The Aman Resort in Japan’s Ise Shima National Park is a Japanese hot springs resort on the shores of Ago Bay and is designed along the lines of a traditional Japanese ryokan. Amanemu is a serene retreat in a green part of Japan and a real treat to add to your Japan itinerary.
Is Amanemu large or boutique?
There are 24 suites and four two-bedroom villas, each with their own onsen.
The resort takes a lead from the traditional Japanese ryokan and is run by an ‘okami’, which is a female manager whose role is to anticipate the requirements of guests.
Will I be impressed by the design?
Amanemu was designed by the same team that designed Aman Tokyo (Kerry Hill Architects) and is based on a 21st-century interpretation of Japanese Minka buildings.
Japanese Minka buildings have low-slung tiled roofs and Japanese cedar exterior walls. The resort has a winding driveway that curves up a hill lined with maple and cherry trees.
What about the suites at Amanemu?
Each suite has floor-to-ceiling windows – with woven textile
and timber sliding shutters – that offer views of the national park.
Suites are decked out with custom-made furniture such as white oak coffee tables, sofas and armchairs with neutral colours.
Bathrooms follow the design of traditional Japanese bathhouses, with charcoal-coloured basalt stone tiles and floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto private gardens.
What about the rest of the Amanemu resort?
Relax in a sunken terrace between the restaurant and bar.
You’ll be impressed by the 33m freshwater infinity pool with views over Ago Bay.
What is special about Amanemu resort?
Well, the resort is decorated with traditional Japanese Kumiko art developed during the Asuka Era (600-700 AD).
This type of art is created using a delicate technique of assembling small wooden segments together using a chisel to form a larger piece without the use of nails or glue.
What about the spa at Amanemu?
Anyone who has visited an Aman hotel will realise the Aman spa is a huge part of the brand’s appeal.
It’s no different at Amanemu. The Aman Spa aims to promote wellbeing through treatments, relaxation, movement and nutrition.
Fortunately, the region is rich in hot springs and you can soak up the therapeutic powers of water in the large central communal bathing onsen.
There are also two private spa pavilions with indoor and outdoor onsens.
What about the food?
The region is rich in fruit, vegetables and seafood, such as spiny lobster and abalone from nearby waters.
Matsusaka, one of the most acclaimed variety of Wagyu beef in Japan also comes from this region.
Meals are based on the Japanese concept of ‘omakase’ where the chef (actually there’s a team of 12 chefs) selects dishes for his guests.
What’s there to do?
As it is located in a national park, there are plenty of treks.
The resort also has a yoga studio and you can do yoga on an outdoor deck overlooking a peaceful garden.
Japan’s most sacred Shinto Shrine, Ise Grand Shrine (or Jingu) is about an hour from Amanemu.
Covering approximately 5,500 hectares, Jingu is a collection of 125 Shinto shrines, an outdoor sanctuary and
Naiku, an inner shrine surrounded by Japanese cypress trees. It’s next to the Uzi Bridge, which stretches across the Isuzu River.
The Kumano Kodo is a series of five UNESCO World Heritage and ancient pilgrimage routes which converge at the heart of the remote Kii Mountains in the southernmost region of Honshu.
These routes were hiked by Kyoto’s ancient emperors, who travelled these paths to purify themselves and pray to rock and tree deities known as kami.
What else can I do?
Guests will have access to Nemu Golf Club, an 18-hole championship golf course overlooking Ago Bay.
Where is it?
Amanemu is 300km southwest of Tokyo and can be accessed via Japan’s high-speed rail network.
Nagoya is a two-hour train journey (or 25-minute helicopter ride) from the resort.
If you’re wondering what else to do in Japan in winter we have some great suggestions, including visiting Shirakawago, discovering things to see in Takayama and Shikoku, living like a local in Kyoto and why you’ll love matcha in Japan.
Another must-see is Tokyo’s fish market. If you have time to head north then make sure you check out the snow monkeys soaking in the hot springs in winter or hanging around Arashiyama Monkey Park at other times of the year.