All posts tagged: Atami

Gaia Series 3 : New Wave of Hot Spring Resorts in Atami

Gaia Series 3 : New Wave of Hot Spring Resorts in Atami

This week, we shine the spotlight on Japan’s hot spring resorts in Atami City, Shizuoka Prefecture. The first is the Hotel New Akao, which was built in 1971. An unprecedented and innovative method of construction was used, with piles driven into the sea. The result was a huge 20-storey building jutting out into the sea and the hotel became a landmark of Atami. However, the building is starting to age, the number of overnight guests has decreased, a typhoon in 2018 caused some damage and then COVID-19 struck. The hotel’s debt exceeded 10 billion yen and it closed its doors in 2021.  Yoshihisa Nakano, Akao Spa and Resort’s CEO, has been tasked with reviving the fortunes of the hotel. He was appointed to the post two years ago and manages New Akao and the former Royal Wing, which is still open for business. We also meet Shohei Shitara, a long-time staff member who joined New Akao 16 years ago. He takes us on a tour of New Akao and we learn that Atami has various …