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Standing on a mountainside vegetable patch, chef Chiharu Takei – wearing his kitchen whites beneath an anorak and wellies – pulls a clump of carrots from the soil and says: “Dinner!” Several hours later, in the hotel restaurant, the vegetables reappear sliced on square black-slate plates served alongside red Kagoshima beef. Forget supermarket shopping. Local produce grown in the surrounding countryside is what you’ll find at the new Sankara Hotel & Spa on southern Japan’s Yakushima island. Home to the world’s oldest cedar forests, the mountainous…

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