the first prison converted into a hotel in japan
from Japan Nara’s historic old prison is about to be renovated and reborn as a luxurious hotel. The brick building was built in 1908 and is the only surviving example of the “Meiji era Great Five Prison”. After more than 100 years of life as a detention center, it still retains its dignity and beauty.
In fact, Nara Prison closed in March 2017 due to concerns about earthquake resistance. Since then it has been declared an Important Cultural Property and has become a popular tourist spot for visitors as it has remained untouched since its days as a prison. Today, the building is on its way to becoming a quality hotel, including repairs to withstand earthquakes.
the Romanesque style gate features an arched entrance and a cylindrical tower on either side
all images from The Old Nara Prison
About Nara Old Jail
Nara Prison was built in July 1908 and designed by Keijiro Yamashita, a Ministry of Justice official who designed many prisons and courthouses around the world. Most of the construction work was done by prisoners and the bricks used came from ovens they had built themselves. The red-brick Romanesque edifice consists of five elongated buildings extending radially from the center, where guards could easily monitor all corridors. From above, its shape resembles a palm with outstretched fingers.
Unlike its extravagant facade which bears the history of a century, inside one encounters a harsh and cold environment. Small individual rooms poorly sheltered from the wind and rain are hidden behind heavy doors that cannot be opened from the inside. In addition, the containment rooms are positioned in a circle, allowing the guards to monitor the five rooms of the guard house.
a newborn hotel of timeless beauty
Working with hotel management company Hoshino Resorts, Historic Nara Prison plans to open the new high-quality facility by 2024. The challenge is to preserve the historic Meiji-era building, which has great value historical. The hotel will accommodate many rooms distributed in four of the five buildings on the site. Jail cells with high ceilings will turn into larger suites, while guards’ quarters will turn into shared spaces. After its in-depth metamorphosis, it will bear the title of Japan’s first prison transformed into a hotel. He expects to strengthen the tourist attraction of Nara, therefore the local economy.
each cylindrical tower has a distinct domed roof
at the top of the turret is fixed a lightning rod
the blue-green turret with the characteristic roof is made of sheet copper
inside the turrets there are stairs that lead to the second floor inside the front door
brick and concrete walls envelop the entire site
this radial frame wood ceiling has a tall window that lets in the sunlight
its circular shape allowed guards to monitor all five rooms at once
parts of the first floor ceiling receive light from the second floor
the doors have no buttons, so it is impossible to open from the inside, even if they are unlocked
Last name: The old prison of Nara
location: Nara-shi, Japan
christina petridou I conceive
June 03, 2022