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Luxe Lavs: Relax and Ryokan

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gora-kadanSometimes to find the world’s most surprising hotel bathrooms you need to go overseas and even travel back in time, in a sense. In Japan, a ryokan (旅館) is a type of traditional Japanese inn that originated in the Edo period (1603–1868), which served travelers along Japan’s roadways. Find out what makes the ryokan bathing experience different in this week’s Luxe Lavs.

Staying at a Japanese ryokan is a uniquely Japanese experience. Two hours southwest of Tokyo within Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park,  the Gora Kadan is a former holiday retreat for the imperial family.

Leaving the noise of the city, and settling into the quiet, the ryokan is about total relaxation where guests can put on their Yukata, walk out to their private garden and personal soaking tub while taking in a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. The experience blends modern design elements with luxuries such as open-air baths, Yukatas (cotton kimonos), traditional gardens, tatami mats and futons.

In the newly renovated rooms, you can choose between an open-air stone bath in the garden or terrace with a steam sauna with a shower booth or an indoor wooden bath with shower. The Gora Kadan also has two mineral rich wells, where the hot spring water flows and feeds the open-air baths for a skin conditioning healthy soak in the communal onsens (hot springs)

For a different Luxe Lavs experience check out last week’s column on the Never-Fog Shower.

By Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno for