Japan Gets Its First Ritz-Carlton Reserve Property

Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, promises an intimate ultra-luxe haven amid a world-class powder playground.

Sushi Nagi at Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. (All photos courtesy of the resort)

While leisure travel to Japan isn’t possible this winter, luxury travelers have even more reason to book a future trip to Hokkaido’s most celebrated winter sports destination. The past week has seen the opening of Higashiyama Niseko Village, a ski-in/ski-out property owned by Malaysia-based YTL Hotels and the latest addition to the Ritz-Carlton brand’s ultra-high-end Reserve portfolio. This intimate bolt-hole is only the fifth Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the world, and the first in Japan.

Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, is located within the Niseko United ski area, which offers 886 hectares of skiable terrain with easy access to backcountry trails for those who prefer to go off-piste. Intended to reflect local culture in a contemporary fashion, the ultra-luxe resort takes its design inspiration from the Japanese proverb kachou fuugetsu (literally “flower, bird, wind, moon”), which encourages reverence for the transient beauty of nature. The property features just 50 guest rooms and suites clad in natural materials such as polished marble, cedarwood, and flame-brushed granite. Each of the private and public spaces has been designed to frame views of the scenic surrounds, showcasing the transitions of light and the seasons on the nearby mountains.

A Yotei Suite bedroom at the ultra-luxe property comes with views of the namesake mountain.

Bathrooms feature an onsen-style soaking tub.

Yukibana, the resort’s all-day dining venue.

The bar at ground-floor Ume Lounge.

The dining experience at Higashiyama Niseko Village was conceptualized in line with the philosophy of shun, or the celebration of seasonal produce harvested at its peak. Locally sourced vegetables, premium cuts of meat, and top-quality seafood take the spotlight at all-day restaurant Yukibana, while the freshest sashimi is carefully prepared by the head chef at omakase venue Sushi Nagi. After a day on the slopes, Ume Lounge beckons with izakaya-style dishes as well as customized cocktails, single malts, and local brews best enjoyed by the fireplace.

Wellness-minded guests can book tailored treatments at the spa and enjoy a soak in traditional Japanese onsen baths, which harness the mineral-rich waters of Niseko’s natural hot springs. The property also has a fitness center that features high-end Technogym equipment.

Those who stay at the property will be able to call on the services of a personal host called a Do San (literally “a person of Hokkaido”), and in-house Higashiyama Reservists will be on hand to arrange all kinds of excursions and experiences in the area, whether you seek nature and adventure or explorations of the local culture and gastronomy.

More information here.

A cozy corner of Ume Lounge.

Inside the lobby at Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

The property (bottom left) offers direct access to the Niseko Annupuri International Ski Area.

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