Japan Hotel News July 2018

Novotel Okinawa Naha

Keep up to date on the latest hotel news from Japan, with a stream of new openings across the country this summer, from Hokkaido and Yamagata to Okinawa!

We bring you news of all the latest hotel openings in Japan, from a paddyfield-themed hotel designed by Shigeru Ban in Yamagata and a First Cabin in Hokkaido with shuttle bus service to Niseko’s ski slopes to a hydrogen-powered hotel in Kawasaki as well as new hotels in Hakone, Karuizawa and mainland Okinawa.

Suiden Terasse by Shigeru Ban to Open in Yamagata in August

Suiden Terrasse Double

Offering farm vibes with a minimalist twist, this swanky hotel opening up in Tsuruoka in August will help support tourism to the three sacred mountains of Dewa Sanzan. Situated in scenic countryside surrounded by the sea, mountains, rivers and fields, the hotel will have a library and group rooms and serve locally sourced food and sake.

With design inspired by "suiden" (rice paddies), one of the symbolic landscapes of Yamagata’s Shonai region, guests will be able to admire the views of unspoilt natural landscapes from rooms with warm wooden accents in the hotel's two-storey wooden buildings, designed by well-known Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. 

The hotel will have a total of 143 guest rooms split across a trio of buildings named after the three sacred peaks of Dewa Sanzan: Gassan, Haguro, and Yudono. With interior design that is simple rather than ornate, the hotel will offer a mix of double, twin and suite rooms that guarantee enough space to relax and unwind as well as four types of group rooms that can accommodate up to six guests.

Suiden Terrasse Twin

The hotel's restaurant, Moon Terrasse, will have cafe, bar and teishoku set menus serving simple yet delicious organic dishes making use of seasonal local ingredients such as rice, vegetables, and fish caught off the Shonai shores. Groups will also be able to benefit from party plans, with capacity for up to 60 seated diners inside and 20 on the terrace.

As well as architectural design by Shigeru Ban, the hotel will have a mini library with book direction by Yoshitaka Haba of BACH and hotel wear designed by Yusuke Yatsuhashi of Blues Kuro. The library will stock a selection of 1,000 books for both readers of all ages and guests will be allowed to read the books anywhere in the hotel. There are also suggestions of a shop, meeting rooms and spa and fitness centre to be added at a later date. The hotel's website can be found here (currently only available in Japanese).

First Cabin Niseko to Open this Winter

First Cabin Niseko
First Cabin will open a new capsule hotel in Niseko ski resort on Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido this November. First Cabin Niseko will offer a direct shuttle bus to and from Hirafu ski resort as well as a limited number of family cabins with capacity for up to five people.

The new Niseko branch will have 169 cabins with a maximum capacity of 353 guests, with 112 cabins in First Class (78 cabins for men and 34 for women) and 57 cabins in Premium Class, with 44 Hollywood twin cabins (capacity for up to 4 guests) and 13 family bunkbed cabins (capacity for up to five guests). It will cater for the needs of groups and families with infants, with Premium Class cabins with room for up to five people in addition to First Class and Business Class type cabins, as well as a large restaurant and lounge for relaxing after a dip in the hotel’s communal hot spring baths.

There will be a direct shuttle bus to and from Niseko Grand Hirafu ski resort, which boasts the largest ski slope among the Niseko ski resorts, allowing guests to arrive at the bottom of the slopes in approximately 12 minutes - perfect for keen skiers who cannot wait to get out and sample Niseko’s world famous powder snow. First Cabin Niseko itself will also be easily accessible by public transport - five minutes from JR Kucchan Station by local bus or shuttle bus (Kucchan Station is 2 hours by train from JR Sapporo Station or 2.5 hours from JR Shin-Chitose Airport Station).

With a total of 18 properties around Japan, First Cabin has mainly concentrated on Tokyo and urban areas in the Kansai region until now. However, the new branch in Niseko marks the chain’s first foray into resort areas and will be the second new First Cabin hotel scheduled to open this year following First Cabin Kanazawa Hyakumangoku-dori in August.

The Niseko area is gaining attention in recent years, following a spate of openings of luxury international hotels and exclusive condos, the extension of the bullet train network, plans to open new expressways, and hopes for Olympic bidding.

Tokyu REI Hotels Opens Hydrogen-Powered Hotel in Kawasaki

Tokyu REI
Opened on 1 June this year, Tokyu REI Hotels newest hotel in Kawasaki has a funky, hipster kind of vibe on the inside and operates on hydrogen produced from used plastics - it’s a bit of a mouthful, but the hotel’s official name is Kawasaki King Skyfront Tokyu REI Hotel (see the hotel's website page here).

Located in the King Skyfront development, an international strategic hub that is attracting many research facilities, the hotel bills itself as a 'next generation lifestyle hotel' that enables guests to ‘work, play and stay’ all under one roof. The ground floor is home to the Cafe & Business Lounge coworking space-cum-cafe and a lifestyle store, while the first floor houses the hotel’s communal baths and an exercise room.

The hotel’s mix of 186 superior, premier and accessible guest rooms make good use of simple yet high quality materials and interior design, while the communal baths have unbeatable views across the Tamagawa River. The 66-seater Captain's Grill & Bar on the fifth floor offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a focus on grilled foods and views of the Tamagawa River and Haneda Airport.

The hydrogen from recycled plastics is intended to supply approximately 30% of the hotel’s total energy needs. It is produced and sourced from the Showa Electric Works Kawasaki Plant five kms away and piped to fuel cells on the hotel premises. According to Tokyu Hotels, who operates the hotel, it is the first hotel in the world to use hydrogen from waste plastics in this way. Plastic products and hotel amenities such as toothbrushes and combs form part of the supply of used plastics.

