Located halfway along Chuzenji Lake on the mountain plateau above Nikko, the Shikisai is the ideal place to finish a day exploring the area. It has a number of public indoor and outdoor hot spring baths fringed by a well-tended garden, as well as ‘rotenburo’ private baths on the terraces of some of the rooms. These are perfect for relaxing in before or after the evening meals which are well presented using local seasonal ingredients drawing praise from even the most fastidious Japanese guests. The property is well set up for western tastes though, with a restaurant rather than floor seating, twin bed rooms and wifi throughout. Just don’t leave the terrace doors open as the local monkeys are rather inquisitive.
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