28 Dec 2016 in In immersion
Near Tokyo exists a haven of peace, surrounded by nature... Dive in immersion in this timeless place.
After barely ten minutes by car from Karuizawa railway station, you leave the main road and drive into the forest, into the bountiful heart of nature. Whatever the season, the range of colours will undoubtedly surprise, amaze and inspire you .
HOSHINOYA Karuizawa is built like a little town, with everything to make it a paradise on earth. The rooms are centred around a water feature that contributes to the magic of the place, especially at nightfall, when the candles spread out across the water light up.
An incredible environment
Spending time at HOSHINOYA Karuizawa means treating yourself to a timeless interlude with the feeling of living in one of nature’s special places. Autumn is a good time of year to admire the trees, because this is when their leaves take on red, orange and yellow hues.
You can go for walks along the paths in the hotel grounds to gaze at this magical sight. In the middle of the day, you can stop for a moment on the garden terrace to sample a Dango kebab, delicious rice balls skewered on sticks and coated with sweet soy sauce. Later in the day, it’s time to enjoy a glass of champagne before your meal, so you can fully appreciate the sunset.
During winter, the lounge is the place to settle down for a hot drink, with speciality snacks laid out for you to try. This is also the perfect spot to relax with a book picked out from the shelves of the extensive library area.
A wide range of activities
Early risers can take advantage of the stretching workout sessions run by a coach, while the others can stroll around. The ones who rather want to “take it easy” could also pamper themselves in the spa (which had won the “Spa Finder Crystal Award”).
In it, you can try the various treatments on offer, including Toji, a traditional type of therapeutic bath, designed to take away stress and promote relaxation. Your stay is also an opportunity to experience shiatsu or acupuncture, which are typical practices in Japan, performed by experts. At nightfall, you must on no account miss the flying squirrels!
A rare species lives in the nearby woods, and you can watch them thanks to Picchio, a nature conservation organisation established a few minutes away from the hotel. The kids are bound to love these amazing creatures that can fly from tree to tree.
Later in the evening, take up another of the hotel’s exclusive options … Slide into the “Meditation Bath”, a unique hot bath set up in a softly-lit room whose special atmosphere invites you to let go.
A town within a town
A few minutes away from the hotel is Harunire Terrace, which is like a little town, with a collection of shops and restaurants beside the river. Here you will find a great many souvenirs to take home, and also a range of specialist restaurants: Italian, soba, Chinese…
There is even a baker’s where you can have a drink of coffee or tea and enjoy a pastry. Its “kouign amann” – a Breton speciality (similar to lardy cake) – is out of this world, as are its apple turnovers made with fruit grown in the region. There is also a greengrocer selling vegetables from a local producer, and a selection of typical products for you to slip into your case: miso, jams, pickles and assorted condiments. Not far away, near the public baths, you will find Sonmin Shoduko, a Japanese restaurant where you can sample the local cuisine, accompanied by a locally brewed beer, a glass of sake or a glass of Japanese wine.
The Kasuke Restaurant
HOSHINOYA Karuizawa serves a very high standard of kaiseki cuisine in its restaurant. This cuisine, called Yama-no-kaiseki, is based on local ingredients sourced from the nearby mountains, rivers and fields.
The chef excels in preparing this range of dishes, and also in working with textures and with flavour and colour contrasts. This style of cuisine is like a real voyage of discovery into the subtleties of Japanese cuisine.
During your stay, spend a morning driving out to Shiraito fall. This place truly is unique of its kind, and the mountain roads offer superb viewpoints.
After parking the car, you walk for a hundred metres along a waterfall which leads to a crystal clear spring. At first your eyes will think this is an optical illusion, but it isn’t; the water comes straight out of the rock. It is not just a single fountain of water, but a stream of water flowing right across the rock surface. This fascinating sight is definitely something you will remember for a long time!