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October, 2023
Architect Rie Azuma’s genius concrete cube design for HOSHINOYA Fuji cabins | Photograph Champ Magazine©

Waking up to a view of Mt Fuji greeting you in the morning is a luxury we didn’t know we needed.

With the wonderful sight of Fuji San changing tones as clouds gracefully glide by and the daylight begins to slowly creep in, the pastel coloured sky evolves into hazy blue. It’s a pure and enriching start to the day as guests wake at HOSHINOYA Fuji, framed by architect Rie Azuma’s concrete cube windows.

Below, Lake Kawaguchi reflects Mt Fuji’s iconic form and the surrounding forests with their shades of deep green. At HOSHINOYA Fuji, guests are immersed in nature, and at every angle it feels pleasantly encapsulating, all from the comfort of a 5 star glamping resort. 

Below HOSHINOYA Fuji, Lake Kawaguchi reflects Mt Fuji’s iconic form and the surrounding forests with their shades of deep green.| Photograph Hoshino Resorts©
The concrete cabins all feature a lake-facing balcony, allowing the nature outside, to come inside | Photograph Champ Magazine©

The journey begins to Kawaguchi-ko station, as a car takes us to the HOSHINOYA Fuji reception area near the shores of Lake Kawaguchi. Inside, guests select a coloured backpack which is then equipped with binoculars, water container, Snow Peak portable light and some delicious biscotti for snacking. Custom HOSHINOYA Jeeps are on the ready to take guests up into the forest where the glamping resort is found. The term “glamping” stems from the combined words glamorous and camping, and the hotel certainly combines the two in their signature luxury-focused way.

As the hotel Jeep etches closer, the architecture of HOSHINOYA Fuji can be seen from below the forest, with the wonder of Rie Azuma’s design only provoking more intrigue. Surrounded by red pines, Azuma’s array of concrete cabins structures are a striking view of minimalist, modern design located on the slopes of a forest-dense hill.

The structure of the rooms ensures they feel spacious, in turn feeling luxurious, comfortable and modern at the same time. As intended by architect Azuma, the view outside becomes part of the room | Photograph Champ Magazine©

CABINS

A set of 40 cabins, each with a specific configuration (S Cabin, T Cabin, D Cabin or F Cabin) all look out onto Lake Kawaguchi, facing Mt Fuji in all its glory. 

The concrete cabins all feature a lake-facing balcony, allowing the nature outside, to come inside. The cabins are designed to have all the comforts of a hotel room or suite, with a coffee/tea bar area, open luggage space, and a bathroom equipped with a rain show and soaking tub overlooking Lake Kawaguchi. 

With tall ceilings, minimalist interiors and one large window which overlooks the forest and Mt Fuji in the distance, Azuma’s architecture is efficient and practical. The structure of the rooms ensures they feel spacious, in turn feeling luxurious, comfortable and modern at the same time. As intended by Azuma, the view outside becomes part of the room. 

In-room breakfast on the balcony, complete with in-house baked bread buns | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Private dining in the morning, breakfast on the balcony at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©

DESIGN AND LANDSCAPING

The landscape design of the hotel itself is superb, changing together with the seasons.

Set within a mixed forest of deciduous trees and evergreens, each season from Summer to Winter changes as does its inhabitants (birds, bugs and hotel guests). Designed by Hiroki Hasegawa and his Studio on Site team, Hasegawa and his team have designed every landscaping plan for Hoshinoya since their first hotel. Here at HOSHINOYA Fuji, Hasegawa created a ‘Cloud Terrace in the wood’, a space amongst the pine trees where guests can watch or interact with the surrounding landscape. 

Situated within the Cloud Terrace space, the Fireplace Lounge Bar brings guests for post check-in drinks (with a Koshu Brut Non Vintage sparkling wine or whiskey) and snacks such as marshmallows which can be toasted over the fire. It’s a delight to meet other guests in the Cloud Terrace, a public space for hotel guests at the top of the mountainside property, tucked away into the forest. The decked area can even be used for morning stretches or nighttime star-gazing.

Later into the evening, a 30 minute concert of relaxing Barafon (African wind instrument) is played. At certain times in the year a projector and screen is setup next to the Fireplace Lounge Bar and classic movies are played for guests. In the mornings, guests have the chance to make their own coffee over the fire pit in their own individual pot. 

