For lovers of art and spectacular mountain scenery, this striking modernist boutique hotel with just six rooms, is part of an ‘art, sport & wellness resort,’ located in a charming Alpine town, just two hours from Tokyo.
Designed by celebrated Japanese architect Atsushi Kitagawara, Hotel Keyforest is an extraordinary sight set against the forest scenery of Kobuchizawa. The sharp-angled concrete building with unevenly shaped windows, is awash with stark modernist appeal. Part of a resort that is home to the incredible Nakamura Keith Haring Collection, the only museum in the world dedicated to the artist, this is a wonderful destination to relax amid both natural and artistic beauty.
The hotel is located at the foot of Mount Yatsugatake in an area once settled by the Jomon hunter-gatherers, which is popular today for horse riding, hiking, and spectacular scenery. There are just six rooms in the hotel, and each is named after a natural element in the ancient Jomon language, including Kase (wind), Mitsu (water) and Ime (earth). The décor has an understated but luxurious feel with an emphasis on natural materials including wood and stone, along with a soothing palette of neutral colours. Each is generously sized, with glass cube bathrooms, asymmetric windows and wide balconies overlooking the forest.
While breakfast is served at the hotel, there is no onsite restaurant, although the resort includes several options, including the Keylight steakhouse next-door. This mountain-lodge style restaurant has a farm-to-table menu and serves delicious steaks from local Koshu Wine beef. For whiskey lovers, the hotel boasts a wonderful collection, ideal for a post-dinner nightcap in the first-floor whiskey bar. Wine, beer, cocktails, and other spirits are also available. The Sky Terrace, open 24-hours a day, is a wonderful spot to view Mount Fuji or drink in the star-studded night skies.
Along with free entry to the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection, which boasts equally bold architecture, guests enjoy private use (up to 90 minutes per day) of the outdoor onsen, natural spring baths located in the forest, with massage treatments available to book. During the summer months tennis, golf, horse-riding, and barbeque facilities are available.
When to visit
Hotel Keyforest Hokuto is two-hours by bullet train from Tokyo in the foothills of the Japanese Alps and is just a short five-minute drive from Kobuchizawa station.