Forest wisdom— Yakushima


Sankara Hotel & Spa is a new eco-friendly island hideaway surrounded by ancient forests and mountains off the coast of Kyushu. It offers detached villas and a cultural blend of Balinese design and impeccable Japanese hospitality.

Balinese, Design, Hotel, Kyushu, Mountains, Spa, hospitality

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…

01 A butler for each guest.
02 The same impeccable level of personalised service as a ryokan inn.
03 Eco car-sharing with hybrid Prius cars.
04 The chef tailors food to each guest – from portion sizes to ingredients.
05 Staff registered as residents and local taxpayers.

Yakushima trees

From tangled roots to cloud-brushing canopies, the ancient “yakisugi” cedars of Yakushima are among the most revered trees in the world – around a fifth of the island is a World Heritage Site. One must-see is Jomon Sugi, which is believed to be one of the world’s oldest trees, dating back thousands of years. Getting there involves a hike and a 10-hour round trip. The island is also dubbed the “Alps of the Ocean” due to its lofty mountain peaks, while the lush green landscape is the result of its rainy climate.


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