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The Ryokan Collection
Wine and Festival in Hokkaido.
Yoichi, a town surrounded by thriving fruit orchards, is just 70 minutes by car from Sapporo and 2 hours from New Chitose Airport. Originally famous for whisky production, Yoichi is gaining renown for its wine grapes. Currently, it produces the most wine grapes in Hokkaido, assisted by large temperature swings from day to night. Due to a similar climate, German grapes do well there so many vineyards are given over to cold-resistant varietals like Kerner and Zweigeltrebe. Naturally, many wineries make their home in Yoichi, from small individual producers who trained with the best vintners in France to large wineries run by Japan's biggest liquor companies. With winery tours, exclusive tastings, and restaurants overlooking the fields, it's an unmissable destination for wine lovers.
HP: www.town.yoichi.hokkaido.jp/wine-tourism/
Photo by courtesy of Yoichi Niki Wine Tourism Project
Jigoku-dani Valley
Two and a half hours' drive from Yoichi is the famous hot spring town of Noboribetsu, where a unique local event called the Demon Fireworks is held every June and July. It takes place in Jigoku-dani, or Hell Valley, a volcanic crater where geothermal vents fill the air with sinister clouds of sulphuric steam. According to a local legend passed down from generation to generation, demons called Yukijin protect the town by gathering bad luck or misfortune from each resident and shooting it into the night sky via hand-held lengths of bamboo packed with gunpowder. The resulting geysers of sparks reach heights of 8 meters, accompanied by the deep beat of taiko drums to mirror the rumble of a natural geothermal eruption. Truly, an unforgettable experience.
HP: noboribetsu-spa.jp/events/onihanabi-2/

Photo by courtesy of Institute Noboribetsu Convention & Visitors Association

After enjoying the traditional festival and regional wine of Hokkaido, complete your trip with a relaxing ryokan stay. Within a hour drive of the city, Ryokan Collection members Ginrinsou, Zaborin and Takinoya are waiting to welcome you.
Ginrinsou had its beginnings over 130 years ago, in 1873. Ginrinsou is located 30 minutes from Sapporo in the port city of Otaru on the west coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido. Priding itself on its historical heritage, architectural legacy, and impeccable service, Ginrinsou is one of Hokkaido's most prestigious ryokan.
Ginrinsou, originally a 'herring estate' itself, was moved to its present location, high atop Cape Hiraiso, in 1938 and opened to the public as a Japanese inn. Then, in 1986, after the successful drilling of a natural hot spring, the beautifully landscaped open-air bath with its awe-inspiring view of Ishikari Bay was completed.
Zaborin is a rare combination offering a fully luxurious Japanese experience without compromising on modern comforts. Amidst the encompassing beauty of Hokkaido nature - with a view to the famous Mount Yotei - this contemporary luxury ryokan is a local secret to be enjoyed throughout the seasons by the discerning modern luxury traveller.
With the abundance of the very best in Hokkaido seafood, vegetables, fruits, dairy and meat, Zaborin serves its unique ‘kita kaiseki’ haute cuisine set menu. A northern version of the traditional kaiseki style cuisine, kita kaiseki embraces the full farm-to-table cycle and of bringing out the very best of the local ingredients.
Takinoya ryokan, nestled among the leafy forests of southern Hokkaido's Noboribetsu resort area, is a glorious location to rest your eyes on the wonders of nature as you soak away your cares in some of the finest hot springs in Japan.
Inside, Takinoya is elegant and tasteful - Japanese art, both traditional and modern, graces the interior spaces, which are outfitted in the lovely, spare, zen-inspired geometric simplicity of traditional Japanese design. The ryokan's hallways are floored with tatami, and guests pad around in bare feet or special socks, unlike most ryokan, where slippers are the norm. The onsen baths boast five different types of water, piped in from the famous Jigokudani onsen source, with different mineral content, acidity and alkalinity to ease both body and mind.
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For more information and queries, please visit www.ryokancollection.com or contact our concierge at info@ryokancollection.com or +81 3 6824 1015.
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