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JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 1

Niki Club
Nasu

Founded by Hitomi Kitayama a quarter of a century ago, the Niki Club has expanded from 6 to 39 rooms and become a haven for the design-conscious guest seeking the twin palliatives of spa treatments and nature. This is hardly an uncommon combination in Asia, but Kitayama-san has based it on the ancient Japanese concept of ‘satoyama’ meaning the symbiosis of man with a natural ecosystem. She has created a unique space with contributions from the esteemed English architect Terence Conran as well as a number of leading Japanese designers over the years. This gradual organic growth means each room is different to the next, from a treehouse to a contemporary Japanese room set apart in a water garden, to the pavilion maisonettes with terraces, private hot spring baths and one with a traditional fireplace. Japanese ‘kaiseki’ cuisine, which is already healthy, has been carefully adapted to complement the spa treatments and leave guests feeling completely rejuvenated. Organic food is sourced from local farmers and is free from agrochemicals, and served in two restaurants with panoramic windows onto the view. For those who want to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Yokozawa forests – particularly in the autumn leaf season – the chefs can even prepare luxury picnic baskets. Niki Club is a haven for those who wish to escape the city but still be with the elegantly dressed crowd.

Features in the following itineraries

To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.

Bill Bryson