Way back in the year 718, an entrepreneur named Houshi or Hoshi (depending on who is translating), opened an inn on the site of a natural hot spring in the Awazu region of central Japan. 46 generations later, the Hoshi Ryokan hotel has remained operated by the same family, making it the oldest family-run business in the entire world.
Up until 2011, Houshi Ryokan was also considered by the folks at Guinness to be the oldest hotel in the world. (It turns out that another Japanese hotel is slightly older than this one…) Filmmaker Fritz Schumann recently released a short documentary on the hotel and the family behind it:
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.
Here is the video:
Via Laughing Squid
Image courtesy Wikipedia