“Fujiya Hotel opened in 1878. It was the first western style hotel in Japan. John and Yoko and Sean used to stay here before John got shot in Strawberry Fields. Einstein stayed here before he died of internal bleeding in a Princeton hospital. And Charlie Chaplin stayed here before he peacefully died in his sleep, had his corpse dug up by robbers and was reburied under two metres of concrete. I didn’t stay here though, all that history makes it far too expensive, and everyone who stays here eventually dies horrible deaths. I came instead to drink coffee and walk through the greenhouses.
Three large glass windowed greenhouses sit on a hill at the back of the old hotel. Inside is a noisy jumble of all the leafy plants you would expect, heated, unexpectedly, with water from a nearby hot spring. The plants are happy, with taut leaves that combine to form walls of green along the glass. At first I guessed the greenhouses were growing plants to sell because there were a few potted plants near the entrance being sold off for small prices. Plants are sold seasonally; in spring the Fuchsia for 500-700yen, in summer the Clerodendron for the same, in fall the Poinsettia for 1000yen and in winter the Cyclamen for 1000-2000yen. Winter is an expensive time to buy tropical plants.” – Cameron Allan Mckean