Some of the best places to take a break without leaving Japan
October 2020 Industrial Perspectives / Text by Toby Waters
October 2020 Industrial Perspectives / Text by Toby Waters
Let it snow
With the holidays getting closer, the draw of the snow and the mountains gets that much stronger. Niseko in Hokkaido is especially inviting for those who love snow sports — or watching snowfall from the comfort of a hotel room.
Set in a spectacular natural landscape with stunning views across the Annupuri woods and Mount Yotei, Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono is a true year-round mountain resort. With spacious guestrooms, wellness facilities, and exceptional restaurants all in an environment of carefully curated art and contemporary design, Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono embodies a personal luxury that invites guests to reconnect with nature.
Niseko also offers options for those who prefer to vacation in chalets.
Chalet Ivy Hirafu is a premier boutique hotel in Niseko, near exciting ski slopes and the Shikotsu-Toya National Park — all in the shadow of the majestic Mount Yotei. Until 30 November, guests can take advantage of the Go To Travel campaign to receive 50% off the price a package stay that includes breakfast and dinner at its casual Japanese dining restaurant, HirafuZaka. Guests can also make full use of the 24-hour gym, as well as the natural hot spring onsen.
Those looking for personalised luxury can find it in Niseko.
H2 Life’s mission is to deliver world-class hospitality to its guests and clients — and take their vacation to the next level. Thanks to its award-winning HakuLife collection of properties, H2 Life is also the market leader in fully curated and catered chalets, with teams of butlers and private chefs. It is the first company in Niseko to promise its guests a sensational holiday, or part of your next stay is free. You’re invited to experience the H2 Life difference.
Further south, the Japanese Alps are home to many hotels and slopes where you can stay in comfort while enjoying the natural environment.
Welcome to winter at Evergreen Outdoor Center in the Hakuba Valley — just three hours from Tokyo. It has been offering tours, lessons, and outdoor programmes for two decades. All of the ingredients for unforgettable experiences are here: great friends, ski-in/ski-out accommodations, and personalised professional ski and snowboard instruction, along with evenings full of fun activities like snowshoeing, star gazing, seasonal crafts, and Japanese taiko drumming. Enroll your children in one of Evergreen Outdoor Center’s Winter Camps for one of the best snow experiences of their lives.
The Hakuba region is also perfect for advanced skiers and snowboarders looking to improve their skills.
Hakuba Ski Concierge is a boutique ski school based out of Hakuba47 Winter Sports Park. It offers private lessons and provides door-to-door transportation whenever you use any of its services. Its carefully selected instructors provide high-quality ski and snowboard lessons, fully customised to your needs, as well as guiding services. With world-famous snow, multiple resort options, numerous onsen, and great lunch options, the days in Hakuba are truly yours to design.
Greet the heat
Japan also has wonderful destinations for those who want to spend a few more days and nights in the warmer weather.
Exciting, relaxing, and delicious experiences await you at the ANA InterContinental Ishigaki Resort, located at the southernmost tip of Okinawa Prefecture. Home to stunning marine life and the Shiraho blue coral reef, Ishigaki is known as one of the best diving spots in the world. Gaze out over the endless horizon of clear emerald ocean, enjoy direct access to the beautiful Maesato Beach, and savour fine dining options that showcase the region’s finest flavours.
Small is beautiful
For a unique break, older, smaller inns can give guests an authentic Japanese stay unlike any other.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Izu Peninsula, ABBA Resorts Izu is the only Japanese ryokan inn to be a member of the Small Boutique Hotels of the World group of hotels. It is the perfect place to experience both modern Japanese culture and traditional Japanese hospitality. This winter, guests can enjoy its seasonal Special Pufferfish Kaiseki multi-course dinner — a chance to taste the iconic fugu pufferfish, part of Japan’s exquisite haute cuisine.
Discovery and comfort
The city can also be great for a vacation, whether you’re seeking the heights of metropolitan comforts or want to visit some of Japan’s most solemn sites.
Just one minute away from JR Hiroshima Station on foot, the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima Hotel is the perfect place to stay in luxury as you explore the historic sites of Hiroshima, such as the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the Atomic Bomb Dome, and Itsukushima Shrine. All of the 238 guest rooms — including the five suites — feature the Sheraton Signature Sleep Experience, so you can rest in absolute comfort. Guests staying in Club Rooms have full access to the sauna, swimming pool, and Club Lounge.
A staycation in your own city can also be fun. The wealth of cuisines and activities in Tokyo means that even locals sometimes miss out on the best of what the city has to offer.
Enjoy a remarkable staycation this autumn at mesm Tokyo — starting at as little as ¥70,461 per night using the Go To Travel discount. Until the end of January, mesm Tokyo is offering its staycation plan, The Bistronomy, which includes a full-course dinner and an American breakfast at its exclusive French restaurant, Chef’s Theatre. The dinner menu features seasonal French delicacies made with fresh ingredients. You’re sure to fall for these flavours, which are as autumnal as a leisurely stroll on a cool evening.
Wherever you go this autumn, enjoy your well-deserved holiday. •