Amongst the Cloud Terrace space, white hammocks hang within the forest for guests to enjoy throughout the day listening to surrounding soundtrack of birdsong and trees in conversation with one another. 

It's all about nature here at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©
The changing of the seasons provides a new landscape to enjoy | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Inspiration is everywhere at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©

DINING

Inspired by its surrounding context and the concept of ‘glamping’, dining at HOSHINOYA Fuji reflects this.

At the centre of the hotel’s dining hall is a grilling station, where meats and vegetables are grilled for both breakfast and dinner. Dutch-oven baked bread is made in-house, vegetables are sourced from the region, and drinks are well curated from around Japan (such as Shichiken Sparkling Sake, a great choice).

In-room dining is a particular highlight! We recommend the ‘Glamping Curry’ which staff pack and prepare for guests on their cabin balcony. The ‘Glamping Curry’ comes complete with multiple spices, cute instructional booklet and all the tools (grill, ingredients, utensils) one needs to create their own curry. Needless to say, making the “glamping” dinner is a lot of fun. Once complete, hotel staff come to collect the dinner set before the local wildlife does. 

At the centre of the hotel’s dining hall is a grilling station, where meats and vegetables are grilled for both breakfast and dinner | Photograph Champ Magazine©
A morning walk to the Jyukai forest with a Jyukai specialist is one of the very custom activities on offer at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Hoshino Resorts©
Day dreaming on the hammocks at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©

ACTIVITIES

It’s all about the outdoor activities at HOSHINOYA Fuji. It’s what the hotel group does remarkably well, preparing activities related to their hotel context.

Here in the forest, activities such as Private Electric Bicycle Tour, Horseback Riding, Aerial Stretching and food workshops such as ‘Forest Pizza’ or ‘Food Smoking’ get guests out and cooking their own food in the outdoors. A morning walk to the Jyukai forest with a Jyukai specialist is one of the very custom activities on offer, as is the Jyukai Lava Hiking, a guided hike of about 3.5 km through pristine nature formed on Fuji lava. The deep forest terrain and landscape is very unique to the area. 

Early Morning Canoeing was a highlight during our stay, later learning that it has been the most popular activity. Indeed, every day on the water is different, weather pending.

Evening concerts are played for guests in the Cloud Terrace area | Photograph Hoshino Resorts©
Situated within the Cloud Terrace space, the Fireplace Lounge Bar brings guests for post check-in drinks (with a Koshu Brut Non Vintage sparkling wine or whiskey) and snacks such as marshmallows which can be toasted over the fire | Photograph Hoshino Resorts©
Marshmallows over the fire at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©

THE LAST WORD

A truly unique hotel destination to visit, it is worth the ‘trek’ to HOSHINOYA Fuji and its quiet and remote location.

Kids are most welcome at HOSHINOYA Fuji, it’s an ideal holiday destination for families (cabin terraces have the option for safety nets). The resort is however set on a mountain slope, therefore challenging for those with mobility challenges or disability. There are dedicated walking trails along the resorts edge, and with a 60,000m2 area, HOSHINOYA Fuji allows guests to fully immerse into the magic of the forest. 

Located within the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mt Fuji National Park area, getting close to nature has never been so luxurious. 

Upon check-in to HOSHINOYA Fuji, guests select a coloured backpack which is then equipped with binoculars, water container, Snow Peak portable light and some delicious biscotti for snacking | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Cabins all have a tea area, where fresh pour-over coffee can be made by guests on the balcony | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Fully equipped at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Ideal Mt Fuji views from room 502 at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Champ Editor-in-Chief Monique Kawecki at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Architect Rie Azuma's cubed concrete cabins at HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Champ Magazine©
Designated Jeeps drive guests up mountainside to HOSHINOYA Fuji | Photograph Hoshino Resorts©

HOSHINOYA Fuji
1408 Oishi, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Minamitsuru-gun, 
Yamanashi, Japan

For more design and travel destinations in Japan, click here.

Text: Editor-in-Chief Monique Kawecki
Images: As credited, Hoshino Resorts & Champ Magazine©

October, 2023