Ritz-Carlton Reserve Opens In Japan’s Niseko Where Happiness And Oneness In Nature Is Paramount

The Japanese phrase Kachou Fuugetsu was coined around the 15th-century and directly translates as ‘Flower, Bird, Wind, Moon’. Its deeper meaning however, reflects a near universal concept in which you discover yourself through experiences in nature; in the joy and happiness attached to the passing of seasons – from an autumnal breeze to a pale winter moon. More than half a millennia later, this idea of going back to nature to heal and refresh remains as appealing, if not more so, as ever. Kachou Fuugetsu becomes the keystone at the newly opened Ritz-Carlton Reserve: Higashiyama Niseko Village – the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Japan. Located at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri which forms a larger Niseko United ski area, the resort is composed of 51 rooms and suites, and is set amidst the stunning geography of Hokkaido’s western province. Here, the changing of seasons confers a unique quality and colourful kaleidoscope to Higahisyama Niseko Village, with Mount Yotei providing a magnificent background. This ethereal location, and its varied sense of discovery and adventure, is what qualifies the resort as one of only five Ritz-Carlton Reserves in the world, joining the likes of Los Cabos in Mexico, Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico, Phulay Bay in Krabi and Mandapa in Ubud, Bali.


At Higashiyama Niseko Village, the sense of oneness with nature is mirrored by the earthy tones of its reception lounge, where Black Teakwood stack and Vic Latte stones combine for a warm welcome. From this point on, your communion with nature is never far away, with the sight of gorgeous snow trails through your room window, to the refreshing taste of the in-residence spring water. This spring water received royal acclaim in 1954 during a visit by the emperor who hailed the water as ‘Kanro’ or sweet as the dew. Its secret lies in its origins as melted snow purified across decades through the mineral rich earth of Mount Yotei. The same pristine spring water is present today in the resort’s beverage portfolio that includes inviting apres-ski cocktails, crafted at the resort’s Ume Lounge by an ‘alpine mixologist’. 

View of Mount Yotei.

With the help of the resort’s experts the fascinating facets of Kachou Fuugetsu are within easy reach. This assortment of masters of their realms include the Do San and the Higashiyama Reservists. The Do San (道産) is a trusted and dedicated service expert who personifies the Reserve service for each guest at Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

Yotei Suite
Onsen style soaking tub.

Aptly named in honour of the locale and its history, Do San means a person of Hokkaido. The Do San adds cultural value to the Reserve experience by sharing their love of place and are storytellers who look for organic opportunities to share local knowledge and traditions. The Do San oversees every aspect of your stay through this single touchpoint. Always available but never intrusive, the Do San ensures that your needs are anticipated and met in a way that is seamless and seemingly effortless. 

Meanwhile, the Higashiyama Reservists are select experts for mountain orientation programme, curated exclusively for guests of Higashiyama Niseko Village. Higashiyama Reservists have an intimate knowledge of the local environment and natural wonders that make Niseko such a remarkable destination. These local experts have been skiing and snowboarding these mountains, cycling these roads and running these trails for years; their deep understanding include relationships and access to Niseko’s surrounding farms and its famed produce that is coveted by Japan’s best chefs, and the most unique onsen where its volcanic mud provides an elixir for the skin. 

Sushi Nagi

For the epicureans, the itamae at the cedar counter-topped Sushi Nagi becomes the gateway for you to uncover the bounty of seasons through its Hokkaido gastronomic odyssey; expect the prized hairy crabs in summer, sea urchin in autumn, and year-round Kuroge steaks and prime cuts, derived from the Japanese Black, one of the most prized breeds of local cattle. A particularity in this area is the coveted Yukinoshita (under-the-snow) vegetables in which produce is harvested just after first snowfall, thereby allowing it to reach its optimal level of sweetness. 

Of course, the allure of the 2,191 acres of ski terrain is never too far away, or if you may prefer; skiing, sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. These winter adventures begin with mornings at the resort’s Yukibana lounge – where handcrafted pastries and creative local and international breakfast offerings warm your insides. Then you set out into the wonderland of snow, which takes place in one of the world’s most celebrated powder territories. Here, the confluence of geography, ambient temperatures and elevation has led to the Niseko powder phenomenon – a triumvirate of snow quantity, consistency and quality unlike anywhere else in the world. 

Yukibana lounge.

For the powder hounds at Higashiyama Niseko Village, they will enjoy their own private locker where warm ambient air circulates to dry ski gear and boots after a day in the snow. A host of guest services provide a hassle-free experience to hitting the slopes with; priority lane access to the main gondolas, equipment waxing and tuning services, experienced physiotherapists on-call for any injuries or massages, as well as ski-in/ski-out to the slopes connected to the network of chair lifts which transport you right to the peak of Mount Niseko Annupuri. From here, you have all of Niseko’s deep powder backcountry ski trails for your choosing. 

Back at the resort, a fitness centre equipped with state-of-art cardio and weight training machines helps you get in form. Following all that activity, the spa beckons with its signature shiatsu massages as does its onsen, with therapeutic waters drawn deep from thermal springs and piped in at 42 degrees Celsius. All around, the nature-inflected attractions at Niseko are weaved into the tapestry of your Higashiyama Niseko Village experience, with seasonal Haskap (blue honeysuckle) berries – a fruit traditionally consumed as a health elixir by the indigenous Ainu of Hokkaido, to the use of essentials oils at the spa – lavender in summer and mint in winter. And in all this, that sense of Kachou Fuugetsu is synced to your inner being, bringing forth natural revelations in an extraordinary place. 

Ritz-Carlton Reserve

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