Japan has a long-time issue of a declining birthrate, which has brought about the closing of around four hundred to five hundred schools in Japan per year. Osori Elementary School on the Izu Peninsula of Shizuoka Prefecture is one educational institution that was unfortunately closed. It was founded in 1892 and shut down in 1973 with only 45 students.
This may have been the end of the school but it was just the beginning of its new purpose as a hotel. It was opened as Hotel Yamabikoso in 1976 with Japanese-style rooms converted from old classrooms. As of this time, it is accepting reservations for August to September 2017.
With the increasing number of tourists in Japan, many office buildings and closed down schools are being converted into hotels. This is considered to be a great alternative to building new infrastructures from scratch. It is also cheaper and less time-consuming.
There is even a forecast that births will decline further in the future, thus different sectors of the government are reconsidering the roles of schools being the core of the communities. Osori Elementary School reached a peak of 241 students in 1942 but the number declined year by year. Since people were more interested in obtaining their education in the big cities, a great deal of the student’s population decreased which resulted to its shutting down.
Hotel Yamabikoso is managed by Nishi-Izu-cho. It offers a simple accommodation through its Japanese-style rooms equipped with tatami floors. The building has retained most of its school atmosphere but you can no longer see school materials like textbooks, of course.
There’s no private bathroom or shower in the hotel so you can freshen up in a shared hot spring bath located indoors. There’s also an outdoor pool with the same natural water source. You can enjoy bathing there with the other guests while relaxing in the outdoor atmosphere. The hotel has a communal seating area where you can relax and a row of sinks for you brush your teeth or wash your face.
The rural location is an ideal destination for people who are looking for some peace and quiet and who would like to retreat from the bustling city life. Since the area is located in a mountain village, guests can also go hiking or trekking. The place creates a nostalgic atmosphere which you can’t usually find in other countryside hotels. If you’d like to make a reservation, you can visit their website linked below. You must be traveling in a group of two or more.
Hotel Yamabisoko gives guests a chance to experience the sea, mountains, river, and all of nature’s beauty in one place. The hotel’s rustic elements create charm and added value to the stay. It is considered to provide one of the best experiences for children and adults who’d like to get in touch with nature.
Hotel Yamabikoso website *Japanese only