Former Mikasa Hotel undergoing conservation and repair work

The former Mikasa Hotel in Karuizawa Town was opened in 1906 and operated until 1970.
After closing, the building was acquired by the Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan and the main building part was moved 70 m.
In 1980, the building was donated to Karuizawa Town and designated a National Important Cultural Property.

The building is currently closed for conservation and repair work from 2019.
The photo above was taken when I visited in 2019.

I knew that the museum was closed for a long period of time, so I did not visit it. But a few days ago, I visited here to see how the construction work was going on, as far as I could see from the road.

It was the end of December and in the evening. The view in the photo looks cold, but when I walked around it was not as cold as I thought it would be.
The covering roof, which was put up for the construction work, can be seen behind the trees.

The main gate. Naturally, I can’t go inside, so I can only look at it from the outside.

…But there is a notice board.

I’ll pick out some of the text from what is written.

“Project name: Conservation and repair of the buildings of the former Mikasa Hotel, an important cultural property."
“Scheduled project period: 3 June 2008 – 31 March 2025."
(*I have heard that the project may be extended a little longer.)
“Outline of work: In this conservation and repair project, the deterioration of various parts of the building, which has progressed over the 115 years since its completion, will be repaired. Externally, we will mainly replace the entire slate roofing and completely repaint the exterior walls, while internally, we will mainly replace damaged wood parts and dismantle and restore the linoleum. We also carry out seismic reinforcement work to ensure the safety of visitors in the event of a major earthquake."

The eight black vertical lines per floor on the diagram on the right are steel frames for reinforcement.

On the left-hand side, the progress of the construction work is explained in pictures and text.

It is difficult to see the text in this image, but the top left is a photo of the outside before repairs (December 2019) and the bottom left is a comparison with an old drawing (December 2019). Top right is a view of the interior before repairs (February 2020) and bottom right is a view of the covering roof the building under construction (July 2020).

This is a bit more fun than I expected. I didn’t know the notice board existed, so I’m glad I came.

The explanation continues with the demolition of the roof (September 2020), the demolition of the hipped roof (January 2021), the demolition of the internal plaster walls (March 2021)…

According to this document, the eaves of the entrance area (below photo) were installed in the Showa period, and it was found that there was initially a porte-cochere.
The porte-cochere will be restored in this construction.

I also found “Former Mikasa Hotel Conservation and Repair Report" vol 2 and vol 3. Can I have these, right?

It’s a little unfortunate that there isn’t the vol.1 (I checked later and it can be downloaded from the Karuizawa Town website), but I’ll take vols 2 and 3.

…The incident happened there.

I only took out a part of the leaflet, but the rest was all scattered on the ground!
What happened?

When I looked at the case, the body snapped open and all the leaflets fell out.

What? Did I break it? But I just opened it normally and took one copy.
This is a problem…

There is a construction office on the other side of the curtains and the lights are on. Thanks, there are people there. I entered fearfully, explained the situation and handed over leaflets I had picked up.
The staff members checked the site. They seemed to be thinking of ways to repair the damage soon.
Having finished telling the situation, so I left.

I was a bit surprised, but I was glad to receive the leaflet and to see a bit of the situation. I will drop by again next year when I pass by the neighborhood.

On the Karuizawa town website, there is a page titled 'Important cultural property: conservation and repair work on the former Mikasa Hotel' (written in Japanese). From here you can download the conservation and repair reports from vol.1 to vol.3 (at the moment). 

[Related article]
'A visit to the Former Mikasa Hotel' (2019.08.27)

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Posted by Sakyo K.