See the Sakuras at this Japanese Luxury Hotel Amidst a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Visit the Ritz Carlton Nikko to see blooming Sakura (cherry blossom) trees and for nine other bucket worthy experiences.

Ritz Carlton Nikko Japan Cherry Blossoms
Cherry Blossoms / Courtesy Ritz Carlton

Visit the Ritz Carlton Nikko to see blooming Sakura (cherry blossoms) and for nine other bucket worthy experiences.

Travelers flock to Japan during spring for one of the most beautiful seasons of the year – blooming Sakura (cherry blossom) trees blanketing the serene landscape (typically towards end of April). The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko, debuted in July 2020 as a brand-new hotel amidst a UNESCO World Heritage Site, overlooking Lake Chūzenji and Mount Nantai within Japan’s Northern Kanto region (2.5 hours north of Tokyo by rail or car). From cultural rituals to outdoor adventures, to cherry blossom-inspired culinary specials, and more, The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko is the ultimate bucket-list destination this spring.

The Lobby at Ritz Carlton Nikko Japan Tea Celebration
Tea Celebration at The Lobby at Ritz Carlton Nikko Japan / Courtesy Hotel

Nikko is an idyllic destination for springtime, offering an immersive experience in a transient tunnel of pink. The property’s tribute to minimalism and tradition radiates through its exquisite features, which include 94 stunning hotel rooms and suites, adorned with tasteful decor and plush furnishings. Guests can relax and take in the tranquil views from the traditional engawas (porches) or unwind at the full-service spa with a private onsen (hot spring), where they can soak in the rejuvenating waters while surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Ritz Nikko Japan Sakura Blossoms kaiseki dinner
Kaiseki dinner at Ritz Nikko Japan Sakura Blossoms / Courtesy Hotel

Bucket List Spring Experiences at The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko
The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko provides an extensive and diverse range of spring experiences tailored to adrenaline-seeking adventurers, inquisitive explorers, and families. The impressive programming shifts with the seasons, enabling a profound immersion into the dynamic destination and its awe-inspiring wonders. Key experiences for spring are highlighted below and full programming can be found here.

  • Shugendo Experience – Guests can explore the ascetic religious tradition of Shugendo, which blends Taoist, Buddhist, and Shinto beliefs through a hike to the secluded waterfalls located in the Kirifuri highlands. Under the ethereal pouring water, guests have a chance to purify both body and mind by participating in the centuries-old takigyo practice and feel invigorated by the mountain’s spiritual energy that arises.
  • Morning Zazen Meditation – Guests can bask in a serene morning ritual that embraces inner peace and tranquility. Led by monks from the Chūzenji Temple, this meditative practice provides the perfect tool to jumpstart the day with a sense of calm and balance. 
  • Fire Ceremony – This immersive, sensory ceremony involves the burning of holy cedar sticks and chanting monks at Chuzenji Temple, a sanctuary rich in history and relations with the World Heritage Rinnoji Temple. 
  • Chanokidaira Nature Hike – The Chanokidaira lookout point boasts an unforgettable panoramic view of Mount Nantai. Guests can venture through a forested trail that boasts magnificent vistas of Lake Chuzenji.
  • Sundown Lake Ride – Guests can take to the tranquil waters of Lake Chuzenji on a solo SUP or megaboard to experience the peaceful stillness of twilight as the serenity of dusk takes over the surrounding mountains.
  • Cycle & Cruise – The experience includes an exhilarating mountain bike ride through the towering oak and larch forest of Odashirogahara, followed by a leisurely speedboat cruise back to the hotel on Lake Chuzenji with unobstructed views of awe-inspiring Hatcho Dejima and Mount Nantai.
  • Kagura Shrine Dance – This ritual – a ceremonial kagura dance performed by a shrine maiden to the Shinto gods, accompanied by taiko drumming and a traditional bamboo wind instrument – expresses gratitude for a successful harvest, abundant fish, and good health.
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site Tour – Embark on a cultural journey through the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Rinnoji Temple and the Toshogu and Futarasan Shrines. At Toshogu, a Shinto priest and shrine maiden guide guests through the complex and lead them in a purification ritual in a stunningly decorated chamber. This tour also includes visits to the three sacred cedar trees of Takio Shrine, an auxiliary shrine of Futarasan, and Kanmangafuch. 
  • OkuNikko Stargazing – OkuNikko offers the ultimate stargazing experience in the entire Kanto region, with the one-of-a-kind opportunity to view the Milky Way and moon craters using either the naked eye or a telescope. The highlands provide a pristine viewing environment with minimal light pollution, offering an unparalleled canvas of the night sky for guests to bask in the beauty of the starry night. 
The Lobby at Ritz Carlton Nikko Japan
The Lobby at Ritz Carlton Nikko Japan / Courtesy Hotel

Sakura Culinary Specials

Foodie-focused travelers can also enjoy cherry blossom-inspired culinary creations at The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko. Sample Sakura offerings include:

  • Japanese Kaiseki Dinner “Momiji” – An artful eight-course kaiseki dinner featuring Sakura sea bream. 23,000 JPY
  • Sakura Afternoon Tea – The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko’s signature afternoon tea with Sakura sweets to pay homage to cherry blossom season. 7,200 JPY
  • “Sakura & Strawberry” Parfait – A very special Japanese wagashi flavored parfait with Sakura scented smoke, Tochigi strawberry, and white bean jam foam. 2,500 JPY
Ritz Carlton Nikko Japan Lake View Suite
A Lake View Suite at Ritz Carlton Nikko Japan / Courtesy Hotel

About The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko

The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko, situated in Tochigi prefecture, is the first luxury international hotel in the area. Located on the picturesque Lake Chuzenji within Nikko National Park, the hotel is just a two-and-a-half-hour journey from Tokyo by car or rail. Guests have easy accessibility to the stunning Kegon Falls, popular Senjogahara marshland, various hiking trails, and the UNESCO World Heritage site “Shrines and Temples of Nikko.” The property boasts 94 luxurious guest rooms and suites, blending contemporary style with elegant Japanese design. Along with spacious accommodations, the site has extensive amenities including two restaurants serving Japanese and western cuisine, distinctive venues for drinks and lounging, as well as wellness experiences. The Ritz-Carlton Spa has four private treatment rooms and is the first Ritz-Carlton establishment to offer a traditional Japanese onsen hot-spring experience. Guests can revitalize themselves in the curative thermal waters sourced from the nearby Yumoto Onsen, immersing themselves in capacious indoor and outdoor tubs in distinct gender areas. The splendid garden vistas from the tubs amplify this quintessential Japanese encounter, rendering it even more memorable.

Read the Spring 2023 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.

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