According to the Global Wellness Summit, J-Wellness (Japanese wellness) has become increasingly noticed by healthy holiday hunters worldwide. With its beautiful hot springs culture and immersive forest bathing traditions, it’s no wonder that the nation ranks #2 in the world’s longest life expectancies. Thus, Japan’s leadership in longevity is the result of thousands of years of commitment to self-healing and holistic wellbeing—plus its super-clean diet. So, here are the best luxury wellness retreats in Japan to reconnect with nature and indulge in century-old traditions…
This article was originally published on June 1, 2021, and was last updated on June 7, 2022.
Ryokan-inspired Onsen resort Amanemu sits beside Ago Bay. It’s among the forested hills of Ise-Shima, mineral-rich hot springs and ancient pilgrim trails. Part of the wellness pioneer hotel group Aman, the retreat whisks you away to a tranquil abode inspired by Japan’s historic Minka architecture and immersive spa therapies. The whole experience at Amanemu portrays Japanese traditions and holistic wellbeing, from the moment you wake up for the monk’s Ise Jingu Shrine breakfast to exploring the rich abundance of nature including its secret gardens and nearby hot springs. As a result, you’ll never want to leave.
Prices from US$2,228 for a one-night retreat | Book now on Compare Retreats
Four Seasons Kyoto
Hidden away in Kyoto’s temple district, Four Seasons is set within an 800-year-old Shakusui-en pond garden that pays tribute to tradition, artistry and natural landscapes. Sceneries change depending on the season—many come for the picturesque spring cherry blossoms but the red foliage in fall and snowy mountains in winter are also a treat to the eye. Much like all Four Seasons spas, the Kyoto outpost is a luxury haven for discerning travellers, offering Japanese-inspired spa rituals and revitalising treatments to restore and rebalance back to a meditative state.
Setouchi Retreat Aonagi
Designed by legendary architect Tadao Ando, Setouchi Retreat Aonagi is located in the peaceful Matsuyama region. The minimalist space is deep-rooted in Japanese traditions including its natural light-flooding rooms, serene spa and hot spring jacuzzi. As a result, it’s the perfect place to unwind and find zen in a remote part of Japan.
Aman’s second outpost in Japan (out of four) resides in urban Tokyo. It provides a holistic escape away from the city bustle. The luxury retreat in Otemachi Tower features a vast lobby, ryokan-style rooms and an Aman Spa for restoration. Thus, there are several wellness journeys to choose from, including traditional Kampo therapies and a purifying misogi experience. But don’t forget to try the many Aman offerings during your stay.
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Sankara Hotel & Spa
Secluded away on the southeast corner of Yakushima, Sankara Hotel & Spa overlooks the ocean and resides next to lush forests, tumbling waterfalls and tranquil mountains. Undoubtedly, the onsite spa comprises treatments that enhance the mind, body and Qi.
Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto
Located along Hozu River, Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto is a luxury retreat offering an enriching experience that combines modern and traditional elements. The boutique hotel kits out most rooms. And there’s even an open-air bath with natural Arashiyama spring water. Thus, you can relax at the garden spa, where green tea scrubs, jade stone facial treatments and collagen masks await. So you’ll leave feeling very pampered.