When we hear “a prison”, many of you may not feel good images.
“Former Nara juvenile prison” in Nara city, Nara prefecture, built in Meiji period, and it is designated as the National important cultural treasure, and is very popular among many fans as called as “an excessively beautiful prison” as construction heritage.
And now, by preserving and utilizing this beautiful construction heritage, there is a plan to reborn it as a hotel, targeting to open in 2021.
Romanesque Style Prison Rebirth as a Hotel
“Former Nara juvenile prison” was built as Nara prison, and it is the only existing building made of red bricks among “five large prisons” built in Meiji Period.
The facility was constructed in Meiji the 41st (1908) for appealing modernization of prisons by Meiji government, and had been used as Nara juvenile prison from Showa 21st (1946).
Though it is said that it is a prison, the construction is quite elaborated, and Mr. Keijiro Yamashita, an engineering official of former Ministry of Justice was in charge for designing.
Massively made of bricks, the building has the arch style front gate with curving dome roofs.
And it is designed that five containment buildings, each two-storied are extended radiatively from the main building.
As more than 100 years had passed since its built, it was reluctantly closed in March 2017, due to the building deterioration.
But, there are many voices for wish to preserve, and the right for operation of the building has been granted to a company that develops nationwide hotel operation.
And then, decided that it will rebirth as “a prison hotel” first in Japan, with attachment of some museums in 2021.
It is expected that it will become “a new sightseeing spots in the old capital, Nara”.
How the prison will be turned as a Hotel
The plan shows that the hotel will be equipped with three different types of accommodation.
The containment buildings will become accommodation facility of about 150 rooms, by removing walls of single cells and ingeniously changing three single cells to one room.
Also, a hotel, from which a guest can view the historical construction, of about 80 rooms will be newly constructed in the ground.
Moreover, a museum about history and roles of Nara prison, a commercial area of selling art crafts and miscellaneous goods of Nara, restaurants, and a spa facility are planned to be attached.
The museum will open in October, 2019, and the complex facility including hotels are scheduled to open in 2021.
A part of demolition work has started in August 2018, and seismic reinforcing works has started in October accordingly.
Can’t Wait “Prison Hotel” Opening
In June 2018, the inside of building was opened specially to students of school excursion.
Taking this opportunity, many citizens came to the city tourism association with saying that “we want to observe”.
As a result, in early October 2018, observation of the inside was operated as a part of tours that visiting around constructions of Meiji period.
It is also opened to public at the event of commemoration of Meiji period 150 years anniversary in November 2018 by the ministry of justice.
Though it is said that it is a prison, it is the building elaborated with elegance of Meiji period.
The new hotel where you can appreciate modern atmosphere of that time also will surely become the one with historical significance.
Please be sure to try visiting there when opened as a hotel.