From historic temples to artistic meditation retreats to accommodations on the grounds of ancient castles, Japan offers an increasing variety of unique accommodations for travelers.
The supply of accommodation in the country has evolved over the past few years, going well beyond conventional hotels, resorts, and even the ubiquitous (and still wonderful) traditional ryokan inns.
The growing selection of unusual accommodation options enables travelers to truly immerse themselves in Japan’s culture, traditions and innovation, says the Japan National Tourism Organization.
Here are some of the latest additions to the country’s housing landscape.
Terahaku (temple stays)
The new Terahaku (Temple Stay) project was launched on July 18, 2018 and enables travelers to search, view and book online stays in temples using a special search engine.
In the first phase, Terahaku will initially consist of 100 temples, including the 1,300-year-old Mii-dera (also known as Onjo-ji Temple) near Japan’s largest lake, Biwa-Ko, in Shiga Prefecture.
In the next three years the project will be expanded to include visits to 1,000 temples. Further information and booking options can be found at: terahaku.jp/
Kyo no Ondokoro, Kyoto
The Kyo no Ondokoro project first opened in April 2018 and focuses on Kyomachiya houses that have stood in traditional districts of Kyoto for many years.
The second location is scheduled to open in August 2018. Rather than running Kyomachiya as townhouses, the company behind Kyo no Onkodoro, Wacoal, is breathing new life into structures as “houses” that offer a comfortable lifestyle and homely accommodations for guests looking for privacy.
Kyo no Ondokoro offers guests traveling to Kyoto a luxurious home in a traditionally designed and tastefully furnished private home. Further information and information on booking can be found at: kyo-ondokoro.kyoto/en/
House of Light, Niigata
House of Light is a meditative-inspired facility designed by world-famous artist James Turrell.
The unique structure is a fascinating work of art that offers guests an incomparable overnight experience. It represents the coexistence and the inclusion of day and night, tradition and modernity as well as east and west. Turrell’s inspiration for the House of Light comes from Junchiro Tanizaki’s essay In Praise of Shadows.
The house was built as a space in which one can experience life in light by relating light inside to light outside. The House of Light contains elements such as a sliding roof so that guests can gaze at the sky through the open ceiling, Tokonoma, the Japanese language for alcoves, and Shoji, traditional Japanese sliding paper doors. For more information and booking information, visit: hikarinoyakata.com/eng/
Sasayama Castle Town Hotel NIPPONIA, Hyogo
Sasayama Castle Town Hotel NIPPONIA is a luxury resort on the site of the 400 year old town of Sasayama Castle.
Opened in 2015, the resort “defends historical architecture” and allows guests to travel through space and time.
NIPPONIA is the result of well thought-out designs and architectures. The hotel respects the historical significance, culture and history of the land on which it is located. The hotel consists of five buildings scattered across the old village. It offers luxuriously equipped accommodation, French cuisine prepared by head chef Shu Ishii, and much more. More information and information about booking can be found at: sasayamastay.jp/