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My Route du Bonheur

Tokyo to Kobe: imagination land

Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge

+1 800 735 2478 * *Local charges apply
Travelling from Tokyo to Kobe might seem like a long urban drag. Anything but ... this trip is much more bucolic and poetic than the Japan Railways bullet train hints at. We weave around Honshu Island, taking back roads and discovering a great many museums and galleries recounting the history of places so often shrouded in mystery ...
Suggestion of itinerary
  • 5 hotels
  • 4 restaurants
  • from US$ 3,320.97 *
1
45 km
2
35 km
3
97 km
4
48 km
5
460 km
6
219 km
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To give you inspiration, Relais & Châteaux presents the Routes du Bonheur: suggestions for travel itineraries that you can fully personalise according to your wishes and the experiences you would like to discover. Our consultants are available to help customise your route and assist you in making reservations at our properties. It is up to you to reserve any recommended activities on-site or nearby that might interest you.
*Total price provided for information only, based on accommodation for two people in a double room for the number of nights per property as indicated on this page, exclusive of recommended activities, properties that cannot be reserved online and restaurants.


1 Kyoto — 1 Night
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Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant

Kanamean Nishitomiya

Kyoto - Japan

Hotel and restaurant in town. The Kanamean Nishitomiya is one of the ryokans which have survived in the modern surroundings of downtown Kyoto. The wooden architecture hosts only seven suites which lead to a little Japanese garden with seasonal flowers. Futon, tatamis, bamboo furniture… true serenity is prevailing. Mr and Mrs Nishida, the fifth generation of hoteliers in this property, welcome you personally, respecting the Japanese tradition of hospitality. Like the very beautiful crockery in which the dishes are served, your hosts look after every detail inspired by the history of the Honeyanocho district, renowned for crafted fans, which have given their name to the hotel. ... Learn moreless

7 rooms
(from) US$ 438.32
Choose Room
Close to the property

Miyawaki Baisen-an, the art of fans

Miyawaki Baisen-an, the art of fans

Founded in 1823 in the heart of Kyoto, the old workshop of Miyawaki Baisen-en developed unique know-how and techniques in the art of fan-making. In 1987, the New York Times wrote a piece about it, declaring: “The store bespeaks a tradition that goes back over a thousand years, to the first flowering of classical Japanese culture. ” Time and the winds may breeze by, but the fans created within these walls are as wonderful as ever ... 

Kamisoe, the art of paperwork

Kamisoe, the art of paperwork

In his little shop in the Nishijin district, Ko Kado is reinventing the art of Karakami, or handmade patterned paper. On the first floor in his workshop, the artisan designs cards and envelopes, as well as sliding panels. Delicate patterns in subtle colours appropriately adorn the fine traditional paper. The art of reinventing a centuries-old tradition on a daily basis ... 

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2 Osaka
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Kashiwaya

Osaka - Japan

Restaurant in town. In this acclaimed traditional Ryotei restaurant on the outskirts of Osaka, Japan’s landmark city, Kashiwaya offers modern Japanese food in a dining room designed in the “Sukiya” style, Japan’s traditional format for tea ceremonies: Fusuma sliding doors, shoji paper screens, tatami mats and Tokonoma reception rooms, each executed in a contemporary style. The menu is limited to just eight dishes, which are changed every month. The specialities of the famous Chef Hideaki Matsuo include Amadai, a dish made with grilled tile fish marinated in a salt shrimp “shiokara” dip, and puffer roe boiled in sake, floating on a turnip soup. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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(from) US$ 92.24
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Close to the property

A day at the National Bunraku Theatre

A day at the National Bunraku Theatre

Osaka is the birthplace of bunraku, the 17th century theatre form in which characters are represented by oversized puppets controlled in full view of the audience. A one-of-a-kind experience, some play performances can last an entire day! All of the parts are recited by a single chanter ...

Osaka National Museum of Art

Osaka National Museum of Art

This impressive cathedral of glass and steel conceals one of the country’s most amazing museums. The contemporary building designed by César Pelli looks like it is about to take flight from the heart of Nakanoshima island. Inside, hidden underground, and sheltered from the daylight, we stroll past traditional Japanese paintings and engravings and works by the great masters (Monet, Cézanne, Picasso etc.)

