Nara Prison to Be Converted to Hotel (News)
A former juvenile prison in the city of Nara, built in 1908 and designated as an important cultural asset, will be converted into a hotel, according to the Justice Ministry.
The move is part of the Japanese government's strategy to utilize public facilities for tourism as it aims to increase the annual number of foreign visitors to the country to 40 million by 2020.
The facility, which was a prison until March, was constructed late in Japan's Meiji era (1868–1912) and is rated highly as a tourist attraction on the back of its antique, red-brick appearance.
The government foresees brisk demand for the prison hotel, also reflecting the relative lack of accommodation facilities in Nara.
Prison cells at the facility will be renovated into guest rooms, while a building that was used as a hospital will be changed to a low-cost lodging house. A museum displaying items that allow visitors to learn the history of criminal punishment in Japan and shops selling local specialties will also be set up.[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]