Tokyo and southern Japan
Fairfield by Marriott’s Michi-no-Eki hotels
What better way to celebrate Japan’s reopening after being closed to much of the world at the height of the pandemic than with a cherry blossom road trip — and new hotels to check into along the way?
Seven Fairfield by Marriott hotels are opening this year in the prefectures of Hyogo, Kagoshima, Okayama, Saga, Kumamoto and Fukuoka as part of Marriott’s ongoing Michi-no-Eki project. Located in rural places near roadside rest areas (known in Japan as Michi-no-Eki), the hotels are often close to national parks and cultural sites. They offer affordable rooms, from about 225 to 270 square feet, with free Wi-Fi. Several opened in places such as Hokkaido and Nara, and in January, the 88-room Fairfield by Marriott Hyogo Tajima Yabu opened in Yabu, a city in Hyogo prefecture, which is home to Mount Hyonosen, Tendaki Falls and Tarumi-no-Ozakura, a cherry tree said to be more than 1,000 years old.
This spring, more Michi-no-Eki hotels are on the way. The 78-room Fairfield by Marriott Okayama Tsuyama is scheduled to open on April 11 in Okayama, an easy drive to the ruins of Tsuyama Castle in Kakuzan Park, a prime cherry blossom viewing spot. And the 95-room Fairfield by Marriott Kagoshima Tarumizu is set to open on April 12 in Kagoshima, where you can visit the (recently active) Sakurajima volcano; check out sites from Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution, which are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List; and if you have time, make the ferry trip to Yakushima Island to visit the cedar forests, thought to have inspired the Studio Ghibli film “Princess Mononoke.” All three properties have rooms from 13,000 yen, or about $96, a night.
Bulgari Hotel Tokyo
On April 4, the 98-room-and-suite Bulgari Hotel Tokyo is scheduled to open in the capital, bringing Italian design to the top of the Tokyo Midtown Yaesu skyscraper. Guests will be within walking distance of the Imperial Palace, one of the most popular spots in Tokyo for enjoying cherry blossoms. A longer walk will bring you to yet another beloved blossom destination, the Chidori-ga-fuchi Moat. For sweeping views of the city and, on a clear day, Mount Fuji, head to the Bulgari Bar, which will have terraces on the 45th floor. The hotel will also have a spa (with an indoor pool), a fitness center and restaurants featuring Japanese and Italian culinary traditions: Sushi Hoseki by Kenji Gyoten and Il Ristorante by Niko Romito. Should you wish to go farther afield, you’re a two-minute walk from Tokyo Station, making it easy to board a train and explore other parts of Japan. Prices from 250,000 yen.
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