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3 Tokyo
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Romain Herbreteau
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Dominique Bouchet Tokyo

Tokyo - Japan

Restaurant in town. In the chic district of Ginza, the restaurant of Dominique Bouchet, who presided over amongst others the kitchens of La Tour d'Argent and the Hôtel de Crillon, hopes to be a site of transmission for the culture, traditions, and cuisine of France. Right in the heart of Tokyo, wooden panels, velvety sofas, and white tablecloths recreate a decor typical of a Paris apartment. It is a setting worthy of its gastronomic heritage, to which the chef adds his own personal touch. Here, one can taste blue lobster topped with crisp mashed potatoes and buttery French caviar or, a confit of foie gras marinated with Japanese sake or a fillet of Bazas beef with a Choron sauce . ... Learn moreless

Key Services
(from) US$ 69.18
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Restaurant Hôtel de Mikuni

Tokyo - Japan

Restaurant in town. Chef Kiyomi Mikuni, a maestro in the art of adding a Japanese flourish to French cuisine, has one of the most sought after restaurants in Tokyo. Thyme, rosemary and chervil are skillfully paired with maitake, a fragrant mushroom, and kaiware, a local herb. The best of both cultures are showcased in daring creations like the famous seabass borsch, Mikuni-style, pan-fried langoustines from Odawara and carrot cube fricassee in vermilion butter essence. In honour of the masters who inspired him, Kiyomi Mikuni’s menu also features Paul Bocuse’s truffle soup, Alain Chapel’s lobster salad and chicken liver gateau in a crayfish butter sauce. ... Learn moreless

(from) US$ 68.26
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Restaurant Sant Pau

Tokyo - Japan

Restaurant in town. One of the best Catalan restaurants is also present in the land of the rising sun. The Japanese version of the famous Sant Pau restaurant is located in the district of Nihonbashi, near Ginza. People in Tokyo marvel at the delicate and modern Catalan cooking of Chefs Carme Ruscalleda and Yosuke Okazaki, who raise cuisine to an art form. On the menu, you will find a wide variety of local Japanese fish and vegetables. Do not miss Iberian pork, pigeon cooked in an aroma of cherry blossom or the suite of desserts. The light is soft and Spanish avant-garde paintings adorn the walls. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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(from) US$ 83.02
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Close to the property

21_21 Design Sight, where the arts converge

21_21 Design Sight, where the arts converge

For many people, this is one of the beacons of artistic creativity in Tokyo. Installed in a bunker designed by Ando Tadao, 21_21 Design Sight is the meeting point for the capital’s artists. More like a studio than a museum, this is an incubator of ideas where one visits as much to debate as to view. In this space, we can learn about new trends in design, architecture and art in all of its present forms.

SCAI, Art in a bathhouse

SCAI, Art in a bathhouse

SCAI the Bathhouse, a small contemporary art gallery which since 1993 has been housed in a 200-year old building and former public baths. Today, the avant-garde of the artistic community meet here among works by Anish Kapoor, Tadanori Yokoo and Lee Ufan. SCAI is also a venue where you can discover the future stars of Japanese art such as Tatsuo Miyajima and Toshikatsu Endo etc.

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4 Hakone — 1 Night
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Gôra Kadan

Hakone - Japan

Hotel and restaurant in the mountains. A stay in Gôra Kadan, the former retreat of the Imperial Family, Kanin-no-miya, situated in the heart of Hakone National Park, is an invitation to bring your five senses to life by immersing yourself in the ancient Japanese way of life. Listen to the gentle swoosh of a sliding wall made of rice paper, smell the fragrant flower incense, taste the traditional Kaiseki cuisine and feel the touch of silk. This calm retreat is located in an area known for its springs, which are heated by volcanic rocks. The suites have been designed in a minimalist style, and the hotel’s facilities include a swimming pool, a spa, and a beauty salon. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
Key Services
39 rooms
(from) US$ 1,058.72
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Close to the property

Sculptures of Hakone Open-air Museum

Sculptures of Hakone Open-air Museum

Opened in 1969, this garden-museum extending over more than seven hectares is home to some 120 works by world-renowned artists. Visitors can amble through lush greenery, passing monumental sculptures by Rodin and Miro, Picasso and Calder, Niki de Saint-Phalle and Yasuo Mizui. Even though the atmosphere changes with the seasons and blossoms, many who visit feel that time stands still in the midst of these sculptures ...

Oriental wonders at the Okada Museum of Art

Oriental wonders at the Okada Museum of Art

The Okada Museum of Art invites you on a refined journey through artworks from Japan, China and Korea, from antiquity to the present day. Businessman Okada Kazuo was responsible for collecting these prints, paintings and ceramics, some signed by the great masters and others anonymous. The impressive result offers a cross-disciplinary overview of the art and techniques of South-East Asia. 

