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October 24, 2023

KAI Akiu, a hot spring ryokan offering beautiful views of the surroundings from deep blue rooms, opening on April 25th, 2024

Hoshino Resorts will be opening KAI Akiu in Akiu Onsen, Miyagi Prefecture, on April 25th, 2024, under its hot spring ryokan brand KAI. KAI Akiu will be the 23rd facility under the KAI brand, the second facility in the Tohoku area following KAI Tsugaru in Owani Onsen, Aomori Prefecture, and the first in Miyagi Prefecture. Located in a spot overlooking the Natori River flowing from the Ou Mountains, guests can enjoy the mountain streams and the change in seasonal landscape at this ryokan.

About KAI Akiu
Akiu Onsen in Miyagi Prefecture is a hot spring town with a long history that dates back to the Kofun period around 1,500 years ago, and it is said to have been a hot spring that successive emperors and feudal lords such as Date Masamune had visited to recuperate.*1 Nestled in a quiet area deep within Akiu Onsen, KAI Akiu is an onsen ryokan located right next to the Natori River and surrounded by lush nature. Guests can enjoy the beauty of each season with the magnificent greenery in spring and summer, the autumn foliage in fall, and the snowy landscape in winter. All rooms offer views of the mountain streams and a footbath facing the Natori River will be made at the terrace, where guests can listen to the sounds of water and feel the breeze on their skin. kooo architects is in charge of the design of KAI Akiu. A hot spring ryokan where guests can relax in peace away from the city and forget about the passing of time will be proposed. 
*1: From the website of the Akiu Onsen Ryokan Union

Features of KAI Akiu
(1) Guest rooms: Deep blue rooms that frame the mountain stream view
KAI offers region-inspired rooms named KAI Signature Rooms through which guests can experience local culture and crafts. At KAI Akiu, the design of the room will be inspired by the Rairaikyo Gorge along the Natori River, a scenic spot in Akiu Onsen, that was once described as a “deep blue abyss.”*2 Guests can enjoy the seasonal scenery of the mountain streams framed by the room. 

Desks in the rooms are adorned with Sendai glass art that shimmers beautifully with shades of green in the light. Guests will be greeted with room number tags made from Shiroishi washi paper (a traditional craft handed down from the Edo period), kokeshi doll patterns hidden in the sliding doors of bedrooms, and many other interior features that incorporate the use of local elements from Miyagi Prefecture.
*2: From the website of the Taihaku Community Development Promotion Council

Comment from Shinya Kojima and Ayaka Kojima of kooo architects
“All guest rooms at KAI Akiu will offer views of the beautiful valley fed by the Natori River, which has been known since the Heian period as one of the poetic devices in Japanese poetry in the Mutsu region (now known as Tohoku region). We have incorporated colors that echo these picturesque surroundings, light, and materials such as Shiroishi washi paper in our design, along with beautiful local crafts such as Sendai glass. We hope that guests staying at KAI Akiu will be able to relax and enjoy a moment of tranquility amid nature.”

(2) Hot springs: Open-air public baths surrounded by nature
Guests can enjoy open-air rock baths that are surrounded by trees and take in the sounds of the mountain streams. There are also two indoor public baths: atsu-yu, a hot bath, and nuru-yu, a lukewarm bath for relieving both mental and physical fatigue. These hot springs are classified as sodium-chloride and calcium-chloride springs, which are capable of keeping the body warm. They are also unique for the antibacterial properties of metaboric acid and the beautifying effects of calcium that can promote smoother skin.

(3) Meals: Kaiseki cuisine inspired by the meals of daimyo (regional lords)
For dinner, kaiseki cuisine showcasing local food culture will be served in the dining area with semi-private rooms that offer guests adequate privacy. Dinner at KAI Akiu starts with an appetizer of oxtail rillettes with Sendai miso. The rillettes are served alongside Sendai-fu, a local specialty of Miyagi Prefecture, and Michinoku senbei, rice crackers grilled by hand one at a time. The tableware features the polka-dot pattern of the jinbaori (battle surcoat) said to have been worn on the battlefield by Date Masamune, a warlord from the Sengoku period.

The horakumori, an assortment of appetizers, pickled ingredients, hassun (seasonal ingredients), and sashimi, is served on an ozen (stand) with legs that resemble those used for the meals of daimyo. Miyagi Prefecture is surrounded by vibrant nature and is home to many ingredients sourced from the mountains and seas so the special kaiseki meal will be a hot pot of beef, vegetables, and seafood; all of the flavors in one dish. It also draws inspiration from the fact that Miyagi Prefecture is also a major rice production area by wrapping sea urchin with beef to create small bundles reminiscent of bales of rice straw.

Facility overview
Facility Name: Hoshino Resorts KAI Akiu
Address: 1 Hirakura, Yumoto, Akiu-machi, Taihaku-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Number of rooms: 49
Breakdown of rooms: 9 Japanese-style rooms (accommodate up to two guests), 30 Japanese-style rooms (accommodate up to three guests), 8 Japanese-style rooms (accommodate up to four guests), 1 special room, and 1 pet-friendly room
Ancillary facilities: Lobby, travel library, terrace, shop, dining area, public baths (separated by gender, 1 open-air bath and 2 indoor baths for each gender), Yuagari lounge
Price: From ¥31,000 per night (per person per 2-person room, inclusive of tax and service charge, includes dinner and breakfast)
Access: 30-minute drive from JR Sendai Station, 45-minute drive from Sendai Airport
Opening date: April 25th, 2024

Project overview
Construction area: 4,040 sqm
Renovated area: 7,561 sqm
Site area: 26,040 sqm (total area of all project sites)
Design & supervision: kooo architects, Co., Ltd.
Construction: Sato Kogyo, Co., Ltd.

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