In Japan’s Most Luxurious Rural Hideaways

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WELLNESS: In Japan’s Most Luxurious Rural Hideaways

Looking to immerse yourself in
Japan’s breath-taking landscapes without compromising on comfort? Look no
further than these three luxurious rural retreats.


1. Setouchi
Retreat Aonagi

Perched overlooking the Seto
Inland Sea, a former art museum has been given a new lease of life as an
intimate seven-room retreat. Located just outside the town of Matsuyama on
Japan’s smallest island, Shikoku, The Setouchi Retreat Aonagi was designed by renowned architect Tadao Ando, who also designed many works
which are housed on the ‘art island’ of Naoshima, including, Benesse House,
Chichu Art Museum, and Ando Museum.

With the tagline ‘minimal
luxury’, the Setouchi Retreat is a bold modernist hideaway where guests can
escape amidst the towering concrete walls. Each suite is stripped-back but
perfectly appointed with spectacular views of the inland sea. A hidden outdoor lap
pool extends towards the shore, whilst a private spa promises total relaxation,
and Japanese restaurant Minagi serves up local seafood in abundance.

Setouchi Aonagi Hotel: 794-1 Yanaidani-cho,

Images: Wallpaper


2. Amanemu,

If you’re after a rural
retreat that makes no sacrifices when it comes to contemporary comfort, look no
further than Aman Group’s ryokan-inspired resort, Amanemu. Deep in the heart of Ise-Shima National
Park on the Kii Peninsula, the exclusive hot spring hideaway is home to just 24
suites and four two-bedroom villas. Featuring Aman’s signature minimalist feel
throughout, the calming interiors skilfully fuse Japanese tradition and modern
luxury. Each accommodation boasts its own private onsen, and the in-house
restaurant provides fine dining with a menu that takes full advantage of the
region’s abundance of ultra-fresh seafood. But perhaps the shining glory of
Amanemu is the on-site spa – home to four treatment suites, a gym, a yoga
studio, a watsu pool and an
impressive communal onsen where terraces of tiled hot springs are interspersed with lounging pavilions and
outdoor fireplaces.

Amenemu is surrounded by
UNESCO pilgrim trails through sacred mountain forests,
as well as the rich pearl diving culture of the Ise Peninsula, where Ama – female free-divers – preserve the
ancient culture of collecting seafood straight from the ocean floor.

Amanemu: 2165 Hazako Hamajima-cho, Shima-shi, Mie, Japan 

Images: Conde Nast Traveller


3. KAI
Hakone Hotel

A sub-brand of century-old
boutique hotel firm Hoshino, KAI is a collection of luxury hot spring ryokans,
inviting guests to retreat amidst some of Japan’s most breath-taking scenery.

Nestled amidst the trees on
the banks of the Sukumo River, KAI Hakone is one of the best. A
short train ride from Tokyo, guests are instantly transported to a woodland waterside
hideout that feels worlds apart from the bustling streets of the city. Having
been given a full makeover by Hoshino Resorts, KAI Hakone is a sophisticated
blend of Japanese tradition and contemporary comfort. Exposed beams, paper
screens and tatami bedding sit alongside sleek wooden furnishings by local
carpenters Gallery Tsuyuki.

An in-house onsen offer guests
the therapeutic benefits of a soak in hot spring water straight from the earth,
whilst an on-site spa promises total relaxation and calming views of the
surrounding forest. Each evening, storytellers narrate folk talks to offer
guests an enjoyable introduction into Hakone parquetry. And as if this all
weren’t enough, the fourth floor restaurant serves up a nine-course kaiseki
menu that fuses fresh Pacific seafood and seasonal produce from nearby

Kai Hakone Hotel: 230
Yumotochaya, Hakone, Japan

Images: KAI Hakone,
Hoshino Resorts

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