A Sleek Resort in a Japanese National Park Reinterprets Tradition

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By Melissa Dalton
Located in Ise-Shima National Park, Amanemu suggests a modern interpretation of traditional Edo-period farmhouses.

Amanemu is a luxury resort designed by the Australian firm Kerry Hill Architects and built as part of the Aman group, an upscale hotel brand. The resort's buildings present striking silhouettes inspired by vernacular Minka farmhouses. The steeply-pitched roofs clad with wavy slate tile, deep eaves, and charcoal-stained cedar walls contrast with the blond wood interiors and custom bamboo and white oak furniture. 

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Sliding glass doors and screens pull open to present framed views of nature, including the surrounding forests, private gardens, and the waters of Ago Bay. In the bathroom, deep stone tubs offer a private onsen experience, with the taps drawing water from nearby hot springs. When not soaking, step onto covered verandas to enjoy the natural surroundings at your leisure.

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In a 2006 address, Kerry Hill said this of his firm's work, which could also apply to Amanemu: "We reference past building traditions through suggestion and association rather than replication, and through the reinterpretation of indigenous building forms as opposed to mimicry. We prefer to build upon what is there and to contemporize our understanding of what it can be. I think of it as being current, but filtered through a sieve of traditional values. In this way it is familiar to people, but not quite the same. It is new, but connected to the past—hopefully in spirit, at least." 

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The resort has 24 suites, each 1,065 square feet, and four two-bedroom villas, at 3,710 square feet. Other on-site amenities include a full spa, rock garden, workout center, yoga studio, library, bar, and restaurant.