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Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama
Takayama

This is the newer, more secluded and arguably more romantic venture by Hanaougi. It is a pretty traditional Japanese ryokan built from the same cedar and zelkova woods as its other properties, which create a calm atmosphere with their soft and light tones.

The genuine hot spring baths here (as opposed to the hot water found in other properties in Takayama) are reputedly great for the skin, as the natural mineral-rich water offers many health benefits. You can even enjoy this by taking a soak in a ‘rotenburo’ open-air bath on a private terrace here, overlooking scenic greenery in tranquil, magical setting.

The 15 rooms are furnished in a traditional Japanese manner, with tatami mat woven floors, washi paper sliding doors and central low tables, but also include modern comforts – a huge plus. Perhaps the most luxurious element of this hotel is their futon beds, which differ from the usual roll out mattress on the floor found in most traditional ryokans, as they are instead thick and comfortable mattresses resting upon raised frames akin to Western beds. Other useful amenities are included during your stay here, from property-wide Wi-fi to complimentary bicycles.

The fresh food is as sumptuous as you would expect at this level, with local Hida beef being the centrepiece of multi-course kaiseki meals. Better still, the sashimi is of the finest quality and the cooked gourmet cuisine is all prepared on an open hearth and served in your own private dining room by a kimono-clad personal assistant.

Luxurious and homely in equal measure, this is a superb mountain retreat well used to receiving Western guests. It is well located, offering easy access to the surrounding sights in Takayama, such as the preserved Old Town (with its arts, crafts and sake shops), Matsuri no Mori (the striking museum displaying the Takayama Matsuri festival floats) and Hida Folk village (with its scenic traditional mountain houses). Not to mention, the hotel’s staff are happy to arrange transport to and from Shirakawago (the World Heritage site where you can admire these architectural feats in their original setting) for guests, as it is just under an hour’s drive away.

>> See more of our Ryokon Hotels here

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Rudyard Kipling