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5 Izu — 1 Night
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Asaba

Izu-shi, Shizuoka-Ken - Japan

Hotel and restaurant in a village. It is said that the great teacher of Japanese Buddhism, Kobo Daishi, bathed every morning in the river Katsura and emerged purified. A few minutes from this river, the hotel Asaba submerges you in the Japan of legends: traditional “Noh” theatre performed by the riverside. After a game of golf in picturesque surroundings, leave your kimono behind and enjoy the pleasures of an open-air bath filled with spring water. The restaurant serves traditional dishes with delightful combinations of sweet and savoury flavours. In the lounge, relax in a chair designed by famous Italian-American Harry Bertoia and in the garden, be inspired by the sweet fragrances of nature. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
TripAdvisor
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16 rooms
(from) US$ 899.33
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Close to the property

A sanctuary among the hot springs

A sanctuary among the hot springs

According to the legend, in the 8th century, the young monk Kobo Daishi was an apprentice in Shuzenji. In the shade of bamboo forests, the priest performed a miracle to bring forth the Tokko-no-Yu hot spring. Shuzenji temple was later built on the site where this miraculous healing spring appeared. Even today, the atmosphere among the little bridges, statues, cherry trees and plum trees is both bucolic and timeless. 

Yayoi Kusuma at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art

Yayoi Kusuma at the Matsumoto City Museum of Art

At the entrance to the museum, an impressive psychedelic work of art announces: “Maboroshi no Hana” (The Visionary Flowers), and is the work of Yayoi Kusuma, one of the city’s famous daughters. Opened in 2002 to showcase Matsumoto’s greatest artists, the museum provides a beautiful setting for the calligraphy of Shinzan Kamijo and the paintings of Kazuo Tamura.

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6 Kaga — 1 Night
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Beniya Mukayu

Kaga-shi - Japan

Hotel and restaurant in a village. Founded in 1928 in the spa town of Yamashiro, Beniya Mukayu is located on the road from the revered Kyoto to the world heritage sites Shirakawago-Gokayama, close to Kanazawa. The hotel’s architecture elegantly emphasizes contrasts between light, shade and neutral colours. Every room has its own private open-air hot spring bath, with a wonderful view of the authentic Japanese garden. The traditional tea ceremony performed by the owner, yoga lessons given every morning, the finest Kaga style Kaiseki cuisine served on locally crafted crockery, as well as invigorating medicinal spa treatments, combine to make Beniya Mukayu a peaceful heaven. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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16 rooms
(from) US$ 680.17
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On the route

Kenroku-en, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens

Kenroku-en, one of Japan’s most beautiful gardens

High above Kanazawa close to the castle it is named after, Kenroku-en garden (the Six Attributes garden) is considered one of the finest gardens on the archipelago. Patiently maintained since the Feudal period, it extends around a man-made pond. Covering over 11 hectares, the garden is dotted with hills and little houses from where visitors can pause and take in the “beauty of the world”. 

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art

Opened in 2004, this museum lives up to its name. Its circular form truly invites you to consider the art of the future. The building’s transparency opens organically onto the works and installations by major contemporary artists including Gerhard Richter, James Turrell, Francis Alÿs and Atsuko Tanaka. At its centre, all eyes are on the amazing swimming pool by Argentinian visual artist Leandro Erlich ...

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7 Kobe — 1 Night
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Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

Kobe Kitano Hotel

Kobe - Japan

Restaurant and hotel in town. Kobe is the most cosmopolitan of Japanese cities. In the chic district of Kitano, foreigners who settled here from the 19th century onwards, built residences in the style of their distant homelands. A French lifestyle is very much in evidence in this fine red brick building that is testimony to an entire chapter of Japan’s history. There is a courtyard and interior garden, elegant décor and, above all, the cuisine of Chef Hiroshi Yamaguchi, who is skilled in the art of sublime dishes. On the menu is the famous fugu and its soft roe in crunchy potatoes, caramelised salsify and vegetable jus, or the incomparable Kobe beef in a salt crust ... Learn moreless

Key Services
30 rooms
(from) US$ 244.43
Choose Room
Close to the property

Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum

Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum

Even today, Hakutsuru is still king in Nada-ku, the renowned sake-brewing district. Adjacent to the brewery, the museum takes visitors through the manufacturing process of this traditional drink (from washing the rice to barrelling). Period tools, imposing models and videos presented in English help you to get acquainted with the subtle alcoholic beverage, which you are naturally invited to taste at the end of your tour ...

On the route

Himeji-jo, the miracle castle

Himeji-jo, the miracle castle

Many people view Himeji-jo with its white outline, 5-storey keep and 3km of walls as Japan's most majestic castle. Built from 1580 on, it has miraculously retained its original materials and structure. An icon of Japan, Himeji-jo was used as the set for Kurosawa’s film, Ran (1985). Following major renovation works in recent years, it has just reopened its doors to visitors ...

Discover why booking with Relais & Châteaux is a world of privileges
Texts : © Gallimard Loisirs
Photos : © Hideaki Hamada