In the middle of nowhere in the Ise Peninsula of Japan, Amanemu rests on a hill overlooking the Ago Bay. It’s considered one of the best resorts in Japan. However, it is simply a series of low-lying sleek buildings and villas. Everything is in a soothing sheen of dark gray, built among the grasslands so that they practically blend with the surroundings.
Most of the 24 suites and four two-bedroom villas have views of the bay and of the pearl farms. These also have hot springs bathtubs carved out of black granite that look out onto greenery.
SIMPLE ELEGANCE AT AMANEMU
Apart from these features, Amanemu is simplicity itself. Inside these stark modern structures, you will find wooden interiors along the same lines of a Japanese shrine. The hue of brown is exactly that of a well-polished chopsticks. Inside, you’ll find more somber pottery and utensils that speak of grace and elegance.
As for the architectural features, these are so restrained that you will immediately notice a cup or a book that is not in its place. Even the three plums in a basket on the table were arranged so artlessly and yet so artistically that I preferred to take photos of them than to eat them.
HOW TO FIND PEACE
At Amanemu, you will definitely find your peace. That is, if you don’t carry it within you yet. After entering its premises, almost everything mundane will cease to matter when confronted with the seamless serenity wherever you will look. In fact, this serenity is similar to what pilgrims must experience upon reaching the famous Ise Shrine, which is just a few minutes away.
Trust me. Amanemu is sublime at its best. It will overcome you even before you realize it. By the second day, you will be experiencing joy just by sitting on the sofa on the terrace, gazing at trees and the sea.
Amanemu is quiet and serene so it’s the perfect place to get away from it all. Most of the Amanemu villas have a view of the sea and the pearl farms of Ise, except for the entry-level villas which have views of greenery.
Otherwise, the layouts of the villas at Amanemu are the same. There is the one-bedroom Amanemu villa, which is basically half of a duplex, and they are all of the same size and layout, including a hot springs bathtub. The only difference is the view.
Then you have the two-bedroom Amanemu villas which are two bedrooms joined by a living room and a common bath, although each villa is ensuite anyway. The common bath is a hot springs bath while the ensuite baths are not.
THE LARGEST HOT SPRINGS POOL IN JAPAN
In contrast to the simplicity of the villas, the spa complex is a wondrous maze of water and wellness. It’s located at the end of the estate. The design is beautiful and it has a carefully planned bathing area with a simple wooden tub as focal point.
Meanwhile, the largest outdoor hot springs pool I have ever seen in Japan is just outside. It’s not even a pool, really. Rather, it’s a collection of large and small pools that flow into each other. The pools are surrounded by stylish cabanas, lounging areas and treatment rooms. Here, in one of the treatment rooms looking out onto a rock garden, I had an excellent 90-minute shiatsu massage designed to revitalize and invigorate.
BREAKFAST AT AMANEMU
The next morning, we decided to have breakfast in our room. Meals are also served at the main restaurant. However, we could not tear ourselves away from the serenity we’d so easily become accustomed to overnight. A smiling lady delivered our Japanese breakfast to us in unvarnished wooden boxes.
Each small dish was again placed so picturesquely within its assigned space. So breakfast looked more like an artwork than food. We lingered over our meal, comforted by the understanding that life is best savoured in small but delightful doses at Amanemu. Just like our Japanese bento box breakfast.
Read more about the best hotels and resorts in Japan in Travelife Magazine.