BEST OF 

2019

It's official! Beyond X Boundaries is recognized by our peers worldwide as the undisputed bespoke experts of Japan. We will gladly let others speak for us. In so many ways, the Land of the Rising Sun holds a special place in our hearts - the food, the rich culture & heritage, the landscapes, the hot springs, the spirit of "Omotenashi". We present to you our favorite abodes of Zen that will take your breath away!

Ryokan Kurashiki, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture

Why We Love It:

With just 8 exquisitely and traditional rooms, a time-warped setting, exceptional cuisine and an unrivaled hospitality spirit, Ryokan Kurashiki is our undoubted and undisputed favorite Japanese inn of all time. Kurashiki is no hot spring destination, but its atmosphere and aesthetics takes you to a Japan that still retains its ancient vibe and at the centerpiece of the canal town dubbed the "Venice of Japan", Ryokan Kurashiki best represents it with its in-your-face "kura" warehouse style architecture in all its elegant grace. 

Best Time To Visit:

Kurashiki is a destination for festivals. Spring (Late March) holds much of its special charm with cherry blossoms decorating the town in splendor accompanied by the Haruyoi Akari festival illuminating the town with Japanese umbrellas and candles in the evening. Autumn (mid-November) provides the striking contrasts of red maple and yellow gingko leaves against the white kura warehouses creating a most photographic and lasting memory that will take your breath away. 

Best Combined with:

Accessible from almost all directions, Kurashiki is easily accessed from Osaka from the east or Hiroshima from the west. The art and gastronomy islands of the Seto Inland Sea are not far away where access can be made via a pleasant ferry away to islands such as Shodoshima, Teshima or Naoshima. Those looking to journey deep into the Iya Valley of Shikoku or the glorious autumn foliage of the Mimasaka area are guaranteed a journey of utter accomplishment teasing all the senses. 

Aqua Ignis Ryokan, Kataoka Onsen, Mie Prefecture

Why We Love It:

Sandwiched in the boundaries of northern Mie Prefecture and the ancient ninja domains of Shiga Prefecture lies the modernist Aqua Ignis Ryokan - assembled as a modern interpretation of the quintessential Japanese inn. Food and healing are the reasons why you come here with the perfect marriage of Japanese and Italian cuisine and rooms that are superbly-appointed with elements of minimalism. The therapeutic natural hot springs are housed in settings that purifies the senses and soothes the spirit. What else can we ask for? 

Best Time To Visit:

Mie Prefecture is a year-round destination. Winter (Dec - Feb) lends a sheet of white decorating the surroundings while soaking in the warm healing hot springs. Autumn (Oct - Nov) is a celebration of exciting bounties, from the land and the nearby Ise Bay as well as the annual Suzuka Formula One Japanese Grand Prix. Spring (late March - early April) is the most visually spectacular time of the year with cherry blossoms lining every possible area from the close by Lake Biwa. 

Best Combined with:

No limits as to how creative a journey can be combined with the Aqua Ignis Ryokan. West of it is the shimmering Lake Biwa and its legacies of the "Saba Kaido" mackerel route. Towards the south lies the domains of the Ise Grand Shrine - one of the most sacred temple grounds of Japan where more than 1,500 rituals are conducted here yearly to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial family, the peace of the world, and the huge harvest. Accessed easily from Nagoya or Kyoto, Aqua Ignis Ryokan is simply a destination that allows you complete relaxation, away from the maddening crowds. 

Takefue, Minamioguni, Kumamoto Prefecture

Why We Love It:

Simply and almost in a class of its own, Takefue thrills with probably the most magical and surreal of hot spring settings in a sound-proofed bamboo forest, away from all the hustle and bustles of city life. The setting just draws you in effortlessly. Each of the 12 rooms are designed differently, each providing a different aesthetic and if tranquility is what you seek, Takefue is the perfect hot spring ryokan to fulfill all your sensory needs.

Best Time To Visit:

Every season is a winner here. We're talking about a destination that thrills in all conceivable condition whether it's snowing, in the summer where the bamboo forests offers perfect shelter from, the dazzling kaleidoscope of colors in autumn or the inviting hues of spring. There are few ryokans in Japan with such a blessed setting that it is the actual destination in itself. 

Best Combined with:

When you're here at Takefue, it does not really matter anymore where or what you combine with. But its perfect location provides easy access to the nearby Kurokawa Onsen - one of the most incredibly beautiful hot spring towns in all of Japan, the volcanic landscapes and farmlands surrounding Mount Aso while close enough to have a double hot spring treat combining with Yufuin Onsen in Oita Prefecture. 

Miyakowasure, Natsuse Onsen, Akita Prefecture

Why We Love It:

The experience starts with the driving into some of the most incredible off-grid forests, meandering river systems that provokes a sense of mystical imagination. When you eventually arrive at Miyakowasure, this completely away-from-it-all ryokan is seemingly in another realm. Rooms and private rotenburo hot spring facing to the natural river with some deers foraging for greens - how else can you describe?

Best Time To Visit:

Perfect for all seasons but visually - autumn and winter takes the prize for providing an almost ethereal setting that even discerning onsen travelers will melt immediately. Summer is the least-visited time of the year but a great time to be here in the cooling environments of nature where the ryokan blends in perfect harmony. 

Best Combined with:

Wonderfully combined with the charming and pretty samurai town of Kakunodate, the jaw-dropping gorges of Dakigaeri, the caldera lake of Tazawa-ko and the spectacular mountain range of the Hachimantai where you will witness one of the most unbelievable autumn foliage of Japan. Further north, a combination of northern Akita and the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Shirakami Sanchi in Aomori Prefecture provides a wondrous sojourn for nature lovers. 

Ryokan Zaborin, Hanazono, Hokkaido Prefecture

Why We Love It:

Away from the maddening crowds of Niseko lies the idyllic township of Hanazono where the alluring Ryokan Zaborin is located. Tucked in an environment encompassing Hokkaido's beautiful nature and views of Mount Yotei, Zaborin incorporates Zen elements with contemporary design that is a winner for any onsen lover. Each of the 15 villas provides its own private rotenburo hot spring onsen with views that just mesmerizes. 

Best Time To Visit:

Summer (June - August) is the quietest time in this area of Hokkaido dominated by winter's buzz (December - early April) where temperature are mild in comparison with many other parts of Japan. Autumn is perfect for the endless horizons of autumn foliage while winter just screams total relaxation in a tranquil environment away from the crowded ski atmosphere of Niseko. 

Best Combined with:

In truth, no combination necessary for such a magnificent retreat but Zaborin's wonderful location provides endless opportunities in all directions. To the north lies the Shakotan Peninsula with its spectacular landscapes and sea urchin season in summer and nearby Yoichi for its incredible whisky as well as the charm of Otaru. To the south lies the beautiful Lake Toya and its rich farmlands and finally to the east, Lake Shikotsu, Jozankei Onsen, Sapporo and Ishikari is the ultimate autumn sojourn every traveler screams for in slow-life Hokkaido.