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Guide Luxury onsen off the beaten path

There are many things that make an onsen a luxury onsen. Premium amenities. Captivating surrounds. Peace and seclusion. These hand-picked onsen tick all the boxes. 

 

Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa MIZU NO UTA, Hokkaido Prefecture

Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Resort Spa MIZU NO UTA is a resort spa nestled in a Hokkaido forest on the shores of Lake Shikotsu. With access to the famed Lake Shikotsu hot springs, the spa is naturally centred on the healing power of water; the hot springs for soaking in and the calming beauty of the lake water. 

 

The modern style ryokan offers luxurious suites with private and open-air hot spring baths, and fine dining that showcases local organic produce and traditional Japanese kaiseki dinners. Offering a variety of healing baths to soak in, the secluded onsen retreat provides the perfect vantage point for taking in the seasonal changes of Lake Shikotsu.

 

How to get there

Depending on where you're headed out from, MIZU NO UTA is accessible via plane then car. The resort is located approximately 60-minutes by car from Sapporo city  or 40-minutes by car from New Chitose Airport, both in the south of Hokkaido.

 

 

Nishimuraya Honkan, Hyogo Prefecture

Nestled in northern Hyogo Prefecture is the quaint Japanese hot spring town of Kinosaki, that just so happens to be considered one of the best onsen towns in the country. 

Nishimuraya Honkan is a 150-year-old onsen that epitomises the Japanese luxury retreat. Its traditional ‘Sukiya-zukuri’ architecture and perfectly-manicured Japanese garden offers instant calm with most rooms looking out over a private quarter of the grounds. 

In addition to the rooms having their own private open-air baths, the town of Kinosaki has seven famous onsen to which guests of Nishimuraya Honkan have free access.

 

How to get there

The Kinosaki Onsen area is accessible via car and train. JR Kinosaki Onsen Station (Sanin Main Line) is approximately 2½ hours from JR Kyoto Station and around 3 hours from JR Osaka Station via limited express trains. A complimentary shuttle is available from the station to Nishimuraya Honkan.

 

Keishokan Sazanamitei, Hiroshima Prefecture

Keishokan Sazanamitei overlooks the Seto Inland Sea in the coastal town of Tomonoura. Surrounded by the woods and the waves, Keishokan Sazanamitei offers a restorative getaway from the hustle and bustle of Hiroshima to reconnect you with nature and a slower pace of living.

Guests can take a relaxing dip in the natural hot spring overlooking the sea, explore the charming old town, and sample some of the freshest seafood caught a stone’s throw from the luxury ryokan’s front steps. 

 

How to get there

Tomonoura is located at the southern end of Fukuyama city. Keishokan Sazanamiei is approximately 60 minutes from Hiroshima Airport or 90 minutes from Okayama Airport. For those arriving by train, alight the Sanyo Shinkansen at JR Fukuyama Station (approximately 4 ½ hours from Tokyo or 1 hour from Osaka) before taking the free shuttle bus from the station (prior reservation for the shuttle is required). 

 

Tokachigawa Onsen Sanyoan, Hokkaido Prefecture

Not far from several ski destinations in the Tokachi region, Tokachigawa Onsen is most famous for its potent moor hot spring water that is renowned for its moisturising, revitalising properties for the skin. So rare is the moor hot spring resource that the onsen was designated as a Hokkaido heritage facility. 

Tokachigawa Onsen Sanyoan is a hot spring inn that focuses on traditional Japanese hospitality, offering only 11 guestrooms to achieve an intimate setting and atmosphere. Each room provides ample space for relaxation, a private open-air bath crafted from Japanese cypress and tranquil indirect lighting designed by famed lighting designer, Reiko Chikada.

Tokachigawa Onsen also plays host to the Hakucho Festival (Swan Festival), named after the swans that flock to visit the area, with the Sairinka audiovisual light installation (pictured) being the star of the show. Hakucho Festival is held from late January to late February.

 

How to get there

Tokachigawa Onsen Sanyoan is a 20-minute car/taxi ride from Obihiro Station (Nemuro Main Line). Obihiro Station is approximately 2 hours 20-minutes from New Chitose Airport or 2 hours 45-minutes from Sapporo Station via train. Obihiro Station is a 4 hour bus ride from New Chitose Airport.

Tokachigawa Hakucho Festival Sairinka is a 30-minute bus ride from Obihiro Station or a 10-minute walk from Tokachigawa Onsen.

 

 

Kakunodate Sanso Wabizakura, Akita Prefecture

Weeping cherry trees line the streets of traditional samurai buildings in the town of Kakunodate, which has remained perfectly preserved since 1620. Just outside the samurai town is the exclusive chalet, Kakunodate Sanso Wabizakura.

A combination of Japanese and western design sensibilities, Kakunodate Sanso Wabizakura offers 10 exclusive rooms designed for one thing — a step back in time to escape from daily life. The onsen ryokan offers each guest their own private, free-flowing hot spring spa with access to chartered open-air baths, massage and oil treatment, a stargazing deck and a traditional kaiseki restaurant helmed by a 2 Michelin star chef from Tokyo. 

 

How to get there

Wabizakura is a 15-minute drive from the closest station, JR Kakunodate Station. A free limousine service is available from the station to Wabizakura. JR Kakunodate Station is approximately 3 hours 10 minutes from Tokyo by the Akita Shinkansen, and Akita Airport is a 60 minute flight from Haneda Airport in Tokyo. From Akita Airport it is a 50 minute drive to Wabizakura.

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