Nemu Resort, Mie Prefecture, Japan
A secluded resort spanning 740 acres overlooking Aga bay in Ise-Shima National Park, on the east coast of Japan, Nemu is the place to come to escape the crowds.
You’ll need a car to get here but it’s worth it. This is real getting-back-to-nature territory, but with the comforts of a boutique hotel – expect prime stargazing, sunset cocktails, outdoor fire pit and deep sleeps.
The trees here, as in all of Japan, are revered and respected. In the Nemu forest they include camphor, white oak and bayberry, lit up at night so you can appreciate them round the clock.
The decor of the Nemu is light, spacious and minimalist. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise views of the bay and forest, and shelves of vinyl make you want to linger, pop on a record and chill out with a cup of matcha.
The 60 rooms are either Western style or Japanese tatami, with 2-5 beds, wooden furniture, sofa, espresso machine and night steamer. Many overlook the bay. Note that some of the rooms are smoking (this is Japan, where smoking is allowed inside but not on the streets) so if this is a problem, definitely request a non-smoking room on another floor.
Bathrooms have Japanese baths and shower, with separate electric toilet. Products are from French brand Algotherm, and there are Mikimoto pearl products in the onsen.
And it’s the onsen I enjoyed the most. Located on the basement floor, the three baths all have different themes – land (with medicinal thermal waters), forest (with anti-ageing nemunoki tree bark) and sea (with Mikimoto pearly waters). Two are inside overlooking the forest; one is outside in a courtyard. This is the sort of place you can linger for a very long time. There are massages and other treatments available, should you wish. And if you’ve never been to Japan before, note that swimwear is not worn in communal baths, so you need to prepare for that little detail!
Golfers will be in heaven here as the Nemu has one of Japan’s best courses. The clubhouse is a work of art in itself with a timber roof and glass baubles.
The restaurant Satoumi prepares Japanese fish and seafood, fresh vegetables and fruit. Ise ebi (spiny lobster), abalone and Matsusaka beef are local delicacies, and you can choose to dine at the kappo counter where the food is prepared in front of you. The squeamish might want to opt for a back seat.
In summer months, yoga classes are held outdoors. It was still a little chilly for that when I visited, so the class took place in the yoga room, which had views of the trees, and hammocks in which to cocoon yourself after the session. Our teacher told us that there were many gods in the woods around the resort, and we must consider the nature whilst practising our breathing. Japan has a love affair with nature, and it’s a wonderful, health-giving characteristic of the country.
Nemu Resort, Shima City, Mie Prefecture, https://www.nemuresort.com
Rooms from £75 a night. For the best rates book here*.