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Natural Splendor

by Sandra Ramani

The new Ritz-Carlton, Nikko, is a perfect place to find calm and immerse yourself in nature.

Head just two-and-a-half-hours north of frenetic Tokyo to find peace among nature. In this part of the Tochigi Prefecture, sites like the cedar-filled Nikko National Park, serene Lake Chuzenji, 318-foot-high Kegon Falls and sacred Mount Nantai showcase the spectacular natural beauty of the region, while the UNESCO World Heritage Shrine and Temples of Nikko trail highlights some of its cultural wonders. 

At the heart of all this, right in the national park, sits The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko, which opened its doors this past July. Beautifully designed to reflect local artisan traditions and instill a sense of calm, the 94-room resort is an idyllic base from which to enjoy activities like forest walks and bike rides, lake cruises, trips out to the famous Senjogahara Marshland and hikes to three highland waterfalls for a traditional purification ritual. 

The resort is also both the first international luxury resort to open in this region and the first Ritz-Carlton property to feature an authentic Japanese onsen, or hot spring, bathing experience. The Spa offers both indoor and outdoor pools filled with thermal waters from the nearby mineral-rich Yumoto Onsen geothermal springs, which have been in use since at least the 8th century. (There is an Onsen Suite that has its own private al fresco soaking tub.) The spa’s signature Nature Immersion treatment also celebrates the meditative setting with components like guided breath and visualization work, an herbal body exfoliation and a massage performed with warm bamboo wands and a peony-scented oil. ritzcarlton.com 

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