Lonely Planet Writer

Japan’s latest boutique hotel is nestled in a tranquil woodland

A brand new boutique hotel has opened in Japan that sees guests staying in beautiful, modern lodgings that have been designed to blend in harmoniously with the surrounding woodland.

Shishi-Iwa House in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
Shishi-Iwa House in Nagano Prefecture, Japan. Image by Shishi-Iwa House

Located just an hour from Tokyo by train in the mountain resort of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture, Shishi-Iwa House is a 10-room boutique resort and retreat that focuses on the relationship between architecture and nature. The area is a popular vacation destination for Japanese people and is famed for its idyllic setting, rugged mountains and natural rivers. Designed by award-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, the two-storey hotel allows guests to relax and reflect in style, enjoy quiet open spaces and take part in unique social interactions in shared areas.

The Library. Image by Shishi-Iwa House

With the goal of conserving as many existing trees in the property as possible, the hotel was built with timber frames that wind and curve through the woods. Areas of Shishi-Iwa House include The Grand Room and The Library, rooms that connect guests to the expansive outdoor sections. Offering beautiful views, it boasts a garden that includes over 250 trees. The hotel can be booked by individual travellers and groups, who can choose to take over a terrace villa or the entire property.

A ground floor guest room. Image by Shishi-Iwa House

“The resort officially opened its doors to the public this month and so far, we’ve received very positive feedback from our guests. We encourage guests to explore the rich culture and history of the town as well as Harunire Terrace. Our hotel team is available to assist in planning bespoke activities for an authentic Karuizawa experience. They can also shop at Karuizawa Prince Plaza, one of the largest high-end outlet malls in Japan, and indulge in unique dining experiences,” a representative of Shishi-Iwa House told Lonely Planet Travel News.

Shishi-Iwa House has been designed as a relaxing space for travellers. Image by Shishi-Iwa House

Shishi-Iwa House is also close to sporting and outdoor activities such as golf, tennis, skiing, ice skating and hiking.

More information on Shishi-Iwa House is available at the official website.