New hotels to stay in when you visit Japan - Muji Hotel Ginza, Aman Kyoto and more
Heading to Japan soon? Here are three new hotels to check out if you’re visiting Tokyo, Kyoto or Nasu.
1) Muji Hotel Ginza
Retail giant Muji brings its famous anti-brand ethos to life with the new Muji Hotel Ginza, an oasis of zen-like calm (after shopping hours, anyway) in Tokyo's glitzy shopping district. It's the pride of Muji's 10-storey flagship which encompasses retail, F & B and accommodation, making it a mega-destination for a global army of fans, dubbed 'Mujirers.'
Muji's much-touted philosophy of restraint and simplicity, or 'design by subtraction', extends to its 79-room hotel, perched on the top four floors. As might be expected, the design aesthetic (expertly executed by design partner UDS) is upscale contemporary, with interiors featuring liberal amounts of wood, stone and earth tones. The sixth-floor lobby is characterised by hardwood floors, a simple reception counter and a slate grey wall made from vintage train-track stones. Adjoining the lobby is an open bar, library and gallery space. Escalators lead down to the rather impressive retail space, best described as Muji to the Max.
The rooms, available in various sizes and relatively wallet-friendly (by Ginza standards) with rates ranging between 15,000 yen and 50,000 yen (about S$200 and $655), are comfortable, functional and – provided you're not travelling with a collection of LV trunks- entirely adequate for a short stay. Several of the layouts are long and narrow ('intimate' in hotel-brochure speak): my Type C room (S$370) was about 76 square metres in size and less than 3 metres at its widest point. Still, the elongated space was beautifully detailed and bathed in natural light, with warm wood finishes, simple but comfortable furniture, a well-stocked selection of Muji products and a better-than-decent shower.
Muji Hotel Ginza, which opened in April this year, is the company's first in Japan – two others opened last year in Shenzhen and Beijing – but more are underway. Business has been brisk, thanks to followers of the company that was set up to offer a quintessential Japanese experience in a modern urban context, with minimum fuss. It's fair to say, then, that Muji Hotel Ginza delivers on that promise.
Aman's third Japanese resort after Aman Tokyo and Amanemu, opens its doors on November 1. Located in the northern part of Kyoto at the foot of Mount Daimonji and close to the UNESCO heritage site of Kinka-kuji Temple, Aman Kyoto is housed in a 'secret garden' in a massive 80-acre site comprising 72 acres of permanent forest and eight acres of manicured gardens. Designed by Kerry Hill Architects, expect a lush, tranquil getaway of just 24 rooms and two villas in contemporary ryokan-style, with floor-to-ceiling windows, tatami mats and tokonoma (a recessed space displaying a singular work of art). Perfect for immersing yourself in an ancient culture and discovering the true meaning of Zen.
Agriculture and tourism come together at the new Hoshino Resorts Risonare Nasu, where you can chill out and enjoy the lay of the land in the mountainous region of Nasu in Tochigi prefecture. Located at the foot of Mount Nasu amidst dense forest, it's the fourth in the brand's Risonare line of properties (after Yatsugatake, Tomamu, and Atami) that focus on nature and indigenous produce.
Pluck your own from Risonare Nasu's onsite farm or let the kitchen source some of the best vegetables or seafood for your meal at this unique agri-tourism concept. While you chill in any of its 43 rooms designed by Klein Dytham Architecture to maximise the breathtaking views, plan your activities from hiking to visiting the local hot springs.