(MENAFN) A Japanese resort operator, Hoshino Resorts, has unveiled ambitious plans to transform a historic former prison in Nara city, western Japan, into a luxurious hotel, with an expected opening date in the spring of 2026.
The prison, dating back to the early 20th century, is a red brick structure renowned for its iconic appearance. Hoshino Resorts is merging multiple cells within the building to craft 48 guest rooms, promising an exceptional and distinctive experience for visitors at the "Hoshinoya Nara Prison." The refurbished interiors will retain some historical features, such as high windows designed to prevent jailbreaks.
Originally slated to open in the summer of 2024, the project faced delays, primarily due to the necessity of conducting earthquake resistance assessments. Situated in close proximity to Nara Park, known for its tourist attractions, including a population of friendly deer and the Todai-ji temple complex, the hotel's location offers unique appeal.
The Nara Prison, which once accommodated 935 inmates, exceeding its designed capacity of 650, served as a juvenile prison after World War II until its closure in 2017 due to its aging infrastructure. It was subsequently designated as a nationally important cultural property. Future plans include constructing a museum accessible to day visitors on the hotel's premises.
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