The HOSHINOYA Fuji Hotel is not so much a glamping experience as we know it in the west, more of a luxury rustic retreat in a delicious red pine forest. No canvas in sight here, more like state of the art Scandinavian style luxury designer cabins and all kinds of pampering within touching distance. Best of all, every cabin has its own up close and personal view of Mount Fuji towering over Lake Kawaguchi from the floor to ceiling glass and the private outdoor deck.
It is all in all, a spectacular experience, where glamping just doesn’t do it justice in my opinion.
Having said that, it all begins a little less than exclusive when I check in at base camp reception. “Andy-San, welcome to Hoshinoya Fuji Hotel, please pick your rucksack”
I follow a pointing finger to the display of gaily coloured rucksacks adorning the reception wall.
“This is your amenity pack Andy-San”
Of course. The perfect accessory for a 5 star hotel.
It is in hindsight, such a perfectly obvious Japanese thing to offer. I’m in a forest on the side of a mountain, so naturally I will need a luxury survival kit. I pick a fetching purple one and find inside a pair of very useful binoculars, a headlight, a map, and even a comfy blanket.
With my bags silently whisked away from me, I take my rucksack and board the jeep for the short journey up the hill to my cabin nestling amongst the pines. This is quite a property interconnected by wooden steps and walkways; a restaurant and bar on one level then further up the Cloud Terrace, with hot and cold drinks, a wooden stove, live entertainment and an outside fire pit. There’s even an outdoor cinema up here.
In-between are the luxury cabins. Really impressive cube shaped rooms which really let you feel you are at one with nature but at the same time enjoying a luxurious stay. The view of Fuji and the lake through the window is postcard perfect. The bedding is crisp high thread cotton. It’s white minimalist but very Japanese chic. Outside, the decking has a sunken heated table which is welcome as it is December and it’s chilly but gloriously sunny. There is even a small fire pit built into the decking which I light as an homage to my camping experience. To go with it, I brew some fresh coffee in the percolator, fill up a titanium camping mug and soak up the afternoon sunshine with Fuji as my companion.
Dinner in the cavernous vaulted dining hall is a strange experience. It is in part high end fine wine and dine complete with sommelier and silver service and part rustic eating with a grilling station set in the centre where I am invited to grill my food.
Whilst the food is very tasty, I’m not entirely convinced it needs such an emphasis on fine dining, but hey, it wouldn’t be glamping then would it?
After dinner I wander back up to the Cloud Terrace for some live musical entertainment. A gentleman is playing what sounds like an ancient Japanese string instrument remodelled for the 21st century digital age. The soft languid melodies emanating from it have sent most of the post dinner audience into a nap. It is nevertheless a relaxing way to end an evening, under the stars by the light of a crackling fire, the forest all around.
I’m awoken by a gentle knocking. My breakfast tray has arrived. “Andy-san can I set up your breakfast outside on the balcony/”
“Sure, shall I put the coffee on?”
“No need Andy-san, everything is here.”
And it is.
This magical box of goodies unfolds before me as I sit at the heated table on the deck. Juice, jersey milk yoghurt from Yatsugatake, skillet baked Spanish omelette, tomato salad with oranges and fennel, Dutch oven bread and a very tasty potato soup. All under the watchful gaze of Fuji silently watching me.
There are many activities on offer here from horse riding and lava forest tours to canoeing on the lake. Many are free such as wood chopping, or morning stretching, or just plain walking the forest trails.
In the end, I decide on doing a bit of wood chopping followed by a spiritual nap in a hammock followed by another nap on a nearby forest bench.
It is after all, all about the forest?
HOSHINOYA Fuji Hotel is quite an extraordinary luxury experience. And I can only imagine how beautiful it would look with spring cherry blossom all around. This is Japanese 5 star rustic done perfectly. You can leave your wellies at home.
I’m just sorry I had to turn in my purple rucksack before I checked out.
Tell me more about HOSHINOYA Fuji Hotel Glamping Resort
HOSHINOYA Fuji Hotel is 90 minutes from Tokyo in the Yamanashi prefture.
Double rooms from 51,000 yen (around £350) in low season; rising to 135,000 yen (around £930 ) in high season. Breakfast on the cabin deck or in the restaurant is extra.
Dinner in the Grill restaurant is from 7,000 yen (around £48) for four courses plus drinks.
HOSHINOYA Fuji Hotel
408 Oishi, Fujikawaguchiko-machi,
Minami Tsuru-gun, Yamanashi, Japan.