Located in Atami City’s center and originally built by a shipping magnate in 1919, Kiun-kaku (also known as Kiunkaku) served until 1947 as a private villa to different owners including the railroad tycoon Kaichiro Nezu. It’s interesting to note here that Kaichiro also happens to be the original owner of the Nezu garden and museum in Tokyo. In 1947 Kiun-kaku was transformed into one of Japan’s most famous Ryokans, functioning as such until 1999.
Kiun-Kaku’s fame not only comes from its past owners, but also for its elegant approach to mixing Japanese traditional architecture alongside Western and East Asian influenced interior design.
Without a doubt, it is this unique atmosphere that has attracted some of Japan’s greatest authors including Naoya Shiga, Junichiro Tanizaki and Osamu Dazai.
Now a museum, Kiun-Kaku is visited by more than 3 millions people per year and should definitely be on your “must see” todo list when going to Izu!