Just a short train ride from forever-bustling Tokyo is Hakone, an idyllic mountainous resort town treasured for its onsen, a very special type of Japanese hot springs. Ensconced in nature, it’s the sort of place where you are encouraged to kick back, unwind, and do absolutely nothing—essentially the perfect vacation spot for overstimulated city slickers. And now, those overworked execs and visitors looking for a dramatic change of pace from the city (think Kyoto, without the crowds) will have a luxe new place to call home, where they can soak in all the tranquility the region has to offer.
Perched at an altitude of 2,300 feet, Kai Sengokuhara, a Hoshino Resorts property, is an intimate 16-room ryokan (Japanese inn) nestled in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Combining traditional Japanese elements with modern conveniences, the boutique property is just what Hakone needed—joining the historic Gorda Katan as one of the only luxury properties in the destination. Each of the minimal, Zen-inspired accommodations feature the hallmarks of traditional ryokans—think tatami grass mats, light woods, and low-slung furniture—mixed in with curated works by 12 artists from around the world. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls are the focal point: sliding back to reveal furnished balcony complete with a cypress bathtub fed with mineral-rich spring water from the Owakudani Valley. Come November, a grand suite that is nearly double the size of the already-spacious standard rooms will debut alongside the hotel’s annex building, boasting additional comforts like a separate living room and even-larger alfresco tub.