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