There is plenty to do in the area, from night view factory tours by boat or bus to the Toshiba Science Museum and Kawasaki Daishi Heikenji Temple, and from Kawasaki cycling and horse racing stadiums to Lazone Kawasaki Plaza, a large-scale shopping mall and entertainment with 330 shops, restaurants and a cinema.

Bar Hotel Hakone Kazan - July, Kanagawa

bar hotel Hakone Kazan

Bar Hotel Hakone Kazan opened on 6 July in Kanagawa, near Tokyo. This unique ‘bar hotel’ with a mix of 21 double and twin guest rooms is situated in a quiet valley in the Kowakudani area of popular resort area Hakone. 

Located in secluded forests, the hotel offers a place for guests to spend precious time with precious people, checking in as the sun starts to set over the trees, and checking out unhurriedly at their preferred time in the afternoon. Guest rooms are protected from prying eyes by the deep woods surrounding the hotel, allowing guests to spend time with their loved ones in complete privacy while at the hotel.

There are also a couple of attractive little extras for those who like to indulge in a tipple during their stay. Conversation is sure to flow easily between customers in the hotel bar, located directly above the Senjo-no Taki waterfall. Meaning "waterfall of a thousand threads", it was named for the way the water cascades down like a thousand white threads.

bar hotel Hakone Kazan

But that's not all - the hotel also has a private spa and bar that can be booked out for private use. It's the first case we've heard of a private onsen (hot spring) being equipped with its own bar, enabling guests to enjoy both baths and booze in their own private space, soform an orderly queue behind us for this one!

Finally, the hotel also offers a "buffet-style champagne brunch" between 9am and noon, recreating the atmosphere of the hotel bar by providing partaking guests with a "champagne wake-up call" comprised of various menu items that make the most of the hotel's tastiest ingredients. The hotel's website can be found here (Japanese only).

The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Ginoza - July, Okinawa

Hiramatsu Ginoza

Opening on 14 July in the Ginoza area of Okinawa, the newest Hiramatsu hotels and resort promises a stay so relaxing and comfortable that you'll forget even the passage of time once you set foot through its doors. 

Approximately 1 hour by road from Naha Airport, this all-inclusive resort hotel aspires to offer  the best in food, service, and accommodation, providing a place where guests can realise the ultimate in luxury, from villa-type suite rooms - the first of their kind in Hiramatsu - to private jacuzzis in every room and an Instagram-worthy infinity pool.

Hiramatsu Ginoza

Surrounded by nature, the private resort has a total of 19 guest rooms with high ceilings including twin and double rooms as well as villa suites, all with private jacuzzi and some with an additional private pool. It boasts an in-house restaurant with four private dining rooms serving sophisticated Italian and French cuisine using seasonal local vegetables and selected ingredients from across Japan prepared by experienced and expertly trained chefs.

That’s as well as a swimming pool, spa, and cafe lounge where guests can enjoy light lunches and beverages. From cobalt blue ocean to jungle green, the enticing Ginoza Village area, known as “the hometown of sea, sun and greenery", allows visitors to experience the best of both worlds and the astonishing colour palette of the islands on their visit to Okinawa.Visit the hotel's website page here (Japanese only).

Le Grand Karuizawa Hotel & Resort - July, Karuizawa

Le Grand Karuizawa

Opened in July 2018, guests can enjoy an elegant and relaxing hotel stay at this resort hotel in the history, culture and nature-rich city of Karuizawa. Located in extensive forests in Karuizawa, on the fringes of the Japan Alps, guests will pass their stay to the backdrop of birdsong, the whispering of the wind and the rustling of the trees.

The hotel commands a prime location on the top of a hill overlooking Mt. Asama, the symbol of Karuizawa, and offers a mix of Japanese, western and hybrid Japanese-western-style double and twin rooms and junior and villa suites, some commanding views of Mt. Asama. All guest rooms offer relaxing, spacious spaces of 48 sq m or more, with each of the ten room types showcasing a different charm.

Guests can avail themselves of the hotel’s top-rated facilities during their stay, from the high quality service and first-class cuisine to natural hot springs with outdoor baths. They can dine on gourmet French cuisine that mixes choice local ingredients, such as umami-packed Karuizawa vegetables, with the craftsmanship of French cooking in exquisite dishes that make lavish use of local Shinshu ingredients which have been carefully and expertly created by the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef.

They can also bathe in the hotel’s natural hot spring baths, enjoying views and scenery that  change with the passage of the time and seasons, whether it is sunlight filtering through trees by day or the star-filled night sky by night. The spring’s mild waters contain hydrogen carbonate, which is said to be effective at healing cuts and grazes as well as encouraging beautiful skin. Other facilities include a casual bar, bakery cafe, outdoor swimming pool, and treatment spa. The hotel's website can be found here (Japanese only).

Novotel Okinawa Naha - July, Okinawa

Novotel Okinawa Naha

Opening in summer 2018, this 324-room hotel in Okinawa aims to offer visitors to Okinawa a new style of hotel combining the ‘secluded ambience of the Ryukyu Dynasty’, with comfortable and elegant spaces.

Located uptown on the same higher ground as Shuri Castle in Naha's Shuri district, the hotel will be located approximately 15 minutes walk from the magnificent vermilion castle and will command panoramic views of Naha city.

With a mix of double and twin rooms, including top floor rooms with private lounges, the hotel aims to provide guest rooms that are so comfortable that guests will almost feel like they are living there rather than staying.

The hotel will have an outdoor swimming pool (including a children's pool), fitness room, and buffet restaurant serving Japanese, western and Okinawan food.

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