers and 238 butterflies and moths.
In 1936 construction was completed on another building in the Fujiya complex which was named the Flower Palace. This was considered to be the "deluxe wing" of the Fujiya Hotel. With the completion of the Flower Palace, the hotel complex had a total of 151 guest rooms which could accommodate 260 guests. This has remained relatively constant over the years and the hotel currently advertises that it "...accommodates a maximum of 300 guests in 146 western style guest rooms at the 5 hotel houses (Main Building, Comfy Lodge, Restful Cottage, Flower Palace and Forest Lodge."
The Fujiya View Hotel on Lake Hakone was also built in 1936. After World War II, the hotel purchased the Imperial villa in Miyanoshita and opened it as the Kikka-So. On a hill in the Kikka-so's Japanese garden is a one room house, the Reiju-an, used exclusively for the tea ceremony.
Shortly after the War ended the hotel complex came under US Army control and served extensively as a "Rest and Relaxation" (R&R) facility for occupation forces. The Fujiya Hotel was released from Army control in 1954 and the Fuji-View in 1958. The hotel complex underwent significant reconstruction in the 1960s. The Forest Lodge, a four story building with 45 guest rooms and two conference facilities ("Forest Rooms"), was added to the hotel complex in 1960.
Throughout the years, the hotel successfully made the experience more informed and efficient by publishing English language guides, railway time tables and maps for the visitor. The hotel also published English language books with the intent of informing the foreign visitor on Japanese culture, customs and geography. These books were titled We Japanese and M.S.K Yamaguchi was the moving force behind them. By 1949 the publication had expanded to a three volume book set. This material is discussed below.
In July of 1917 the hotel opened the fourth golf course built in Japan. It was a 7 hole course. In 1935 it was expanded into an 18 hole course and by 1937 the golf club house was completed. A ca 1932 hotel map and guide and a ca 1934 hotel flyer both note a 9 hole golf course. This must have been the situation as the hotel transitioned from the 7 hole course to the 18 hole course.
In the mid-1930s the hotel operated "The Fujiya Motor Service" or "The Fujiya Automobile Garage" with the head office in Miyanoshita. Hotel flyers boasted of 120 (Motor Service) or 170 (Automobile Garage) "high grade six passenger cars, each driven by an experienced chauffeur..." available for hire. This service also operated the Fujiya Buses.
A Western visitor to the hotel in 1895 described it in these terms:
A few minutes' further walk brought me to Miyanoshita -- 1400 feet above the sea -- quite a little mountain village, but one of the best-known health resorts in Japan. The region is wild and picturesque, and on a commanding site facing the valley is the famous hotel Fuji-ya, which is kept in European style, and is much patronised by foreign residents of Tokyo and Yokohama. Another hotel, situated quite near it, is Nara-ya, but Fuji-ya received the larger patronage by reason of its superior accommodation, cuisine, and service. (Journeys Among the Gentle Japs in the Summer of 1895 with a Special Chapter on the Religions of Japan, by Rev. J. LL. Thomas, London, Sampson Low, Marston & Co, 1897, 266 pp, at page 73)
Currently the hotel complex consists of 5 major hotel buildings; the Main Building, Comfy Lodge, Restful Cottage, Flower Palace and the Forest Lodge. The Comfy Lodge and Restful Cottage are know collectively as the "Seiyoka" and Heijiro Kawahara was the architect on these buildings as well as the main building. To see a ca 1964 sketch map ("Pictorial Map") of the Fujiya Hotel complex, click here. A ca 1964 "floor plan" of the hotel complex is here.
The Fujiya Hotel complex included more than the Fujiya Hotel. In the late 1930s, the Fujiya family of hotels included:
To see a ca 1964 sketch map of the Fujiya family of hotels and adjacent area, click here.
In addition many many famous guests such as the then-Crown Prince Hirohito, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, Albert Einstein, General Dwight Eisenhower, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Basil Hall Chamberlain, who was a permanent resident of the hotel for 20 years, the hotel is noted in particular for one infamaous guest. Josef Albert Meisinger, a member of the German Sicherheitsdienst (intelligence service), was arrested at the Fujiya Hotel on September 6, 1945 by American forces. He had been serving with the Germany Embassy in Tokyo. Information on Meisinger can be found here.
Fujiya Hotel Related Material:
For a current satellite view of the Fujiya Hotel, you can visit this WikiMapia: Japan web page.