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Sponsored by Takachiho Tourist Association

Located south of Fukuoka city between Oita and Kumamoto prefectures on the island of Kyushu, the village of Takachiho is accessible from three host cities of the Rugby World Cup 2019. It is about a 2 hour drive to discover a lesser seen side of Japan that contains many historical and spiritual sites, as well as exceptional natural beauty. While most visitors only stop for a quick visit the famous  Takachiho Gorge, the area deserves at least an overnight stay, if not more. Takachiho’s rustic landscape provides you a great opportunity to stay in a luxurious ryokan (a Japanese traditional inn). I was lucky enough to spend a night at Takachiho Ryokan Shinsen, and I’m happy to share my wonderful experience with you. 

A staff member in kimono greets guests at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Dedicated and personalized welcome

The best of Japanese hospitality in a refined atmosphere

Conveniently located within a 5-minute drive from Takachiho Gorge and a 5-minute walk from Takachiho Shrine, Shinsen Ryokan is a beautiful location wrapped in mystery.

Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho, Miyazaki

The traditional entrance of the Shinsen ryokan

The traditional entrance of the Shinsen ryokan

Immediately upon my arrival at the Ryokan Shinsen, I was pleasantly surprised by the hospitality with which I was greeted. After entrusting the keys of my car to the staff, a lovely employee wearing a kimono came to welcome and guide me.

Entering my room, I took off my shoes and slipped into a comfortable pair of slippers. The employee invited me to relax in the living room. While serving me tea with a welcome dessert, she explained the meal times, as well as the facilities and services available to the guests, all in English. Among the many services offered by Ryokan Shinsen are a kimono dressing experience and a car service with a driver.

These services are quite unique to this luxurious facility, and are all-inclusive, so there is no reason not to make use of them. Additionally, the sweet employee was fully dedicated to taking care of me during my entire stay. She explained that they try to match the employee and the guest in age, to make them feel as comfortable as possible.

Tour of the Ryokan Shinsen facilities at Takachiho

Tour of the Ryokan facilities

Sophisticated traditional rooms with a private Japanese garden

Being located deep in the mountains, the design of the ryokan is inspired by its natural environment and the buildings integrate natural materials such as wood and bamboo. The 3 largest guest rooms, located in the annex, each have a separate entrance, and are between 60 and 100 square meters in spaciousness! Each room has a themed decor and a private Japanese garden. I was lucky enough to stay in the Tsukuyomi and Manyo room, which also includes a cypress rotenburo (hot Japanese bath).

Rotenburo on the terrace of my room at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Rotenburo on the terrace of my room

Private Japanese Garden of my room at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Private Japanese Garden

This room is a perfect combination of Japanese and Western design. With over 100 square meters of space, composed of a double bedroom, a western style living room with high ceilings, and a second Japanese living room, this room has a refined and relaxing atmosphere that enabled me to spend quality time without the slightest disturbance. In the evening, I sank into the soothing water of my rotenburo and enjoyed contemplating the Japanese garden before getting an extremely restful night’s sleep.

Interior of my room at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Interior of a room at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Living area of a room at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Discover Japanese tradition: Kimonos and kaiseki gastronomy

Before heading to dinner, I tried out the kimono service. First, the employee in charge of my stay helped me to choose a kimono, and then helped me with the fairly complicated process of wearing it, all in the discrete atmosphere of my room. The process of wearing a kimono and having someone help dress me made me feel as though I was a Japanese princess!

Kimono selection and dressing at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Dinner is held in the main building which is reached by walking through a charming Japanese garden with a waterfall. Each guest settles into their own private traditional room, mine overlooking a garden. The festivities of the meal starts with a sake tasting before the food arrives. The ryokan’s restaurant serves kaiseki ryôri style cuisine (Japanese gourmet cuisine), consisting of several small dishes made from seasonal products sourced in Japan only. The highlights of the meal were the Takachiho wagyu beef and abalone.

Japanese garden at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Kaiseki meal at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

Wagyu beef kaiseki at Ryokan Shinsen in Takachiho.

After enjoying my feast, I was escorted back to your room and asked for your breakfast time. The next day the breakfast served is also very rich!

For a taste of pampered luxury in a part of Japan unfettered with crowds of tourists, a few days of relaxation in Takachiho might be just what you are looking for.

Useful information

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English website: http://www.takachiho-shinsen.co.jp/english/

Other good places to stay in Takachiho

■Kamigakure 離れの宿神隠れ


■Solest Takachiho Hotel ソレスト高千穂ホテル


■Hotel Shikimi ホテル四季見


■ Hotel Grateful Takachiho グレイトフル高千穂


Cyrielle Ugnon-Coussioz

Cyrielle Ugnon-Coussioz

Settled in Tokyo since October 2017, during the week I help foreigners to move to Japan; and I dedicated weekends to my passion: exploring the world in all its nuances and sharing my discoveries!

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