KAI Anjin — Ito, Japan
Ito is to Tokyo what Brighton is to London: a weekend seaside retreat within striking distance of the capital. Where Brighton offers the murky English Channel, walks along the pier and sticks of Rock, Ito boasts the sparkling Pacific, hot springs and spectacular sushi.
The Anjin, which is the latest offering by KAI, a chain of contemporary luxury hot spring ryokan operated by Japanese hotelier Hoshinoya, makes the most of Ito’s appeal, with 45 suites each opening onto panoramic sea views. Perhaps in a nod to its namesake, the 16th century British navigator, ship-builder and samurai, William Adams (known in Japan as Miura Anjin), the tatami mats and futons you’d associate with a ryokan have been replaced by queen-sized mattresses and seagrass rugs, though other traditional offerings, like the indoor/outdoor onsen on the roof and a full kaiseki dining experience, are retained.
Art pieces made of reclaimed wood lend the hotel a subtly nautical suggestion and like the interiors are the work of Tokyo design studio, Super Potato. Best known for its ongoing 30-year collaboration with home minimalists, Muji, the Anjin showcases studio founder Takashi Sugimoto’s preference for simple colours and the manipulation of contrasting textures and light, to create drama.