TOYOOKA, Hyogo - One person died as a fire gutted eight shops and residential houses at the Kinosaki Onsen hot spring resort in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture, on Saturday morning, according to the local fire department and police.
The fire broke out at 6.10 am at a shop and spread to adjacent stores and houses, according to the fire department.
Police were trying to identify the body found in the ruins.
The fire occurred at the heart of the resort, where ryokan inns and souvenir shops line the streets, about 350m from Kinosaki Onsen Station on the JR Sanin Line.
Guests staying at nearby ryokan inns hurriedly evacuated from the buildings, temporarily plunging the neighbourhood into turmoil, according to witnesses.
Kinosaki Onsen is famous as the setting for "Kinosaki nite" (At Kinosaki), a 1917 novel by literary great Naoya Shiga.