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Izu Peninsula

Perched atop the Kawazu Valley lies Amagiso Ryokan; an unassuming traditional Japanese inn, constructed of wood, tatami mats and rice-paper walls. Whether you are experiencing Japanese hot spring onsen for the first time, or you are a well-seasoned lover of them, this will make for a memorable stay. Amagiso is the true epitome of a Ryokan, complete with futon beds and kimonos, so is bound to provide a real cultural experience. Follow in the footsteps of the writer and explorer Stanley Stewart and learn the do’s and don’ts of Japanese etiquette from your hosts – from the right way to wear your yukata robe to the rituals of washing and bathing.

With no less than 28 natural onsen at the bottom of a gorge, this is a great place to embrace the traditional cultures of Japan. Hot spring baths are revered and much-loved by Japanese people of all ages, thanks to their soothing effects and mineral-rich volcanic waters, which are said to be detoxifying and bursting with other healing properties. Although the thought of bathing in a communal setting completely open to the elements may not appeal to everyone, rest assured that this is the perfect place to experience this uniquely Japanese ritual as guests of this Ryokan are permitted to wear bathing suits – a comfort for Westerners not willing to bare all!

The Zen philosophy of Japan and Shinto respect of nature is tangible at Amagiso, as tranquillity and natural beauty abounds. The rural landscape surrounding the hotel is unspoiled and offers an idyllic backdrop to a relaxing soak – the warm pools are scattered beneath an impressive waterfall within an atmospheric forest – allowing one to simply listen to nature’s calming soundtrack, to relax and rejuvenate.

Each authentic room looks out onto the mountains beyond and is designed in a quintessentially minimalistic style, equipped with little else than Japanese tatami matting, a low central table and a beautifully crafted alcove. Some come with private en-suite baths, which can be enjoyed at your own leisure. In the traditional style of a Ryokan, all meals are served in the dining area, with a menu of superb locally sourced Japanese cuisine, taking local produce varying from season to season.

Although the interior of this Ryokan does not match up to our favourite hotels in Japan, the authentic atmosphere and pure natural surroundings make it a gem of a hotel, for Amagiso provides a true escape from the hustle and bustle of built-up, modern Japanese cities.

>> See more of our Ryokon Hotels here

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The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
Rudyard Kipling

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