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Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge
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.
Restaurant in town. Chef Kazunori Otowa has dedicated his work to French cuisine, and opened his restaurant in his hometown, the vibrant city of Utsunomiya, after gaining experience in Europe and alongside acclaimed chef Alain Chapel. Beautifully presented and composed as sophisticated works of art, his dishes focus on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients such as Tochigi Wagyu beef, Yashio-Masu (local trout), eel, cheese from Nasu Highland or Asian pears. Balancing the French influence in the cuisine, the decor of the restaurant pays tribute to the regional heritage, using Oya stone and Mashiko pottery mixed with antiques, sculptures and iron art collected by Kazunori Otowa over the years. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. Every room at Bettei Senjuan looks out on Mount Tanigawa, with its snow-capped peaks and the cherry blossom trees at its base that turn the landscape a beautiful pink in spring. Take the time to discover the hot spring baths in the rooms, the gardens and the tranquil wellness . Floor to ceiling windows frame the views of unspoilt nature and allow natural light to fill the zen-inspired interior, where modern design meets the art of Kumiko wood joinery and original calligraphy. The impressively presented traditional food with a contemporary twist is also influenced by the hot springs for which the region is famous. ... Learn moreless
Restaurant in town. The black and white Namako (traditional lattice) on the lower wall and the heavy vault doors and windows evoke the past of the building. This ancient “Kura”, a Japanese traditional storehouse, dates back to the 19th century and has been converted into a restaurant in 2007. In this peaceful place, minutes away from the Matsumoto castle, Chef Masahiro Tanabe, who has worked many years in acclaimed restaurants in Europe, prepares refined “natural French cuisine”. Passionate about the quality of ingredients, he travels across Nagano prefecture meeting farmers to select the freshest vegetables and products, such as Shinshu beef or Shinshu salmon, he will reveal at their best in his dishes. ... Learn moreless
Hotel and restaurant in a park. In the heart of Japan’s “Northern Alps”, discover the secret charms of this hotel that opened in 1931. This little jewel is tucked away in the calm and serenity of the mountains, between the snowy peaks and fine traditional hot springs, located in the national park, and renowned for their therapeutic qualities. Tobira Onsen Myojinkan offers a divinely serene atmosphere in the forest, relaxing baths in the heart of nature, aromatherapy and superb rooms and suites. The sophisticated Kaiseki-style food is a marvellous balance of textures, flavours and colours. Organic French cuisine is also on offer, prepared by a talented chef who specializes in macrobiotic cuisine. ... Learn moreless
Overlooking the city, Matsumoto Castle is one of the few castles designated as a National Treasure. Constructed at the end of the 16th century, it typifies the Sengoku period. Its towers are all made of black wood and the city’s inhabitants call it the "Black Crow". The entire castle looks like a giant pagoda. Many festivals and events are held here throughout the year, including major taiko (Japanese drumming) concerts.
Matsumoto is famous for being one of the sunniest cities in Japan. In spring, hikers and tourists turn up en masse to discover Mount Kobo. On its slopes, some five thousand cherry trees show off their most beautiful blossoms for a time that is both precious and fleeting. It is a poem delivered by nature, like this haiku by Moritake: "A fallen flower/ Rises back up to its branch/No, it was a butterfly."
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
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
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
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
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
Noh plays are regularly performed in the heart of the Asaba estate at a hundred-year-old theatre located at the water’s edge. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to see a show during my last visit. Favoring emotion as opposed to texts, Noh combines song, music and dance. Only men perform and it is the oldest form in Japanese classic theatre.