IKIMASHO Luxury Stays: Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto

Quaint relaxation at the foot of the Japanese Alps 日本アルプスの麓でゆったりくつろぐ

With a longer spring break to enjoy than usual, Mrs IKIMASHO and I made the most of it by taking a couple of short trips: travelling down to Naoshima island in Kagawa for a few days, before heading up north to Nagano prefecture to visit Asama Onsen just outside Matsumoto. From the islands to the alps, it was nice to be immersed in nature – with the added bonus of both locations enjoying sakura in full bloom!

今年の春休みはいつもより少し長めだったため、Mrs. IKIMASHOと一緒に複数のプチ旅行を楽しめました。まずは香川県に属する直島(なおしま)で何日間過ごし、その後、北へ向かって長野県の松本市のすぐ外にある浅間温泉へ行ってきました。島からアルプスへと、両方の旅先で大自然にどっぷりと浸かることができ、さらには両所で桜が満開だったので、桜と自然を満喫することができました。

I’ll do a few photo essays of both trips soon, but today I want to write about one of the hotels we stayed in. While our accommodation in Naoshima was relatively simple, the ryokan we stayed at in Matsumoto was anything but.


Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto ・星野リゾート「界 松本」

Our debut trip to Matsumoto would also be the first time for us to experience the Hoshino brand – their KAI collection of properties labelled as a contemporary take on traditional hot spring ryokans (Japanese inns). In fact, the hot springs at KAI Matsumoto were said to have once been used by the lord of Matsumoto Castle. The journey from Tokyo by limited express train took around 2hrs 40min, passing by rice fields, mountains and small villages.

私たちの松本市への初めての旅行が、まさしく星野リゾートブランドのホテルでの初めての滞在となりました。星野リゾートホテル「界 松本」は伝統的な温泉旅館をモダンにアレンジした日本旅館です。事実、「界 松本」の温泉はかつて松本城主が利用していたと言われております。東京からは特急で2時間40分ほどかかり、途中、田んぼや山、小さな村々を通りました。

Arriving at Asama Onsen ・浅間温泉に到着

Matsumoto itself is a small city, and it really is remarkable how quickly you find yourself in the countryside once you travel away from the center. The ryokan was located in Asama Onsen, a resort town at the foot of the Japanese Alps. It was a quick 20 minute bus ride from Matsumoto station. Immediately we noticed how quaint the location was, as well as the striking facade of the property.


The KAI Matsumoto Experience ・「界 松本」の体験

For those unfamiliar with staying at a Japanese ryokan, your vacation takes place within the resort just as much as outside it. From the moment we checked in, there really wasn’t much need for us to leave the property, though we loved exploring the hilly backstreets of the local area. Our large room (with an ornate golden entrance) overlooked the snow-capped mountains and had its own private spring bath. Our futons were carefully prepared for us while we were down at dinner. And we got to enjoy an evening concert in the striking lobby at night – the music carried throughout the atrium.


A Dinner to Remember ・思い出に残るディナー

The highlight of our stay at KAI Matsumoto was the elaborate kaiseki dinner served in our own private dining room while we wore samue (traditionally worn by Zen Buddhist monks). What followed was eight courses, exquisitely presented – including assorted delicacies served inside what looked like a colorful globe. The inspiration for this unique serving bowl actually comes from a temari ball – a decorative object in Japan that hides a myriad of intricate geometric shapes. What was hiding inside ours was a lot more delicious!

「界 松本」での滞在中のハイライトは、僧侶が昔身に付けていた作務衣を着ながら個室で頂いた洗練された懐石料理のご馳走でした。8品からなるコースは全て美しく盛り付けられてありました。そのうちの1品はカラフルな手毬(多種多様な幾何学的な形が隠されている)をモチーフにした蓋付きの鉢に盛り付けられてあり、とても印象的でした。鉢の中身もとても美味しくて感激しました。

IKIMASHO! 行きましょう!

Breakfast in the morning was served in the same private dining room as the night before, and was just as impressive. It set us up for the day ahead – walking around the stunning Matsumoto Castle with the sakura in full bloom. With the mountains fully visible from virtually anywhere in the city, we felt refreshed as we boarded our train back to Tokyo. Thank you KAI Matsumoto for a wonderful stay!

翌朝の朝食は夕食を食べた同じ個室で給仕され、とても豪華な朝食でした。素晴らしい朝食を終え、新しい一日への準備ができました。ちょうど桜も満開で、桜があちこちに咲いている松本城は非常に美しかったです。町のどこからでも見える山々を眺めた後、癒された気分で東京行きの電車に乗りました。素敵な経験をありがとうございました、「界 松本」!

Follow in our footsteps:

Images and text © IKIMASHO! 2022. All views expressed here are my own.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s