This is the island’s best ryokan, complete with iconic, World-Heritage views
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Natural world | Relaxation
Miyajima – just off Hiroshima Bay – literally translates as Shrine Island. You’ll know it for its floating torii shrine gate that greets boats on their way from the mainland; it’s a mesmerising sight especially at sunset when its vermillion curves seem to set aglow, reflected in the waters and backed by green-covered mountain sides. And, sited on the island’s shores, it’s a view that you can enjoy from Kurayado Iroha. From here, day hikes or cable car rides past overly friendly deer bring you to the Buddhist structures of the island’s mountain summit. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with views out over the islands of Seto Inland Sea back to Hiroshima City.
Rooms are at once traditional and accommodating with beautifully polished floors, tatami mats, low dining tables and floor seating complemented by plush down-duvet beds, high-speed WiFi and deep soaking tubs. Rice-paper lattice shutters draw back to reveal either gorgeous views of Myajima Strait or the primeval forests of the island’s sacred Mt. Misen. On the second floor, you’ll find more traditional rooms complete with futon beds – ideal for those looking for a fully authentic ryokan experience – while there’s also an accessible room available with Western furnishings.
The ryokan’s seaside restaurant overlooks the island’s calms waters where, weather permitting, you can even catch views of the Itsukushima Shrine’s famed floating gate. Great importance is placed on regional ingredients; seafood is sourced from the Seto Inland Sea, seasonal vegetables from the Chugoku Mountains and beef from only the highest rated farms. In keeping with ryokan traditions, kaiseki dinners are served over a range of delicately balanced courses. As they span over two hours, it’s important to let staff know if you are planning to dine in advance. Similar care is taken over more relaxed breakfasts with dishes designed to balance taste, texture and aesthetics.
No self-respecting ryokan could be without its onsen hot pools and Kurayado Iroha is no different. In fact, its rooftop bath must rank among Japan’s prettiest, looking out over the strait to the lacquered curves of the island’s icon. Head back inside to a white ion spa bath whose milky-white colour – imparted by hydro-jets – is designed to improved blood circulation, relaxing bathers in the process. If you’d rather retreat even further, consider ordering your dinners in your room where the traditional principles of Japanese hospitality are sure to impress.
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