23 Jun 2020 in Discover Japan
From morning meditation in a Kyoto temple to sunset sailing in Okinawa, you’ll never forget Japan.
A trip to Japan is always something special. But what makes it extraordinary is when you experience one of those moments that are so unique, so out of the ordinary, that they stay with you forever. A moment of heightened inner calm, chanting with a Buddhist priest. A moment of unexpected discovery, coming head-to-head with a manta ray in the Okinawan ocean.
Or a moment of fleeting beauty, gazing on the snow-shrouded summit of Mt. Fuji. At Hoshino Resorts, you’ll make memories of Japan like never before.
Morning meditation in Kyoto
The moment you approach HOSHINOYA Kyoto on a wooden boat along the Oi river, you know you’re in for a unique experience.
In the morning, you’ll rise early and be driven to a nearby Buddhist temple. As dawn breaks, a priest will lead you and a small group in a mesmerizing meditation session. After around 40 minutes of energetic chanting, everyone will stop and fall into silent contemplation.
It’s such a contrast with what’s gone before that it genuinely heightens your senses. You’ll pick out the different calls of chirping birds, feel the muscles relaxing in your neck and shoulders, and be overwhelmed by a sense of spiritual calm. A rare moment of genuine mindfulness.
Balcony breakfast by Mt. Fuji
If you’ve always dreamed of seeing Mt. Fuji, then HOSHINOYA Fuji is your dream destination. Enter your glamping cabin at this hillside resort, and you’ll find Japan’s most iconic peak staring back at you through huge south-facing windows, its snowy summit reflected in Lake Kawaguchi.
Start the next day with an early canoeing excursion on the lake – and you’ll have the waters virtually to yourself. Propelling yourself silently forward, you’ll be able to gaze in wordless contemplation at one of the world’s most famous views.
Then head back to your cabin to watch the morning sun rise over the mountain from your balcony, where you’ll be served a breakfast of freshly-baked bread, and seasonal jams.
Could there be a better start to the day?
Tea ceremony in Tokyo
At HOSHINOYA Tokyo, you’ll be treated to traditional ryokan culture in the heart of Tokyo. Step into this luxury hotel, and you’ll enter a world of tatami mats, shoji sliding screens, and open-air hot spring baths.
For the ultimate ryokan experience, slip on the complimentary kimono in your room and head downstairs for a traditional tea ceremony.
Using a sunken hearth, you’ll learn the precise art of heating the cup to the right temperature. And you’ll be taught the custom of whisking matcha powder slowly, deliberately to form a rich, frothy green tea.
The time-honoured rituals are a form of spiritualism, an insight into Japanese culture that will stay with you long after you’ve drunk the last drop.
At HOSHINOYA Taketomi Island, you’ll stay on a tiny subtropical island lined with sandy beaches and coral reefs.
Here, in the remote Yaeyama Islands of Okinawa, life is guided by the ocean.
Imagine spending the afternoon snorkelling among luminescent fish or scuba diving in crystal-clear waters. Imagine coming face-to-face with a manta ray majestically flapping its triangular “wings” as it glides past you.
And to cap off your Okinawan adventure, imagine setting sailing on a private sabani, a traditional wooden boat, to watch the sun setting over the island – with a cocktail in your hand.
After such an afternoon, you’ll remember Okinawa forever.
Nocturnal encounters in Karuizawa
At HOSHINOYA Karuizawa, you’ll disconnect from the stresses of everyday life. This is a mountain retreat where Japanese tradition and modern comfort intertwine seamlessly – and nature reigns supreme.
The forests of Karuizawa are home to sika deer, Japanese hare, wild boar – and the nocturnal flying squirrel.
Following a guide, you’ll find a prime spot to glimpse the flying squirrel at dusk. First, you’ll see these extraordinary animals poking the heads out from among the trees. Then, suddenly, they’ll leap into the void and glide elegantly through the sky. A unique spectacle that will long stay in your memory.
To finish the evening, head to the resort’s hot spring baths, where one pool is enveloped in darkness, inviting you to abandon yourself to meditation, to total relaxation.
Another original experience, another indulgence to fuel your love affair with Japan.