With the feel of a Japanese folk house with traditional hearth and courtyard complete with koi pond, Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama is hidden away in the Hida mountains, and is an authentic Takayama retreat hand-crafted from Japanese cedar woods. With only 17 rooms it’s a secluded and romantic hideaway. The entry is through a flame-lit lobby where imposing timber beams hewn from a keyaki tree dominate the space above a cosy fireplace and intimate bar. In line with the principles of Japanese hospitality, the same serving lady will look after you for the duration of your stay, and female guests can choose their own yukata from a large selection. The welcoming rooms have rice straw tatami mat floors and minimal low-rise furniture, in soothing tones that create a calm atmosphere. Some rooms have a terrace with an open-air bath that looks out onto the carefully presented gardens. The food is exceptional, with the clear air and pure water of the Japanese Alps creating amazing produce such as Hida beef, sweet river fish and wild vegetables. In true ryokan fashion, multi-course dinners (kaiseki) are served in a private dining room at an open hearth, with the steak and fish courses cooked in front of the guests. Apart from the food, the standout feature at this property is its natural hot spring. It is one of the few in the region where the spring facilities and its source are owned by the same entity and with water as rich as a beauty serum with cleansing, de-fatting and emulsifying properties, it’s a real indulgence for your skin.
The same artisan carpenters that worked on local temples have craft ed this traditional ryokan whose cedar beams and sliding doors lead onto open-air onsen, koi ponds and private dining rooms. Here, Hida beef and ayu sweet fish are prepared alongside wild vegetables on an open hearth as meals span up to 15 courses. Its 17 rooms are equally welcoming with rice straw tatami mats and low-rise furniture. At day’s end, relax with a hot cup of sake by the hearth or sip on a green tea overlooking the carefully presented traditional, Japanese gardens.