This is the place. Sure, the price is steep. But Hoshinoya has become one of my most memorable and cherished stays. We went in early summer and the weather was perfect for us. Early morning walks around the extensive property were rewarded with the gentle tweeting of a multitude of birds, along with sightings of ducks, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs, fish and beautiful flowers. When you wake up and walk out onto the deck overlooking the water, fresh cup of tea in hand, and you breathe in the crisp, clean country air, you'll understand. Utter tranquility and beauty await.
The restaurant on the property was first-class. Exquisite dining in kaiseki style with fresh local ingredients - to die for! With large panoramic windows overlooking the beautifully manicured grounds and water features, you're sure to enjoy breakfast and dinner here. Upstairs there is a library, featuring the same wonderful views, with books, newspapers and magazines in English and Japanese (perhaps some others too), along with super comfy sitting areas. Free coffee, tea and snacks are available 24/7 here as well.
Next to the property is a park with some nice hiking available. We took a rather short, 40 minute hike, but longer courses are available. There is some moderate elevation gain, but the trails are well marked and easy to follow. Lots of birds again, and a nice open field with views of Mt. Asama in the distance. Highly recommended.
The onsen here is quite nice, and interesting. The 'Meditation Spa' is reserved for guests only, and features a sauna, cold plunge, and two baths, one of which (at night at least) is utterly dark. A bit spooky, but once your eyes adjust to the dark, you'll see that it's quite relaxing. I didn't try this bath during the day, so I'm not sure how dark it is then. There is also a relaxation area and the spa is adjacent to this. We didn't try any spa treatments.
The other, open to the public bath, called Tonbou no Yu, was very beautiful. The public can enter (for a fee) after 10AM, so it's advisable to get there before then. There are very large outdoor baths here, and of course an ample indoor one as well. Another sauna and cold bath are available here as well, and with dragonflies and birds (again) zipping around, it makes for another excellent, relaxing experience. N.B. if there is a line of people (the public) waiting to get into the spa, you can just show your room key and go right in (or in my case, go to the front of the line and get a towel first).
This is the place to come and relax, to enjoy Japanese culture and food, and to reconnect with nature. Highly recommended for couples- I think children may not appreciate the ambiance!
Get a unit which is on the water. This will make your stay complete.
Mt. Asama is nearby, and there is an amazing shrine, viewpoint, and walking course there.
Shiraito waterfall is close too, A short walk from the local concessions (peddling delicious farm fresh fruits and vegetables, along with a dose of river-fish Ayu) you'll be rewarded with a very interesting geographic feature
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In a richly forested mountain setting 90 minutes and a world away from Tokyo, our showcase retreat provides the ultimate fresh-air escape with award-winning ecotours, acclaimed birdwatching, and healing hot springs. After a day on woodland trails, relax further with seasonal cuisine, spa treatments inspired by Zen precepts, and a cypress-bath soak in the privacy of your spacious guestroom. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hoshinoya Karuizawa Hotel Karuizawa-Machi