Houshi Ryokan was founded around 1,300 years ago and it has always been managed by the same family since then. It is the oldest still running family business in the world. This ryokan (a traditional japanese style hotel) was built over a natural hot spring in Awazu in central Japan in the year 718. Until 2011, it held the record for being the oldest hotel in the world. Houshi Ryokan has been visited by the Japanese Imperial Family and countless great artists over the centuries. Its buildings were destroyed by natural disasters many times, but the family has always rebuilt. The garden as well as some parts of the hotel are over 400 years old. Houshi (法師) means buddhist priest. It is the name of the family as well as of the hotel.