‘Ikaho-onsen’ hot spring resort north of Tokyo, the origin of it goes back to the 8th century, features ‘Ishidan’ long stone steps built in the 16th century.
This historical hot spring resort had attracted many well-known writers and artists since the ‘Meiji’ period in the 19th century, furthermore an Imperial villa and the summer residence of an ambassador from the Kingdom of Hawaii stood at the same time. Long steep stone steps, flanked with so many ‘ryokan’ Japanese style hotels, gift shops and restaurants, are its selling points.
Thanks to the developmennt of the public transportation system from Tokyo, Ikaho was at the zenith of prosperity before the second World War though, this resort has gradually gone out of fashion. The long stone steps became counterproductive, because Japan’s aging society is steadily progressing. However, many ryokans offer car transportation service across this hilly resort for the benefit of elderly people.
[posted by Masahisa Takaki]
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