Goshoboh was established in 1191, during the early period of Kamakura era (1185 - 1333). The property was the adjacent Inn to the one and only hot-spring Bathhouse of Arima, and was called then “Yuguchiya”, meaning the entrance of the Bathhouse. According to the travel diary of Fujiwara no Teika “Meigetsuki”, literally “The record of the beautiful moon”, it is recorded that in December 1208, slightly after the establishment of Goshoboh, Fujiwara-no-Teika, the famous poet from the aristocratic family Fujiwara, has visited Arima which was bustling with aristocracy and nobility. According to the report registers of the chief governing body of the Kujoh family during the third year of Kenmu period (1337), the Inn Yuguchiya was managed by the aristocrat family “Kujoh” who also managed the shrine of the hot-spring “Tohsen Jinja”.
During the end of the 14th century, the highly ranked Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who ministered Japan with full authority during that period, visited Arima Onsen, and stayed at “Yuguchiya”. Following this historical event, the Inn was called “Gosho”, meaning “Imperial”.
Zuikei Shuho, who was the 50th chief priest of the Shōkoku-ji temple in Kyoto, and who served Muromachi Shogunate's 6th general Ashikaga Yoshinori and 8th general Ashikaga Yoshimasa, also visited Arima Onsen in April of the first year of the Kyotoku era (1452), as recorded in his travel diary where he wrote about the historical origin of the designation of “Gosho”.
Since the 11th year of the Tensho period ( 1483), the shogun lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, also regarded as Japan's second "great unifier”, visited Arima multiple times, accompanied by his wife “Kitano Mandokoro NeNe” and Tea Ceremony historical figure “Sen no Rikyu”, among many other artists and influential personalities of that time. During the 3rd year of the Bunroku Period (1594), in order to build for his wife the Yuyama Palace in Arima Onsen, Lord Hideyoshi slightly moved the wooden building of Goshoboh to its actual location by the side of the Taki river.
During the early Meiji period (1868 - 1912), Japan opened the country to foreign trade and diplomatic relations, and allowed foreign settlements in several areas. At that time, foreigners were permitted to circulate only across a limited zone surrounding the settlements.
When the Port of Kobe was opened in 1868, Arima Onsen was within that circulation zone for foreigners living in Kobe, and was the first hot-spring resort area they frequented in Japan. There were many hotels exclusive to foreigners along the Takimichi street, the Kiyomizu Hotel for instance was known among many others. Many foreigners also had their second houses in Arima where they enjoyed long family vacations. After the destructive Kanto earthquake in 1923, many men of letters moved to the Kansai area, where they were influenced by the culture of foreign settlers who were mainly Europeans. This blend leads to the birth of a unique culture in the Hanshin area between Kobe and Osaka. As a historic symbol in Arima hot-springs, Goshoboh also took part in the formation of that unique culture. One could see that inside the traditional wooden property, an elegant indoor dance hall displayed some exquisite floor parquetry and French made stained glass. The place is still almost intact and used as a salon library.
Among men of letters who moved to Kansai area after the Great Kanto Earthquake, was the well-established novelist Tanizaki Jun'ichiro, whose novel “A Cat, a man, and Two women”, published in 1936, depicted the Inn Goshoboh as follows:
“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-boh 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―”. Non official translation.
It is not strange at all that the author of the famous essay “In praise of Shadows”, who admired Japanese Aesthetics and Beauty that oozes out of dime lights and omni-darkness was certainly a fan of Goshoboh's wooden structure which still exists today.
“ Mizuoto wa ni kai ni takaki kajika kana ”
A Haiku composed by the poet Eiji Yoshikawa (1892 – 1962) depicting the mountain stream flowing beside the Inn.
“ The sound of water trickles can be heard from the second floor. Oh! A croaking Kajika frog! “
Non official translation.
“ Hanafubuki hyōe no bōh mo goshoboh mo me ni oka zu shi te sora ni uzumaku”
A Tanka composed by the outstanding female poet Yosano Akiko (1878 - 1942) describing the beautiful cherry blossom trees in front of Goshoboh.
“A snowstorm of cherry blossom petals swirling in the sky veiling both Hyouei and Goshoboh.” Non official translation.
Goshoboh means “the imperial lodge”.
Hyoei is a historical ryokan that used to face Goshoboh. “Hyoe no boh” means Lodge of Imperial soldier guard.
After the 2nd war, Arima-Onsen district merged with Kobe City which started maintaining the hot-spring sources, and allowing other Ryokans of Arima to pump the thermal waters into their properties. Tocen Goshoboh then inherited the building of the adjoining old Ryokan, and organically extended the property by creating the “Suiran Goboh” section, the indoor hot-spring bath zone, and several other facilities.
During the 1980's, group tours became the new travel trend in Japan. In Arima-onsen, many buildings started to prioritize “efficiency”, and turning into reinforced concrete constructions, what suddenly modernized the historical village of Arima-Onsen. However, aware of this sad trend, Kanai Shirobe the 15th decided that Tocen Goshoboh should keep its historical wooden structure, prioritizing beauty over efficiency. With the cooperation of the artist Muhoan Watanuki Hirosuke, the property was infused with an authentic space and atmosphere celebrating the “Muyō no yō” meaning “the necessity of the useless “.