This hotel-resort stands atop a ridge with a wide view of the lush forests below and, about a kilometer away, the ocean. Behind stand dramatic granite heights, continually changing in appearance as they play with the sun, the clouds and the rains.
Everything about the hotel is designed to maximize a comfortable intimacy with the island, Yakushima. Guests entering the lobby for the first time halt, mouths open, as they are confronted with a vast, ancient, apparently living cedar tree which forms the center-piece of the six-story all-glass lobby, huge blue mountains forming the backdrop through spotlessly clear glass. Lobby, lounges, dining areas and rooms all have large expanses of glass revealing mountains or sea, depending on the side of the building.
The rooms themselves are large even by North American standards, with furnished balconies, spacious seating area, comfortable beds, and a suite of rooms where we would expect a bathroom.
The grounds are just as spectacular, with an artificial waterfall/fountain - illuminated in the evening - walking trails through jungle (we were warned to be careful of the moneys) and a somewhat challenging trail to a spectacular natural waterfall some 1.5 km from the hotel.
Given my colorful prose, you might think I was paid to write this. Quite the contrary - it was a very costly, but memorable, stay. Worth it? Certainly, if only once in a lifetime!