One of Japan's most valued historical properties from the Meiji era, the former Nara Prison is being renovated to become Hoshinoya Nara Prison, a luxury hotel.
Once open - in about Spring 2026 - it will be Japan's first prison to be converted into a hotel.
Renowned for its free-roaming deer and three World Heritage sites, Nara is an ancient city in south-central Honshu. It features temples and artwork dating to the 8th Century, when it was Japan's capital.
The site was one of five major prisons designed by the Meiji government to meet international standards. It was completed in 1908 and designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan in February 2017 for its historical significance and architectural excellence.
Its elegant red brick structure embodies the Meiji era's ambition and craftsmanship as Japan opened its doors to the world. The former detention centre features the Haviland System, where a central guard tower oversees multiple radial wings of cells, a quintessential model of Japan's "modern prison" to this day.
Multiple solitary confinement cells will be renovated and combined to form 48 spacious guest rooms while guard quarters will transform into shared spaces.
With a floor area of more than 10,000 square meters, the hotel will also include a restaurant, lounge and museum telling the history of the former prison, which will open to both hotel guests and day visitors.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.