The marvelous land where ancient traditions harmonize in wedded bliss with the modern age has all the essential ingredients for memorable honeymoons. After all, Japan has long personifi ed romance. Beyond Puccini’s “Madame Butterfl y” and other equally classic love stories, mystique and romance are within easy reach in every prefecture—from icy Hokkaido in the north to the sun-splashed southern islands of Okinawa’s Ryukyu archipelago.
Couples interested in a heavy dose of Japanese culture can opt for one of the more than the 55,000 ryokan dotted throughout the country. These Japanese inns range from humble to exceedingly luxurious. Gora Kadan, once a hideaway for Japanese royalty and the modernday preferred getaway of native-born celebrities like chef Nobu Matsuhisa, is a plush retreat considered one of the country’s premier honeymoon destinations. A mountain getaway in the Kanto Plain between Tokyo and Mount Fuji, it personifi es the gentle touches of Japanese culture with frail rice paper walls and the faint scent of novel fl owers permeating the property. Newlyweds will enthrall at the one-on-one service from a staff trained in ceremonial procedures like fl ower arranging and tea ceremonies. The onzen (bath) is a glorious, stone-lined retreat of man-made waterfalls emptying into thermal pools that soothe mind and body. This Relais & Chateaux property is located near Shuzenji, a spa town with arched bridges as red as the soles on Christian Louboutin pumps, gentle streams and graceful temples lining narrow streets. Depending on the season and amenities chosen, prices range from approximately $900 to about $1,800 per night.
Contact: (800) 735-2478; gorakadan.com
Near Kyoto, Japan’s most culturally rich and beautiful city, Hoshinoya Kyoto in Arashiyama is a beautiful ryokan that stands out as a magnifi cent property where newlyweds are treated like royalty while experiencing ancient cultural traditions mingled with modern amenities.
The property was developed with the concept of accenting the values of Japan and the harmony of nature and culture along with all the trimmings of modern sensibilities.
The former residence of a wealthy local merchant, Hoshinoya became a hostelry more than a century ago. All rooms are furnished in modern Japanese style, but refl ect those of a 17th century teahouse and each room offers dramatic views of the Oigawa River. Rates run from approximately $750 dbl to $1,000.
Although some might consider Bali to be overexposed as a honeymoon destination, Indonesia’s magic island has two resorts that can make a honeymoon as bright as the innate smile of the Balinese. This is the island of romance, where newlyweds can sightsee at temples that hug the shoreline, stand in awe of ancient shrines surrounded by rice paddies and delve into an exotic culture. Its resorts, too, leave little to be desired—they are a feast for the senses that will have newlyweds on cloud 9.
Karma Jimbaran, a luxurious property on Jimbaran Bay and a member of the Karma hotel collection, offers 37 pool villas in various configurations that provide the utmost in privacy amid brightly colored gardens. Masterful masseurs treat couples in the villas with massages using local aromatic herbs and spices. Couples are offered the option to be driven to Uluwatu Cliffs where a private waiter and chef will have prepared an exquisite candlelit dinner. The following day, they may opt for a helicopter excursion to see Bali from the air. Rates are anywhere from about $500 per night for a luxury pool villa to more than $2,000 for a grand residence suite.