This welcoming, old hotel is part of the well respected Japanese Imperial Hotel group, providing a summer villa counterpoint to their grand inner-city Tokyo and Osaka properties. Originally opened in 1933, it has welcomed many distinguished guests and famous faces over the decades. With echoes of Swiss chalet stylings, it suits its alpine surroundings perfectly. Nostalgic and purposefully European in style, it has a distinctively Japanese style infusing through it all.
The larger family suites have space for extra beds, and the verandah rooms offer you a private balcony where you can sit and gaze at the mountains when you’re not off exploring them! Enjoy multi-course kaiseki meals as well as shabu-shabu hot-pots and teppanyaki grill. Later in the evening, keep warm around the striking central fireplace in the main lounge as you sip high-quality Japanese whisky, cooled over Hotaka mountain-water ice, and plan the following day’s expeditions.
Easily reached from Matsumoto, this is one of the most beautiful locations in Japan: surrounded by woodland, high up in the valley of Kamikochi, and set back from a gin-clear river.
Japanese and Western restaurants
Water piped from Kamikochi Spring
Closed mid November to mid April
A no-frills mountain guesthouse where you can recharge your batteries.
Discover what to expect from staying at Kamikochi Imperial Hotel
The Imperial brand is Japan’s original luxury hotel brand and holder of the royal warrant. They offer a fairly old school, conservative hotel experience, which feels classic in a comforting way. You might think the retro furnishings are original, but most are, in fact, brand new and designed to replicate the vintage elegance of a summer villa in the alps.
Japanese curry is usually a fairly mild, sweet version, with plenty of beef and fresh vegetables, which is very easy to enjoy. The Imperial version is highly regarded among curry connoisseurs and finished to perfection. Or perhaps you prefer the sound of the beef and rice omelette? Good Japanese cooking excels in the absolute nailing of seemingly simple dishes, elevating them to something extra special.
The Kamikochi valley empties after the sun goes down, and there is no way in along the National Park-maintained roads after that point. It’s a special feeling to be staying there, amid such total peace and quiet, and in such luxury. Take an early morning stroll to the emerald waters of the Azusa River, and enjoy aperitifs around the hearth as dusk settles.
Immerse yourself in nature. Kamikochi is a pristine natural valley that offers up some of Japan's best hiking opportunities. However, these don’t have to be challenging; they needn’t be any more strenuous than pleasant strolls by the river, into the forest or into the hills.
Wander along the ancient trails of Kumano Kodo and its spiritual shrines, enjoying the peaceful, and enchanting surroundings as well as taking in the hospitality of local families along the way.