Japan is one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Whether you have lived here for 10 years or have just landed at Narita, the luxury of Japan is evident. Now, I’m not just talking about the duty-free stores (although who doesn’t enjoy tax-free Hermès?). I’m talking about a rich life. I’m talking about rich quality, rich culture, rich omotenashi. My life is rich with experience. My time is rich with meaning. My Japan is… rich.
You can experience my Japan…
Staying at a luxury ryokan
Ryokan, traditional Japanese-style inns, capture omotenashi at its finest. Omotenashi, a term highly sensationalized in recent years with Cool Japan and the upcoming 2020 Olympics, simply translates to hospitality. The concept, however, is much more; defined by selfless intention, omotenashi helps to shape Japanese culture.
Recently opened Hoshinoya Tokyo offers guests a luxury ryokan experience in the center of Tokyo — Photo by Delilah
A well-known Japanese proverb, okyaku-sama wa kami-sama (お客様は神様), translates to ‘customer is king’. Staying at a ryokan, you will discover this is taken very seriously. Hosts do everything, from preparing the room for your kaiseki meal (a Japanese style of cuisine consisting of small, intricate dishes) to taking out and putting away your futon bed.
Ryokan like this little one in Niigata
are the end destination of a trip — Photo by Delilah
Ryokan, more than just a roof over your head at night, are a place to relax and recover from the stress and ailments of the every day. After a getaway to one of these inns, the rich Japanese omotenashi will really have you feel like a kami-sama.
Eating at one of the many gourmet restaurants
With more Michelin-rated restaurants than any other city, Tokyo has held its position as the gourmet center of the world for nine years. You can find authentic, high-quality dishes of nearly any cuisine you crave in the capital. Indian, French, Thai, Caribbean…the list keeps going. Whether you want to spend 100,000 yen for dinner at Le Chateau
or 1000 yen for ramen
, the quality of food is amazing.
Japan has gourmet food of every kind, including Michelin-starred ramen available for less than 1000 yen — Photo by Nathan Hosken
This quality is a reflection of the chefs’ dedication. Chefs in Japan are devoted to their work in an effort to master and perfect their skill. The passion these chef-shokunin (elite craftsmen
) have can be tasted in the food they create. What appears to be a straightforward piece of fish on a lump of rice has actually been carefully selected, masterfully sliced, placed on a perfectly molded bed of sticky rice. The chef has recreated this simple piece over and over, day after day. You get to enjoy the end result—a flavorful dish of complimentary flavors and rich quality that mirrors the chef’s passion.
Museum-hopping Art Triangle Roppongi
Roppongi is known to be a nightlife hotspot, and rightly so. Clubs, bars and Izakayas
line the streets beckoning the excited party-goers. During the day, however, Roppongi attracts a different crowd. Three museums— The National Art Center
, The Suntory Museum of Art
and the Mori Art Museum
—form what is known as the Art Triangle and serve as a cultural hub. The trio, all within walking distance, can be visited all in one day (at a discount!) and provide a well-rounded view of the arts.
The National Art Center features special exhibits from renowned artists like Renoir and Dalí — Photo by Delilah
Each museum focuses on different styles of art. The National Art Center, a glass wave-like structure born of architect Kisho Kurokawa's imagination, is one of few art galleries sponsored by the Japanese government. The museum hosts no permanent collection, instead using its 14000 square feet for special exhibitions.
The Suntory Museum of Art, located in Tokyo Midtown, focuses on art that represents Japanese life — Photo by Nathan Hosken
In contrast, the Suntory Museum of Art, located in the Tokyo Midtown complex, focuses primarily on its permanent collection. The collection, titled “Art in Life”, is comprised of Japanese antiques and artwork and connected to the country’s life and culture.
The Mori Art Museum carries exhibitions by contemporary artists — Photo by Nathan Hosken
The Mori Art Museum in Roppongi Hills completes the triangle with an emphasis on urban, contemporary art. The museum’s location 53 stories above the city is just as much a statement as the artwork. Take some time in these museums and explore the rich culture of Japan and beyond.
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