Item of the day, to commemorate the new year 2016 and REJ Team member Serenity Sutherland‘s first trip to Japan, which included a stay at the historic Fujiya Hotel, located at Miyanoshita Onsen, a hot springs in Hakone, in Kanagawa prefecture. Established in 1878, this is one of the oldest establishments to cater to foreign tourists; the main building dates back to 1891 (it survived the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923). This card (left) is the first in a set of twelve beautifully illustrated cards, one for each month of the year. The illustrations depict festivities associated with each month, and descriptions for the illustrations appear on the back of each card. All twelve illustrations are inscribed “Fujiya Hotel, Miyanoshita, Japan.” The photo below shows the set as displayed at the hotel’s museum today (compliments of Serenity Sutherland). This set of cards and many other objects associated with the hotel can be found under the “Hotels” gallery (Tourism & Travel).
There are additional items in the collection that have not yet been added online, including the books on Japanese culture published by the hotel’s founder, Yamaguchi Sennosuke, between 1934-1949. An ad for a bound copy of the compiled volumes, published under the title We Japanese, can be found here.
Glass lantern slides depicting nearby Hakone Lake, at the foot of Mt. Fuji, and Fujiya Hotel can be found in the Leisure & Entertainment gallery under “Photography” (no. 3053 and no. 3057), as well as photographs of Hakone (no. 2016, 2017). You can get an even more immediate sense of the hotel in its prewar heyday by watching the 16mm archival film Japan as Seen from a Rickshaw, which is accessible on this site under “Moving Images,” courtesy of the George Eastman Museum. This amateur travel film, shot by a member of the Amateur Cinema League, dates from 1930-1931 and contains shots of the hotel’s exterior, interior, and beautiful gardens. It was accessioned by the Moving Image Department of the museum in 1989 but the filmmaker is unknown. There are other films in the museum’s collection that were accessioned together with this film, and were presumably made by this same person. They all feature the same title card, “Jeanne Films,” but it is not clear that this refers to the filmmaker’s own name.