TOKYO : A Japanese resort operator plans to convert a historic former prison in western Japan into a luxury hotel set to open in the spring of 2026.
The facility in Nara city dates back to the early 20th century, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported on Sunday.
Hoshino Resorts, the resort operator, said multiple cells of the iconic red brick building are being combined to create 48 rooms for guests, promising an “extraordinary stay” in the “Hoshinoya Nara Prison” with refurbished interiors.
The rooms will retain some period features, such as keeping the windows high up the walls to prevent jailbreaks.
The new hotel was earlier slated to open its gates in the summer of 2024, but some factors, mainly the need for an earthquake resistance survey, delayed the opening.
The site is near Nara Park, which has tourist attractions, including numerous deer and the Todai-ji temple complex.
Completed in 1908, Nara Prison held 935 inmates at its peak far above its capacity of 650.
After WWII, the structure was used as a juvenile prison until it was closed in 2017 due to its age.
The facility was designated as a nationally important cultural property the same year.
Plans are in the works to build a museum accessible to day visitors on the site where the hotel will be built, the news agency added.