Contemporary spa luxury in a picturesque setting
Natural world | Relaxation
Lake Toya – part of the Shikotsu-Toya National Park – is set in southwest Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island. It’s a freshwater caldera lake, formed from the volcanically active Mt. Usu, itself providing an imposing, conical backdrop to the lake’s glassy waters. And, at the lake’s centre, a gently contoured island rises up, entirely covered in thick greenery. In all, it’s an idyllic setting for fishing and hiking trips with Nonokaze – positioned on the water’s edge – poised to enjoy it all. Nearby, you’ll also find naturally heated onsen baths and paddle-steamer cruisers.
All rooms sit on the waterfront with views out to Nakajima Island. Contemporary interiors feature blonde wood accents, panelled flooring and come with a choice between Western and knee-high Japanese furnishing. Perhaps upgrade your wraparound bay windows for balconies – the ideal place to enjoy the Toya Fireworks, launched above the lake every night between April and October. Alternatively, club rooms come with private hot spring bathrooms where you can enjoy an onsen soak with yet more of those stunning panoramas.
At the resort’s restaurant, floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the waters to Mt. Yotei in the background as open kitchens dish up grand buffets for breakfast and dinner. Over 80 dishes, seasonal ingredients are used to prepare everything from local Japanese cuisine to Western classics and Chinese delicacies. The finely marbled steak and hearty Hokkaido curries are particularly good. Alternatively, order from the contemporary French menu or indulge in a traditional Japanese kaiseki meal. In the latter, generous courses are immaculately presented, complementing innovative flavours and subtle textures.
It’s said that the Japanese are ruthlessly efficient and this holds true at Nonokaze where the region’s thermal activity goes far from wasted in the excellent spa. Here, hot spring onsen look out over the lake while you’ll also have the chance to enjoy traditional aroma, medicine and standing public baths. However, the crowning jewel is the open-air rotenburo bath on the top floor whose infinity sides seem to drop off precipitously. If that’s not enough to fully relax you, take to the sauna or book into a treatment session at the salon. You’ll also find a gallery displaying local arts along with karaoke rooms available for hire – a true Japanese staple.
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