The Japanese ryokan hotel is a venerable hospitality tradition, but that doesn’t mean every example of the form needs to pay homage to the past. Zaborin is every inch a classic ryokan, from its unspoiled natural setting to the elaborate artistry of its kaiseki dinners. But it’s a thoroughly modern ryokan as well, and a modernist one at that — the architecture, by Makoto Nakayama, perfectly evokes the contemplative mood suggested by the name, which means something like “to sit and forget in the woods.”
The woods in question are the forests of Hokkaido, the northern island that’s best known for its winter-sports opportunities. Zaborin is a reminder that the Hanazono Forest is a four-season affair; whether dusted in snow or in full bloom, the surroundings impart a serene tranquility, expertly framed by Zaborin’s windows and walkways.
Guests sleep in one of 15 villas, each equipped with indoor and outdoor onsen spring baths, as well as a mix of traditional and modern luxuries — from flatscreen televisions and Bluetooth sound systems to traditional Japanese garments for lounging or dining. To that point: while there’s no end of adventure to be had on Hokkaido, lounging and dining are the twin pillars of the Zaborin experience. The baths are extraordinary, and so is the cuisine, thanks to the locally born, globally trained chef Yoshihiro Seno.
Text Courtesy of Tablet Hotels
Zaborin in Hokkaido, Japan