Niigata ryokan wants you to make beautiful travel memories and beautiful music.

Hoho is a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) located in the Iwamuro Onsen district on the outskirts of Niigata City. As you can see from these photos, it’s a very classy place, with hot spring baths and classical architecture, offering the quintessential ryokan experience in a beautiful mountain setting.

Of course, fancy accommodations don’t come cheap. Prices for two-person rooms at this time of year start at around 17,000 yen (US$111) during the week, and jump to 25,000 on the weekend. However, there’s a way to enjoy the inn’s luxury for just 100 yen (US$0.65), as long as you’re willing to do a little something extra during your stay: play the piano.

Actually, there are a variety of instruments you can pick from for your musical performance, but the piano is the one the hotel itself can provide for you. Sitting in Hoho’s lobby is a grand piano…and for a long time just sitting there is primarily what it did.

▼ Hoho’s piano

A few years back the management started thinking about what to do with the piano, but then the pandemic hit. With large-venue concerts cancelled en masse, Hoho’s staff thought their piano might be a way to bring the joy of live music to people on a smaller, more intimate scale, and so they started offering a special accommodation package: one night’s stay, including meals, for up to two people, provided you play the lobby piano for two sessions of 90 minutes, once at night and once in the morning. If you’re traveling with a companion, you can split the playing time between the two if you wish.

Traveling musicians who play the flute, violin, ocarina, acoustic guitar, shamisen, harp, koto, or other stringed instruments (excluding clectric guitar) are also welcome to take advantage of the offer, although in those cases you’ll have to bring your own instrument. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of audition you need to pass, with the hotel merely stating that those of “moderate or higher skill” are eligible for the 100-yen plan, perhaps under the logic that anyone confident enough to play in front of an audience for 90 minutes at a time is suitably skilled.

▼ Hoho’s open-air bath

Only one room per night is offered under the 100-yen-for-music plan, and so interested travelers are asked to contact the hotel directly to inquire about availability and to schedule the exact times of their performances.

Hotel information
Hoho / 穂々
Address: Niigata-ken, Niigata-shi, Nishikan-lu Iwamuro Onsen 340
Telephone: 0256—82-4126

Source: Hoho via 47 News via Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: Hoho
Insert images: Hoho (1, 2, 3)
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