The Hōshi family has run the inn bearing their name in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture for 1,300 years. Forty six generations have accepted the profession of their ancestors, but that same weight of tradition keeps the family sharply focused on the present moment.
Zengoro Hōshi refers to the concept Ichi-go ichi-e (一期一会) meaning “one time, one meeting”, as his constant reminder to cherish each meeting with a customer, or friend, because no moment ever repeats. The term originated in the 16th Century with tea master Sen no Rikyū, and it’s with a tea ceremony that all guests are first welcomed to the hotel (even before they are shown to their rooms).
The Hōshi Ryokan was founded in 716 with the discovery of a hot springs. The garden is relatively new, though it was designed by a 16th century garden master.
Once a year, the outdoor stage on top of a hot spring pool becomes the setting for a Noh play (Noh theater is often described as adhering to the ichi-go ichi-e philosophy given that it’s often only rehearsed once before a performance).
The Hōshis’ son died in 2013. Zengoro is now 77 and his daughter Hisae has to decide whether she will become part of the 47th generation running the hotel.