Japan exudes poetry and mystery (largely due to the language) like no other country I know and when I received the invitation to discover the Ryokan Collection, a sort of Japanese Small luxury hotels group, I rushed to a funny little house on avenue George Mandel where four Ryokan owners had gathered. There are 39 members of this very exclusive group and it is very tempting to disappear on a tour all around Japan.
I have not tried these specific Ryokans, traditional Japanese inns, but for having travelled recently to Japan, I can certify that sleeping in any good Ryokan is a fabulous experience. You can take a hot bath and sleep on a tatami, eat delicious food and feel miles away from your own life. Since he started his association in 2004, Hiroki Fukunaga, has increased their number to 39 all around the country. They count 8 to 50 rooms and all have onsen (baths) and lovely cuisine. Their decors are traditional or more contemporary and they are all located in interesting towns with lots of art to see.
Kurashiki for example is one hour from Naoshima and has temples, a harbor, a shinto sanctuary and old houses. This town is a good way of mixing contemporary art excursions and traditional Japanese architecture. These Ryokans, a little like Relais et Châteaux, are a great way to discover other cities than Kyoto or Tokyo and to understand a little bit of the local lifestyle. Most of them are located between Tokyo and Osaka but I would love to discover Kyushu or Hokaido on the seashore on the extreme South and North.
To help you plan your trip, Exclusif voyages, and Sophie Arbib will share their experience with your needs.
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