Enjoy Japanese fine dining at its best, served by your private onsen in the middle of a bamboo forest
Natural world | Relaxation
Kurokawa, a hot spring resort town in central Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island, trades neon billboards and brash colours for wooden buildings and earthen walls. Quiet laneways bring you past intimate cafés, over babbling streams to outdoor rotenburo baths and out into its green valley. Here, you’ll find Takefu tucked away among 32 acres of bamboo forest. Perhaps relax in a lakeside hammock in its waterfall gardens that, come the evening, are tastefully lit in dark blues and atmospheric greens.
Just 11 lodges are spread across Takefue’s tiered grounds, connected by stone pathways, covered walkways and pretty bridges. And, with the sun all but blocked by the dense stacks of bamboo, it really does feel a world away from Japan’s busy cities. Each accommodation is individually designed around its location with open-air baths ringed by cypress trees, river rocks and even caves. Footbaths and provided bamboo water – used to cool the baths down – are welcome touches. Back inside, tatami mats, sliding doors and dark wood low-rise furniture are every bit as authentic as the coarse oilpaper umbrellas and lacquerware decorations.
Meals are served in your accommodation; dine next to your private outdoor bath or in tastefully decorated traditional dining rooms. Only seasonal ingredients are used with kaiseki menus changing monthly. Summer can see upwards of dozen courses ranging from horse sashimi and delicate sea bream slices to grilled fillets and seafood hotpots. Expect dishes to be immaculately presented with cakes in the shape of teddy bears and slices of fresh fruit carefully balanced against one another. Wash it all down with a glass of red, or, to get in the swing of things, order a premium bottle of sake. Breakfasts are equally indulgent.
While for most guests the stunning setting and private baths of their rooms are enough, there’s plenty more on site to ensure that your stay is as comfortable as possible. There’s a bamboo sauna room, provided tea boxes and the excellent Zen Spa where traditional techniques are applied in a range of massages, also available in your own room. There’s even a chilled, basin in the grounds filled with complimentary cold soft drinks to cool off after your soak with. You’ll also have use of millstone coffee facilities, yukata kimonos and straw sandals.
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