National

President of 500-year-old Japanese inn apologizes after fire

Kyodo

The president of a ryokan (traditional inn), in business for more than 500 years at a hot spring resort in Gunma Prefecture, apologized Wednesday over a fire that occurred the previous day at his home, which is connected to the inn.

“I’m sorry for causing trouble to our guests and neighbors,” said Sanuemon Chigira, 79, president of Chigira Jinsentei in Ikaho Onsen resort.

The fire severely damaged the third floor of Chigira’s three-story wooden house. His 71-year-old wife sustained a minor injury, but the approximately 20 guests who were staying at the ryokan were confirmed safe.

According to the inn’s website, it was established in 1502 and was frequented by novelist Roka Tokutomi (1868-1927).

Chigira said the inn will reopen for business Friday.