Getaway in the Japanese Highlands
Where ever you grew up, I believe in the importance in stepping out of our comfort zone, pressing pause, jumping on the next train to head out of the city into the woods, the mountains to the seaside from time to time. I certainly need it, for my health, my mind, body and soul.
Being out of the routine, gives the chance to take a break, breath, reflect, get inspired or simply just switch off. Especially now a days where we are constantly bombarded by media, must haves, comparisons through social media platforms (which aren’t always that honest btw). Our mind needs to rest. As the skin if our biggest organ, our brain if our most important muscle so give it a break yeah?!
If we are not heading down to our beach house in Shimoda, I love to go inland to Yamanashi. An area close enough to Tokyo to make it a day trip even, and far enough to come back feeling refreshed. A two hours drive, a one and a half hour train ride to the Minami Alps (Southern Alps of Japan), with Mt Fuji majestically set in the far left of the mountain range, the rice fields opening up the horizon, the forests home to deer, it’s a beautiful place.
There are a few of my friends living there too. A baker, a natural skin care maker, a chef, a hotelier, a farmer…All well traveled people who consciously chose to leave the city life behind to find a better life quality in that place of the earth.
I started going there when my kiddos were toddlers, staying in the 1990s style resort hotel Risonare. Great for that time, with pool (and waves), a promenade away from the street, a café area (essential for parents with small kids omg yes #coffeefirst) with a bookstore, workshops like pottery (we still use these dishes they made there and then), onsen and all.
If you are out on a date, I’d suggest to book a room in a charming airbnb or splash out for a lush time at the Keith Haring boutique hotel (the spa is amazing). Fan or not fan of Keith Haring, the museum, next door to the hotel is worth a visit. It’s very well done. You can feel that the owner put his heart into it, having been a close friend of the artist at the time.
Don’t know about you, but once I’m out there I don’t want to spend my time in the car. Sometimes easier said than done. I’m glad my friends own a b&b right next to their restaurant, Eat Dill Life where we like to dine, next a charming stream and forest to make my dreams come true. The founders are a young couple who love to go hiking and climbing when they are not preparing hearty slow-food dishes for their clients.
Before we head back home I stop by the organic grocer to pick up seasonal, local, pesticide free fresh fruits and veggies and sometimes even flowers to bring back home. Souvenirs to share around the table whilst supporting the local community. It’s the simple things that feel good.
Precious time collecting memories in the Fall in Yamanashi.