A Sanctuary of Restorative Peace
Nestled amidst the tranquil forested hills of Ise-Shima National Park, with sweeping views of the captivating Ago Bay, lies Amanemu—a luxurious retreat crafted by the esteemed Swiss hotel group, Aman. While Aman boasts three destinations in Japan, including Tokyo and a location near Kyoto, Amanemu stands as the sole rural sanctuary within the collection.
Journeying to Amanemu is an experience in itself, as travelers embark on a serene two-hour train ride from Nagoya International Airport. Located in the southern region of Japan, this idyllic resort rests along the picturesque ria coastline of Shima city, offering a serene escape from the clamor of urban life. Surrounded by the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Ise-Shima National Park, Amanemu harmoniously blends opulence with simplicity, providing an environment where guests can reconnect with nature and find inner peace.
The resort boasts 25 meticulously designed suites, each thoughtfully curated to provide a private and tranquil experience. Reflecting Japanese tradition, every suite features a personal ‘onsen’—a traditional hot bath. These private havens pay homage to the nearby mineral-rich hot springs, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the rejuvenating and therapeutic waters. Amanemu also offers four exquisite villas, each consisting of two rooms and a secluded courtyard or garden. These villas draw inspiration from Japan’s warm and simplistic ‘ryokan’ and ‘Minka’ architectural styles, embracing natural materials such as bamboo, earth, and straw. Every element of the resort’s design exudes understated luxury, with shinto screens gracefully dividing open internal spaces, floors and walls adorned with organic materials, and large windows and terrace doors framing captivating views. The impeccably tiled roofs complete the architectural ensemble, adding a touch of traditional elegance.
Amanemu epitomizes its description as a “sanctuary of restorative peace” by Aman. Its crowning jewel is the expansive 2,000-square-meter spa, thoughtfully designed around a large bath fed by a natural hot spring renowned for its mineral-rich properties. Guests can indulge in treatments inspired by traditional Chinese medicine, which found its way to Japan in the 4th century and has since evolved into the herb-based healing practice known as Kampo. The spa’s offerings extend beyond traditional therapies to include invigorating hydrotherapy sessions and an outdoor yoga deck, immersing guests in the serene ambiance of the natural surroundings. For those seeking the utmost privacy, private ‘onsen’ pavilions are available, offering an intimate space for relaxation and rejuvenation.
However, the allure of Amanemu extends far beyond the confines of the resort. Its unparalleled location amidst the natural wonders of Ise-Shima National Park offers a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts alike. Ancient pilgrim trails, brimming with beauty and tranquility, await exploration. Nature enthusiasts can embark on immersive journeys through the captivating woodlands surrounding the revered Ise Jingu grand shrine, one of Japan’s holiest and most significant religious sites. The sacred forest region, sprawling across an area comparable to the size of Paris, captivates visitors with its ethereal charm. Amanemu thoughtfully organizes shrine visits for guests, including an unforgettable tour of the Mount Asama summit trail. This trail treats visitors to panoramic vistas of Ago Bay and, on clear days, offers breathtaking views of the iconic Mount Fuji.
Moreover, the region is renowned for being home to the few remaining Ama, or sea women divers. These local women possess remarkable skills, free-diving to the depths of Ise Bay in search of prized pearls, succulent scallops, and delectable abalone. Amanemu grants its residents the unique opportunity to meet and explore alongside these remarkable divers. Guests can witness their extraordinary talents firsthand and later indulge in a mouthwatering seafood barbecue featuring the day’s bounty. Recognized as an invaluable part of Japan’s cultural heritage, the Ama tradition has earned its place on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. It is experiences like these that truly differentiate Amanemu, creating memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.
Amanemu’s true allure lies in its seamless integration with the natural landscape. The resort’s commitment to preserving the integrity of its surroundings ensures an immersive experience for guests seeking solace in nature. With meticulous attention to detail, Amanemu harmoniously blends with its encircling environment, creating an atmosphere of serene beauty. The resort stands as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of understated luxury and natural tranquility.
Words: Editorial Board
Photography: Courtesy of Aman.