Embraced by the subtropical rain forests of Yakushima Island, off the sourthernmost corner of Kyushu, this auberge-style retreat is designed to harmonize with the green mountains and centuries-old cedar forests that have earned the island a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Newly placed on the roster of the Ryokan Collectionâ€™s Small Luxury Japanese Hotels, the Sankara is a fine, upstanding addition to the family. Twenty-four villas and five cottage-style suites sit on elevated ground overlooking the sea, with interiors clad in wood tones that complement the leafy surrounds. The resort makes a point of coexisting with the islandâ€™s community; French-trained chef Chiharu Takei sources all his produce locally, making for guilt-free satisfaction at the hotelâ€™s two restaurants
553 Haginoue; 81/997-47-3488; sankarahotel-spa.com; doubles from US$815
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