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Learn the Japanese ‘Art of Welcoming’ and the Ways of the Ryokan with the Ryokan Collection

Inspiration, Lifestyle, Travel

Japanese people are known across the globe for their omotenashi. In its simplest form, omotenashi means Japanese hospitality. However, it goes much further than that. Omotenashi is an art form, something derived from the art of tea ceremony, known as sado. It is the way Japanese people strive look after their guests or customers and anticipate their every need. Each of the 32 ryokan members of the Ryokan Collection have mastered this art from, ensuring guests will experience a stay like no other.

The Ryokan Collection offer the perfect balance of luxury and deeply personal experiences. Most ryokans are found outside the cities, among nature, where guests can experience the rich culture and practices of Japan that have been nurtured for centuries. Even in these cultural experiences, the art of omotenashi can be felt.

Image courtesy of Hakone Ginyu

…And loving it in The Ryokan Collection’s Sowaka

EARTH, Inspiration, STAY

Growing up in the seventies for me meant switching on the TV after homework was finished to see Maxwell Smart, Agent 86, pull up in his red Karmann Ghia. That was during the week. On Saturday nights, I’d swap the Chief for M and be thrilled at the escapades of Roger Moore or Sean Connery. Thus, I’m rather partial to the trappings of the spy – the representation of one at least not the drab life of an ASIO employee. So, when I arrived at a tiny entrance in Gion, with a split green cloth fluttering in the breeze I felt a shiver of anticipation about what might actually lurk behind this understated façade.

The Ryokan Collection’s Sowaka

The Hoshinoya Kyoto brings the Edo period of nobility alive in exquisite luxury

Adventure, CITY, STAY

“Domo arigato,” I say to the taxi driver who smiles, bows twice and says “Hai. Hai.” I wheel my bag along a pathway by the Ooi river just over the Togetsukyo bridge heaving with crowds of tourists who clot in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district. Some are in rent-a-kimino taking selfies, others are in school uniform giggling and smiling and then there’s the occasional western tourist biting into a Miffy shaped donut.

This side of the bridge is much quieter. My quest is to find the private boat ramp for the Hoshinoya Kyoto. I see the sign just ahead written in English and Japanese and stop and breathe a sigh of relief. ‘No. No. This way,’ says a Japanese man with a camera hung around his neck gesturing downstream. I smile. Perhaps I should have donned a pair of Blahniks and a flowy Camilla for this journey. “You have to be a very special Japanese person to stay at the Hoshinoya,” my taxi driver confided before he dropped me off.

Image courtesy of Hoshinoya Kyoto
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