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Houshi, Japan

 Keeping visitors to the Japanese island of Honshu comfortable has been the proud tradition of 46 generations of one family. In 1994, Houshi was formally recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the oldest inn in the world. It is also the oldest member of Les Henokiens, an exclusive association which honours longevity in business (a minimum of 200 years). Today the 1300-year-old ryokan caters for up to 450 guests throughout 100 minimally furnished guest rooms designed to harmoniously reflect the mood and colours of the seasons. To keep the experience as authentic as possible, each guest is given a cotton kimono or yukata to wear before and after bathing in the spa and welcomed with an ancient tea ceremony. This is definitely the retreat to choose if you need to totally unwind. Located within the Ishikawa prefecture, the inn has remained popular due to its location beside the Awazu Onsen. Many believe its magical water has divine power to cure illness and relieve modern day stresses. Hoshi's beautiful garden is another sought after place to relax.

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