Since 1960

History of
Otani Sanso

An "inn for the spirit," offering the sincerest hospitality

Otani Sanso finds its origins in the "hospitality of the mountains plants and flowers."
In the same was that the simple beauty of flowers blossoming in the fields can bring ease to our hearts, Otani Sanso strives to be an "inn for the spirit," offering a natural hospitality,
and truly treasuring each meeting when we greet our customers.

Establishment PeriodNew brand is created

  • 1960 The president of the Otani-ya Ryokan, Otani Yoichi, moves to the present location. The three-story building, with its sukiya tea ceremony-style architecture, is given the name Otani Sanso.
    The development of transport routes brought on by the opening of the Kanmon Straits Tunnel (1958) increases the number of guests visiting from far away.
  • 1964 Prince Nobuhito Takamatsu visits Otani Sanso.
  • 1964 The Tokyo Olympics begin.

Period of ExpansionSeeking distinctive qualities

  • 1965 The three-story "Wako-kan Building" is constructed from reinforced concrete. Including 25 guest rooms, a fully-fledged lobby and entrance, the building is fitted with a grand 200 tatami-mat party space of a scale unseen at the time. This brings the inn to a total of 51 guest rooms, and guests are greeted at both the old and new buildings.
  • 1966 With the public's eyes fixated on it, Otani Sanso becomes the stage for the great shogi (Japanese chess) battle between the legendary Oyama and Yamada, a player with a rank of 8 (out of 9 professional ranks), and the inn sees its second stay from Prince Nobuhito Takamatsu.

Foundational PeriodPursuing a reputation as a beloved inn

  • 1972 The "Number 1 Central Building," with 18 rooms and 5 stories of reinforced concrete is constructed. Otani Sanso is able to offer a truly relaxing experience to its guests with its large shared bath, a comfortable and spacious onsen.
  • 1974 The 3-story, reinforced concrete "South Building" is constructed. The total number of guest rooms surpasses 79 rooms, and the interior of the facilities is enhanced. With a more unified image, Otani Sanso is able to seriously begin sales to catch the eyes of customers with leaflets and direct mail.
  • 1975 All lines of the Sanyo Shinkansen Bullet Train begin operation.

Omijima Island and Yumoto begin to be known more broadly

  • 1976 The "Number 2 Central Building" is constructed. The lobby and entryway are remodeled, and the total number of guestrooms is brought to 98.

Period of StabilityCreating an inn where people like to congregate

  • 1980 Otani Sanso is visited by US Ambassador to Japan,
    Mike Mansfield.
    Customers from within Japan begin to visit from regions far away.
  • 1981 Offices are opened in Osaka, Hiroshima, and Fukuoka.
  • 1983 All routes are opened on the Chugoku Expressway.

Period of CrossroadsSeeking an inn for the spirit

  • 1985 The 7-story reinforced concrete "Fuyo" Building is constructed in the former location of the inn's first building. Beginning with its convention hall, with a maximum occupancy of 700 people, and luxurious traditional restaurants, the building is equipped with a variety of public facilities.
  • 1989 After 64 years, the Showa Period comes to an end,
    and the Heisei Period begins.

Period Establishing Greater DepthCreating a new ryokan culture

  • 1990 Otani Sanso marks the 30th anniversary of its establishment.
  • 1993 Boasting a total of 120 guest rooms and an occupancy of 659, the "Akebono" building is extended on its garden-side.
    The facilities are improved, and the front desk and lobby lounge are beautifully made over.
    Customer service is also reviewed, and the inn perfects its more abstract services.
  • 1994 Otani Sanso is visited by the Emperor and Empress, who had just celebrated the auspicious occasion of their marriage the previous year. Otani Sanso is also host to the prefectural governor's banquet, and increasingly, to a number of other events of local societal importance.
  • 1994 Kansai International Airport is opened.

Period of ReinvigorationNew strides in management for the 21st century

  • 1995 Otani Sanso is awarded the Municipal Industry Achievement Award.
  • 1999 The Shimanami Kaido Expressway opens.
  • 2000 Otani Sanso opens its website.

Period of Rapid ProgressImproving our service

  • 2000 In March, new construction is complete on the "Fuyou" building. Outdoor baths, a sauna, jet bath, and bubble bath are built along the Otozure River. A number of new facilities that go beyond the inn's concept, like the "Tsuki-no-Kaze (Moon Breeze)" Gallery gain attention, but amongst these, it is the new astronomical observatory dome that gains the most media coverage from newspapers and magazines since Otani Sanso's opening.
    In July, the "Akebono" building is expanded, and a pool, restaurant, and Japanese ryotei dining areas open for business. Additionally, advancements are made in barrier-free accessibility. A grand opening is held for 129 guest rooms in December.
    Otani Sanso received ISO9001 certification for adherence to its quality management system.
  • 2003 Princess Hisako Takamado stays at Otani Sanso.

Period of Added ValueHospitality that responds to individual needs

  • 2005 A bar with a foot bath is added, and 6 guest rooms in the "Fuyo" building are renovated to include private outdoor baths with natural hot spring water.
  • 2006 Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi stays at Otani Sanso.
    Sister ryokan "Bettei Otozure" is opened with 18 guest rooms, and the establishment expands to accommodate the more personalized and diverse needs of today.
  • 2007 Acoustic facilities are renovated,
    and the restaurant "Hagi" is remodeled.
  • 2010 Otani Sanso passes the 50th anniversary of its establishment. The ryokan is listed in the top rankings of two hotel/ryokan industry magazines. For three years running, we make the top 10 in the "best 100" listed by the Kankokeizai News Corporation.

Period of Globalism & Community CreationGrowing together with the community

  • 2011 Otani Sanso passes its 130th anniversary.
    With a remodeling of the "Fuyo" building, the total number of guest rooms is brought to 111, and the Premier Room and riverside terrace are opened.
  • 2014 Premium facilities are opened in the "Fuyo" building.
    With the opening of the Premier Room and riverside terrace, the total number of guest rooms is brought to 129.
  • 2016 Otani Sanso hosts the December Russo-Japanese Summit, and President Putin stays at the ryokan.
    Within JTB's category for large-scale ryokan, Otani Sanso wins the title of "Ryokan/Hotel with Top Quality Service" for the fourth year in a row since 2007.
  • 2017 In November, Otani Sanso hosts a Japanese-Korean Prefectural Governor's Summit.
    In December, the signing ceremony designating Nagato City, and Sochi City of the Russian Federation as sister cities was held at Otani Sanso.
  • 2018 In January, construction work begins to strength earthquake resistance. Following the July pre-opening of the mountain-side premium room with a private outdoor bath, the grand opening of newly earthquake resistant facilities is held in August.
    The total number of guest rooms is brought to 107.


Otani Sanso is the ryokan it is today because of the support of our guests.
Just as the flowers and plants make the mountains more beautiful with their various colors, we see your patronage as something that contributes to our value.
With our facilities, crafted with local nature in mind, and our hospitality, we invite guests to come spend some time with us away from the everyday.
We look forward to welcoming you with gratitude, and with yet a greater level of service.