Reflections

Reflections


https://youtu.be/F31CpB8eq38

Here's a fun, simple itinerary suggestion to explore Japan's Nature:

Wake up early, enjoy a Japanese breakfast at your ryokan. After breakfast, meet your guide and head to the mountains.

There you'll enjoy a morning of kayaking around Tedori Lake, a gorgeous turquoise mountain lake located in the southern part of Ishikawa Prefecture. While moving around the lake you'll enjoy the lush green mountains as the snow-fed streams seemingly spill into the lake.

Once your kayak session is over, head to lunch at a local sushi shop. We love Kame Sushi in Yamashiro Onsen, although there are other delicious cuisine types available, including one serving locally caught bear meat.

After you finish lunch, stroll the local towns and check out the vibrant local crafts scene. If you prefer something a little more immersive, there are many local artisans willing to open their shop and for a hands-on experience.

Finally, your day will end back where you started - at your ryokan, enjoying an exquisitely prepared Japanese dinner.

Simple luxury, Japan nature style.

For more itinerary suggestions to explore nature in Japan, check out our itineraries page, here.


Tedori Gorge & the Mountains of Ishikawa

We recently braved the heat and headed to the mountains to explore the Tedori River in Ishikawa Prefecture.

As we always mention, Japan's natural beauty is underrated, and it's easy to see why! With the river a stunning turquoise, the mountains a deep green, and the rice fields providing a contrasting green/yellow, it truly is a painting come to life.

Here we explore the Tedori Gorge, its surrounding area, then head deep into the mountains where the rivers start to begin their journey to the ocean. In addition to small countryside villages we also enjoy some narrow valley views nestled in the Japanese Alps.

Along the way we found some wild walnuts growing and cracked some open for a quick snack. Their flavor was a bit tart and sweet, with the nut still not matured (pictured). We also came across some sun-soaked mountain berries along the path, which were amazingly delicious.

https://youtu.be/-RcKT-S0mno

#ishikawa #hakusan #luxurytravel #luxuryjapantravel #4k #tedori #river

Park Hyatt Tokyo

Park Hyatt Tokyo Visit - July 2020

Rare cars.  Gorgeous hotels.  Private experiences.  Exquisite dining.

Many often associate luxury travel with life's finer material pleasures.  However, the heart of the entire industry is something money can't buypeople.  The luxury travel industry relies exceptional people serving guests in a myriad of ways.  If a guest asks for something, they should receive it in a prompt and professional manner.

The highest level of luxury travel involves anticipating everything guests want before they even have the chance to ask for it.  By doing so, guests will realize a level of comfort that gives them true peace of mind and relaxation, allowing them to enjoy their holiday on a deeper level.

Like many during this pandemic, I have become restless staying at home.  Work is a Groundhog Day- style routine: wake up, eat breakfast, work on my computer, Zoom, or Slack without leaving the house, day after day.

While this lifestyle has its advantagesI've been able to spend nearly every minute with my new born daughter for the first year of her lifeit leaves me yearning to reconnect with my service industry roots.  I missed meeting with the people who make our industry great.

As one can imagine, I jumped at the opportunity to visit the great folks at the Park Hyatt Tokyo and break the nearly half-year drought from business trips and meetings.

Arrival & Gym

Upon stepping through the doors, the duty manager greeted me by name and assisted with my bags.  Next was a quick forehead temperature scan. We then made our way to the lobby, bypassed the front desk, and headed directly to my room for an in-room check-in.  Along the way, I passed at least a dozen hand sanitizer bottles.  Even pre-pandemic, I had become a bit neurotic about trying to use every bottle hand sanitizer I could after a particularly rough flu season a couple years back.

After an explanation of the hotel, its facilities , and a summary of my various reservations, I quickly made my way to the gym to squeeze in a brief workout.  The gym wasn't particularly crowded, and again hand sanitizers and cleaning solutions were everywhere.  In addition, a staff member would come in every ten minutes or so to wipe everything down.  Never obtrusive, they entered quietly, worked methodically, and then slipped out of the area.

