• sankara hotel&spa Yakushima: Tropical luxury on Japan’s most mystical island


    sankara hotel&spa Yakushima: Tropical luxury on Japan’s most mystical island


Renowned for its beautiful forests of ancient sugi (Japanese cedar trees) and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Yakushima is a subtropical island where you can take a step back in time and be whisked into a fantasy realm.

Yakushima is a destination magical enough to inspire the creative minds of Studio Ghibli and spawn the story of Princess Mononoke.

[sankara hotel&spa Yakushima] Yakushima, Kagoshima: hotel tour (TARO YouTube Channel)

If you want to find Mononoke's birthplace, head to the Southern isle of Yakushima, there you'll find Shiratani Unsuikyo, a woodland valley home to ancient trees and landscapes unlike anything you've ever experienced.

Like Shiratani Unsuikyo, sankara hotel&spa Yakushima is another magical experience, albeit one of a different type, but one that sits in harmony with the island's rejuvenating, paradisiacal atmosphere.

In terms of facilities, sankara offers the highest in luxury amenities; from the well-equipped gym, laid-back, well-stocked gift shop, and friendly staff-driven buggies, it's almost impossible to pull yourself away from the hotel's charm and explore the sheer delights wider Yakushima has to offer.

The wellness spa, however, is sankara's peak luxury experience. Titled sankara sana, it offers a rejuvenating treatment experience that focuses on the essence of Yakushima, including the ocean, forest, and rain.

The interior of each room is artfully curated. Each type of villas and suites has its own spacious spa bath, and bathroom amenities are made from natural materials, with wooden hairbrushes and biodegradable toothbrushes available for use. The lotions and beauty products use ingredients derived from Yakushima's own flora and water. There are also woven basket bags that you can use during your stay.

sankara ensures guests can truly relax with thoughtful touches that tie into their philosophy of harmony in nature. You can easily venture out for a hike in the rainforest with trail mix provided for each guest and herbal teas and refreshing cold brew ready to go in a thermos.

Despite making it hard to leave, it's fair to say the sankara stay extends beyond the hotel's walls and into the region's natural abundance.

A not to be missed experience is the pilgrimage to the real-life Mononoke forest. Following in the footsteps of Hayao Miyazaki, who spent several weeks in Shiratani Unsuikyo to cultivate his vision of the Princess Mononoke world, you can breathe in the same air as thousand-year-old cedar trees (yakusugi) and embrace the Japanese therapy that is forest bathing (shinrinyoku).

The hotel offers trekking gear and can set you up with a knowledgeable guide who will take you along the "secret trail" to famed sites. You can also experience the region from a whole different perspective – by water – as you cruise through the lush surroundings on a river kayak. Upon reservation, a journey along the river can take you to a private BBQ lunch that completes the forest immersion experience.

On the food front, the dining offered at sankara is an homage to the natural bounty of Yakushima and Chef Kenji Hayashi’s vision as a Franco-Japan eclectic. As a Kagoshima native, Hayashi’s culinary journey has been influenced by nature’s blessings and studying under esteemed Chef Mikuni.

Guests can relish an evolving food menu and fresh juices and smoothies that transition with the seasons. For example, during the summer, you can enjoy tropical fruits, including mango, pineapple, and dragon fruit, grown in Yakushima. In autumn, fresh seafood of the region includes flying fish, local crab, and lobster.

While it's in the business of bringing in passers-through, sankara as a business is very deeply dedicated to preserving its position as a key part of Yakushima's community.

sankara hotel&spa Yakushima employees must apply for local citizenship, as the owners believe in becoming a part of and giving back to the local community; it's a part of their 'sustainable efforts,' as with the water system that creates electric power (an autonomous power system).

According to PR Manager Shimoda san, all sankara employees are trained as butlers, and they can offer the highest level of service; and while they're trained under such rigorous guidance, staff rotate job roles, take on other parts of the hotel management, and upkeep in order to run a well-oiled ship. This job switching also has an added layer of benefits, being that job switching creates a better understanding of fellow employees' workloads and an air of mutual respect and family-like closeness which can be felt throughout the facility, and a sense of community you’ll take home with you.

Contact TARO for more information and exclusive offers.