Hotels

Review: Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga, Japan

Sanatorium, noun: an establishment for that medical treatment of people who are convalescing. There is no better word to communicate the experience of staying in Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga after a very long time shlepping around Tokyo, walking 20km each day with the many mad districts, a voyeur towards the daily spectacles and endless parades of retailers and food which may surfeit the senses associated with a sensible individual. Enter stage-left Hoshino, a sanctuary for the senses, somewhere you'll be taken care of, but also left to your own devices to recuperate, unwind and re-charge.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga Review: The Lowdown

This Kaga hot spring inn is steeped in tradition, and the hotel is peppered with thoughtful gestures towards ancient Japanese culture. There's even a little tea house on-site, that you can take part in a tea ceremony – a ritual drinking of matcha green tea extract which is heavily affected by zen principles. You can pop into the tea house whenever to perch on a tatami matt and sip on a revitalising tonic served in traditional Japanese wares. Gleam nightly performance of traditional Japanese dance which takes devote the library, in which performers act out a samurai combatting a mythical shishi lion using a large and colourful wooden shishi head which snaps and snarls at audience members.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga Review: The Rooms

The rooms are immensely simple and stripped back, focussing on low-slung futon beds, sofas and coffee table which offer a feeling of calm simply by virtue from the simplicity. The bathrooms have double showers with huge windows with views within the town, and the products are again Muji-like in their simplicity, and refreshingly in re-usable bottles, unlike the typical wasteful mini-bottle phenomenon which plagues almost all hotels. Some rooms come with outdoor hot spring baths around the balcony too…

Each room comes with a yukata and tabi, traditional robes and socks employed for onsens (hot springs). The best thing about this area is that it's socially acceptable to put on your yukata throughout the hotel, as well as to dinner, all day every day. You're even provided comfy slip-on shoes which make you shuffle, meaning your pace is ALWAYS glacial and slug-like as though just woken from a drugged glorious nap (see? Sanatorium vibes).

Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga Review: The Spring

Talking of onsen, the hotel includes a beautiful certainly one of its own and for anyone not really acquainted with the culture of hot springs in Japan, it's one really worth putting it on your agenda if you visit. 'Onsen', or 'hot spring' also extends to cover the bathing facilities and traditional inns frequently situated around a hot spring, and this onsen has both an inside and outdoor spring, which is essentially, like an enormous bath-come-swimming pool.

The baths are separated by gender, and traditionally you go inside your birthday-suit (aka – naked), so you shouldn't be alarmed and just embrace it. After reaching a transcendent level of chill in the onsen, the hotel offers in-room shiatsu massages, where a trained masseuse will set up shop on your bed and administer a full body shiatsu massage, focussing on trouble spots to alleviate everything from stress to constipation.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga Review: The Food

Kai Kaga also concentrates on traditional Japanese dining and philosophy which elevates the bathroom on which your meals are served to the same level because the food itself, believing “dishware are the clothes worn through the food”. Dinners consist of multi-course visually stunning dishes made with seasonal ingredients, while mornings begin with a collection meal including a regional hot pot ‘Ishiru Nabe’ with local seafood as the main dish. Fair warning, your accommodation doesn't serve western food, so buckle up for any truly authentic Japanese experience.

Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga Review: Things To Do

Kaga is also close to various nature-spots, including Kanazawa’s Kenroku-en Garden, and when you have access to a car you need to take a drive to Hakusan Shirakawago White Road. Kakusenkei Gorges really are a ten-minute drive away, and there's a local bus you are able to catch that will take you in the room. It's the perfect place for a few hours walk amidst the forest and delightful bridges and it's becoming noted for the zen practice of Forest Bathing – removing yourself in the frenetic intensity of digital life to just sit and absorb the world who are around you. And Hoshino Resorts KAI Kaga provides the same special opportunity to just unplug, and be.

Claudine Levy and Angelica Malin were hosted by Hoshino Resorts' KAI Kaga, a boutique hot spring ryokan in Yamashiro Onsen, Ishikawa Prefecture. Located three hours by train from Tokyo, and close towards the town of Kanazawa, your accommodation has been preserved from a four-century-old ryokan building and offers guests a genuine Kaga experience. An overnight stay costs from lb320 per room per night (two sharing; dinner and breakfast included). To book: +81-(0)50-3786-1144 / www.kai-ryokan.jp/en/kaga/.

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