“Muyou no you”, meaning “Usefulness of the useless”
When one looks closer at the nature of this world, she or he can see that everything is made of opposites: the active and the pacific, the full and the empty, the useful and the useless,..etc. When speed, performance, and usefulness are all what we value, how can we measure Inner peace, ecstasy, and connection? Do they have any time performance? Are they any useful?
We heartily welcome you to our transcendent universe where Japanese Heritage, Tradition, Omotenashi hospitality, and Creative Innovation blend in harmony. Visit us and let yourself walk through the twisting corridors, following the murky lights that bespeak sheen of antiquity. Contemplate at each detail, symbol, message, painting, and workpiece, and merge in the mystic profundity of the atmosphere. Soak privately in the segregated indoor hot-spring bath “Shihoan”, surrounded by a serene zen-garden, or, sink with no resistance in the naturalistic open-air hot-spring bath ”Kongosen”. Allow yourself to just “be” and enjoy both: nothingness and abundance.
The Temple Lodge
Founded 800 years ago, Tosen Goshobo, which means “the Imperial Temple Lodge with clay-colored spring”, is the oldest Japanese-style inn in the sanctuary spa resort village of Arima. The original Ryokan was built by the venerated Buddhist monk “Ninsai” to honor one of the “Juni Shinsho”, the twelve divine generals of the Medicine Buddha, “Yakushi Nyorai”. The saint has built 12 “Bos” (Temple Lodges) in Arima, in honor to the twelve deities, however, only very few still exist. Among those few, Tosen Goshobo could preserve its timeless Aura, thanks to its inherited passion for hospitality that runs through 15 generations of the same managing family.
The Historical Inn
Since 1191, Tosen Goshobo resonated harmoniously with the flow of Japan’s dramatic political and cultural events, absorbing the good aspects of other cultures since the so-called Taisho democracy (1912 to 1926). One of the leading figures of this trend is Mr. Hirofumi Ito, who was four times Japan’s Prime Minister during the Meiji era (1868 – 1912), and who was one of our loyal patrons. A phrase in his handwriting, exhibited in one of our guest rooms showcases his admiration for Goshobo. The feminist and anti-war poet Ms. Yosano Akiko (1878 -1942), who was inspired during her visit to Arima, has beautifully illustrated the wind of change during the war in a tanka poem, describing the shower of falling cherry blossom petals swirling in the sky. The impactive view was in front of Tosen Goshobo.
The Poetic Integrity
Today, the three-story, yellow-earth colored building still maintains the inn’s nostalgic wooden style which was rebuilt in the 30’s, it stands silently in a leafy gland by the side of the limpid streams of the “Taki” river. Its inherited classical Japanese architecture incorporates an artistic integrity that allows new to mix gracefully with old, East to blend harmoniously with West, and poetic to mary unpretentiously with sophisticated convenience.
The Praise of Shadows
The building features 12 Japanese-style rooms-suites and 8 Japanese-style apartments, all with private facilities and balconies that open to city, mountain or courtyard views. Each room is a dedication to a particular Japanese man of letters or Artist that has been a loyal admirer of the inn.
Goshobo has long enjoyed the patronage of many artists including Junichiro Tanizaki (1886-1965), one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature. In his best known work “Sasameyuki” (or “The Makioka Sisters”), the heroine is actually modeled on one of his friend lady who often stayed at Tosen Goshobo. Mr. Tanizaki even stated in his other novel titled “Neko to Shozo to Futari no Onna” (or “A Cat, A Man, and Two Women”):
“I was thinking it’d be nice to visit Arima….It’s been ages since we went…. What do you say ?
” Well, then, should we make it upstairs at the Gosho-no-bo again?”
“It’ll be even nicer now than in the summer. We can see the autumn leaves, have a long, hot bath, take our time over supper―”.
The outstanding female author and poet Ms. Akiko Yosano (1878 -1942), was also a fan of the Inn and composed a Tanka ( Poem), describing the beautiful cherry blossom trees in front of Goshobo. The famous poet, Eiji Yoshikawa (1892 – 1962) has also wrote a Haiku (a poem) that depicts the mountain stream flowing beside the Inn. The handwritten haiku is displayed in the guest room where he stayed and wrote the poem. Today, guests can privately enjoy these exhibitions of writings and art collections in each room.
Since 1980′s, we have been very fortunate to follow our hospitality journey in collaboration with the artist Watanuki Hirosuke, MUHOAN. Together, we have been able to express more concretely our heritage, our passion, and our shared values and sense of Beauty: an authentic harmony of East and West. The collaboration has brought rebirth to the new style of goshobo.