New York Bar

Next on the list of activities was a few drinks and dinner at the New York Bar.  Recently, bars are rightfully catching flack for being one of the worst places to be during this pandemic.  Drunk people, as it turns out, aren't so good with rules and boundaries. With Tokyo in the midst of several consecutive days during which virus cases have topped 100, it wasn’t surprising that the crowd at the New York Bar was rather thin. Nevertheless, tables were appropriately spaced, and all workers had masks on.  But I'd rather talk about the service!

Although I had missed the deadline for food, the staff let me order off the room service menu and eat my meal at the bar instead.  I ordered a cheeseburger (my international gold standard for hotel cuisine) and a glass of champagne.  The champagne appeared quickly, as did the burger, and both were delicious.

As my champagne started to disappear, I was asked if I'd like another drink.  Of course!  This time, an IPA was on tap, which in hindsight I probably should have ordered first with the burger.  Regardless, the IPA came quickly, even though I had a few more sips of champagne left.

The music at the bar was amazing, and the singer's gentle, soothing voice adding to the relaxed atmosphere. "Well we're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling alright...'cause he knows that it's me they've been comin' to see, to forget about life for a while" Her rendition of Billy Joel's Piano Man was, by far, the highlight of the night.  After returning to my room and enjoying a hot bath, I had no trouble quickly falling asleep once I turned out the lights.

The Next Day

Breakfast the next morning was in-rooma standard for all guests for safety and comfort.  Breakfast arrived about 20 minutes after calling room service.  Although there was no buffet spread to choose from, there was more than enough food to hold me over, along with a glass of fantastic carrot apple juice.

After breakfast, I returned to the fitness club to enjoy a massage, which I followed up by alternating between the dry sauna and the cold bath.  To be honest, this was the first massage I have ever experience. I have never had much interest in massages and was usually too busy, anyway.  But I was feeling a bit beat up due to extensive weight training over the past three months, so I figured I'd give it a go.  The Swedish Massage was exactly I had hoped it would be, and I could feel the deep muscle tension slowly fade away, particularly in my lower back and hamstrings.

My visit ended with a hearty lunch at Girandole, the restaurant located between the reception and Peak Lounge.  For lunch I was joined by my good friend, the senior sales manager at the Park Hyatt. We discussed how the world had changed since our last meeting, what we anticipated for tourism’s uncertain return, and strategy.  During these talks, I realized something.

My stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo was spectacular not because of the amazing room, the delicious food, the soothing music, or the relaxing massage.  It was spectacular because it was so "normal."

Feeling Alright

I had nearly forgotten we were in the middle of a pandemic.  Life felt so normal, as if I had been transported back to a year ago when travel was booming and there weren't enough hours in the day to get through everything on my agenda.  Nowadays everyone is going out of their way to emphasize sanitation and cleanliness as a selling point.  The Park Hyatt Tokyo quietly worked behind the scenes to make sure my unexpressed need was met. This allowed me to forget the worries of the world and, even if only for a night, to enjoy refuge from the craziness.  And it worked exceptionally well.

During my stay, I was able to focus on my mental and physical well-being in a clean and safe environment.  There were no reminders of reality everywhere I turned.  The staff executed this at an impressive level, focusing on genuine and caring smiles that could be easily recognized, even from behind a mask, and felt immediately.  In a country known for amazing service, the staff at the Park Hyatt Tokyo took it to a higher level, and did so as a team.

Here at Kizuna, we're looking forward to the day when Japan opens its borders back up, and our guests can experience first-hand the magic that comes with the Park Hyatt Tokyo’s amazing service.

"Well we're all in the mood for a melody and you've got us feeling alright...'cause he knows that it's me they've been comin' to see, to forget about life for a while"

**** Check out our itineraries page for ideas planning your next trip to Japan