Japan’s smallish size, somehow, doesn’t make its wildernesses feel any less remote. Forty minutes by car outside of Hiroshima and suddenly you’re at the edge of Japan’s Inland Sea, looking down on the famous Miyajima Shrine, whose iconic red gate floats over the water between the town and the island shrine.
All this and an onsen too. Just across from the shrine are the Miyahama hot springs, and when we start talking about hot springs, you know there’s a ryokan not far behind. This time is no exception: on a hillside overlooking the water (and the famous gate) is Sekitei, set amid spectacular gardens.
Here the ten rooms are actually detached villas, cascading down the terraced hillside. There’s water everywhere, from ponds to springs to plunge pools, and the style, with one foot in the ancient world and one in the modern, feels remarkably residential.
The diversions are fairly residential as well; one doesn’t visit a ryokan for the nightlife, unless your version of nightlife involves a bit of local sake and a stroll in the garden — not an unappealing prospect by any means. This is the Japanese country life we’re always going on about, at its finest — slow down and savor it a bit.
Text Courtesy of Tablet Hotels
Sekitei in Hatsukaichi-shi, Japan