Dreamy getaways for solo travelers and small groups
to escape crowded cities
While its big cities are well-known as fast-paced cultural meccas of the East, Japan offers plenty of remote escapes, ideal for solo travelers or small groups looking for a truly private getaway. Below are a handful of accommodations throughout Japan that travelers can book for exclusive-use private stays, once travel restrictions are lifted.
In Shiga Prefecture, Miidera Temple stands as one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in Japan. Originally built in 672 by Emperor Tenmu, the temple was a memorial built to honor his brother who was murdered. The temple gets its name from the three wells inside that have been used in ceremonies to wash newborns. Today, the temple building can be rented out by a group for a stay anytime of the year, including in the spring, when the temple’s famed cherry blossoms bloom. Guests can stay in the renovated priests’ quarters at Myogon-in Hall offering all the comforts of a traditional Japanese-style home, as well as a private garden reserved exclusively for lodgers.
Travelers can also opt for exclusive-use buyouts of various machiyas (traditional wooden townhouses) and castles throughout Japan. Iori Takayama in Gifu Prefecture, a traditional Japanese-style house turned into a hotel, can be rented by up to eight guests. The stay includes Japanese-style breakfast, a private open-air bath and a Michelin-starred chef on hand to prepare kaiseki dinner. Guests have complete privacy in the house, which includes a kitchen, living room and dining room – with staff just a call away. Travelers looking to stay in their very own castle should look to Ozu Castle in Ehime Prefecture. Starting this summer, this classic Edo period castle can be rented for a full buyout, as the castle only allows for one booking at a time.
For travelers looking to experience agrotourism, Stay Japan offers a number of options throughout Japan for guests to experience farming life and the different types of vegetation across the archipelago. Guests can participate in harvesting oranges and apricots at a farm in Wakayama, raise cattle at Nakamura Ranch in Kumamoto or harvest spices and herbs at a farm in Okinawa.
A true escape into the wild, Eastern Hokkaido boasts the most untouched nature in Japan. Here, travelers can partake in a number of outdoor activities, including canoeing, hiking, horseback riding and learning the native culture of the Ainu. Akan-Mashu National Park is home to Lake Kussharo, the largest caldera lake in Japan. The lake itself has a shoreline of hot springs and offers ideal spots for a canoe ride. wondertrunk & co offers premium camping tents right by the lake, ideal for travelers looking to be fully immersed in nature.