Experience hot spring (onsen) bathing in the luxurious KAI Alps hotel in Japan this winter ski season
For skiers who, after a day on the slopes, have après-skied in Tignes, had a hammam in Chamonix and sipped glühwein in Kitzbuehel, bathing in an onsen in Japan’s Hakuba Valley is the next winter holiday must-try experience. The country’s biggest alpine resort is home to some of its best skiing, incredible natural hot springs (onsen) and one of Japan’s finest ski lodgings – KAI Alps – offering untold luxury and relaxation after a day in the powder.
A three-hour bullet train from Tokyo, KAI Alps is a luxurious boutique hot spring ryokan, offering a contemporary take on the traditional Japanese inn. Arriving at the hotel, you’ll be greeted by magnificent mountain views and a central courtyard dotted with traditional Japanese snow domes (kamakuras). Located a short (free) shuttle ride from Hakuba Valley resort, you can be back at your base after a day’s skiing in no time, leaving your equipment in the hotel’s drying room before soothing those aching limbs in one of the hotel’s magical outdoor hot spring baths (onsen), surrounded by a larch tree forest blanketed in snow.
After a restorative soak, enjoy a traditional Nagano meal in the restaurant (the Nagano region is known for its mineral-rich water and soil, and culinary creativity), where sublime dishes include yuki-nabe, a sukiyaki dish (served from a Japanese hot pot) in which a mountain of edible white foam slowly dissolves into soup, evoking the image of snow melting in the spring.
The main foyer area is complete with an irori – a traditional, rural Japanese, sunken hearth – where guests can relax and enjoy sake, snacks and games, before retiring to one of hotel’s 48 bedrooms, each designed in typical Japanese style – with glowing paper lanterns adorning the bedside, mountain-inspired woodwork features and local materials used throughout.
The Hakuba Valley ski season is late-December to late-March.
Stay at KAI Alps from £156 per room per night/£78 pp (two sharing; dinner and breakfast included)
A six-day Hakuba Valley lift pass costs £216 pp (adult) and £121 pp (child). Visit http://www.hakubavalley.com/en/ticket to book
To book KAI Alps call +81-(0)50-3786-1144 (https://kai-ryokan.jp/en/alps/)
Address: 2884-26 Taira, Omachi, Nagano 398-0001
KAI is a leading brand of luxury boutique hot spring ryokan. Every establishment offers a contemporary take on the traditional Japanese inn, set in a unique location and offering a range of immersive Japanese experiences based on local Japanese craftsmanship.
Notes to Editors
The origins of the Hoshino hospitality brand started with the opening of the first hot spring resort in 1914. The company was rebranded as Hoshino Resorts by current CEO Yoshiharu Hoshino in 1995, and now includes four hospitality brands under its parent company – HOSHINOYA (Hoshino Resorts’ flagship luxury brand), KAI (authentic hot spring ryokans/inns), RISONARE (family-friendly) and OMO (urban-based mid-range hotels), together with other unique lodgings.
Hoshino Resorts operates 38 properties (36 in Japan, plus one each in Bali and Tahiti).
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