Sleep Alongside Art & History at the New Goemon House in Hiroshima

If you’re looking for an excursion off the beaten path, we have just the spot for you. The new Goemon House, which recently opened after a 3-year renovation, is an inn built from a 65-year old wooden home. It’s located on Momojima Island, which is just off the coast of Onomichi in Hiroshima, and accessible by a 30-minute ferry ride. Don’t come for convenience. Come for the chance to immerse yourself in island life, art and a piece of Japan’s grisly past.

The Goemon House borrows its name from Ishikawa Goemon, a legendary 16th century “robin hood” who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He was executed by being boiled alive. And guests get to relive his final moments: bathing in a large cauldron-shaped outdoor bath and eating meals inspired by Goemon’s last meal.

The inn is also filled with several site-specific artworks that denounce war and violence. Goemon House is currently only open on Saturdays but expect to pay around 66,000 yen (about $510 usd) per night. This might seem high but the rate is for two people and includes breakfast and dinner.

Goemon House is operated by a nonprofit organization calle Art Base Momoshima, which tries to solve the issue of empty old homes by renovating them into inns. And if you’re heading to the area, be sure to check out our guide to Hiroshima.

One site-specific installation is by Chu Enoki and is made up of some 3 metric tons of used bullet and shell casings piled up in the Goemon House’s ground floor tatami room

Noriyuki Haraguchi’s work, “The relationship of Canvas bag and Ropes”

A Japanese sword engraved with the words of the Japanese Constitution’s war-renouncing Article 9. It’s the work of artist Yukinori Yanagi

7 Comments

  1. Anthony Watkins

    May 14, 2022 at 10:09 am

    The author refers to Japan’s “grizzly” past, but I think “grisly” was meant.

  2. Wonderful story, but a typo in your first paragraph. “Grizzly” should be “grisly.”

  3. I love this site. Excellent reading and so much to learn.

  4. Fascinating. When I saw “grizzly” I thought bears were somehow involved! it is indeed a “grisly” history. Great story!

  5. Roxy Nakamura

    May 16, 2022 at 1:14 am

    Lovely article. But since no bears are involved, this actually is about Japan’s grisly past (not grizzly).

  6. Thanks for the catch, ya’ll!

  7. Marina Teramond

    May 23, 2022 at 6:22 am

    To tell the truth, I fall in love with such places as the new Goemon House because they have a really Interesting and unique concept, carrying such a valuable history. Unfortunately, wars are continuing to go on and to be relevant, despite the fact that we live in the 21st century and, unfortunately, many people support this terrible phenomenon. Due to this, It is so admirable that in the inn you can see several site-specific artworks that denounce war and violence because, from my point of view, we need to cover these topics, popularizing condemnation of such awful things. I think that exactly such artworks are especially valuable because they have such important goals and show what war and violence really are. Also, it is so cool that a nonprofit organization calle Art Base Momoshima tries to solve the issue of empty old homes because they perform a really significant mission, benefiting and improving our world to some extent.

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