The Gyokuhoukan is an authentic, wood-panelled old Japanese inn (ryokan) located in Kawazu town on the Izu Peninsula. This spot is most renowned for its early blooming cherry blossom in February, but it also works well as a stop for a night when driving around the peninsula. The surrounding mountains provide scenic views as well as bubbling hot spring water, which collects to create Mine Onsen. This local hot spring water feeds the private onsen baths of this ryokan, providing a haven in which to relax and rejuvenate. Follow in the footsteps of one of Japan’s most prominent creative minds, Issey Miyake, who is said to visit this ryokan regularly to enjoy the tranquillity here and bathe in the nutrient-rich natural water.
The entrance is typically traditional, welcoming you into the cosy atmosphere and simultaneously whisking you back in time to Old Japan – guests don yukata robes and wooden ‘geta’ sandals to bathe in the onsen here. In contrast to most ryokans, which tend to be cast in shadow owing to the dark wood used in both the exterior and interior design, Gyokuhokan’s feels bright and spacious - thanks to its renovation in 2013, which introduced lighter coloured wood as well as occasional splashes of colour into its refined interior design.
This ryokan is home to sixteen Japanese style rooms, some including private outdoor hot spring baths designed by the much-admired designer Shigeru Uchida. Rather than having thin futon mattresses laid out on the tatami mat floors, the Gyokuhoukan offers a more luxurious option - thick futons that lie on a raised platform, which are both easier to get up from and more comfortable to sleep on.
Other quintessential elements feature in this traditional inn, from a well-manicured Japanese garden to ‘omotenashi’ - attentive Japanese hospitality and customer care. Modern touches also feature in this ryokan, such as complimentary Wi-fi in designated areas, flat screen televisions and air conditioning.
Local fish catch and succulent seared beef courses from the local Izu sea and mountains can be enjoyed here in the multi-course kaiseki dinners, which are included during your stay here. You can also expect to wake up to a very hearty breakfast – again made with traditional ingredients and a taste of authentic Japan.
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