Japan's historic former prison will be transformed into a luxury hotel
A Japanese tour operator plans to convert a historic former prison in western Japan into a luxury hotel that will open in the spring of 2026.
The facility in the city of Nara dates back to the early 20th century, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported on Sunday.
Hoshino Resorts, the resort's operator, said the iconic red brick building's many cells are being combined to create 48 guest rooms, promising an "extraordinary stay" in Hoshinoya Nara Prison with renovated interiors.
The rooms will retain some period features, such as having windows high up in the walls to prevent jailbreaks.
The new hotel was previously scheduled to open its doors in the summer of 2024, but several factors, mainly the need for an earthquake resistance study, delayed the opening. The site is close to Nara Park, which has tourist attractions including numerous deer and the Todai-ji temple complex.
Completed in 1908, Nara Prison held 935 inmates at its peak well above its capacity of 650. After World War II, the structure was used as a juvenile prison until it was closed in 2017 due to the age of its structure.
The building was designated as a cultural property of national importance in the same year.
Plans are in the works to build a museum accessible to daily visitors on the site where the hotel will be built, the news agency added.
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