Paradise Search : Beniya Mukayu, Yamashiro, Japan

Finding boutique hotels in Japan (outside of Tokyo)  is somehow a challenge. First, you generally won’t find them on your usual hotel websites, which more than often means you’ll have to come up with new, more specialized sources. And then there’s the price, because you’ll soon find out that they’re in rather different price range than what you would have thought. But let’s not spoil our pleasure with these details yet, and enjoy the pictures first!

Beniya Mukayu is nestled in the woody hills near Kaga, less than one hour away by train from Kanazawa. To put it in a few words, the hotel is contemporary riff on the traditional ryokan (the Japanese b&b). Yet it would not be Japanese if this modernity didn’t seem to have so much soul and so much ancestral roots. I’m actually moved thinking about it…but let’s focus!

The building itself is of wood, concrete and glass, but it’s so well hidden in the trees that you never seem to be able to grasp its entire silhouette.

The vast lobby is such a peaceful place, not what you would expect from a classic one! It has giant windows that opens on the garden and the most delightful furniture.

The balance between design and craft is fabulous. This is in the library where I spent quite a lot of time browsing the great collection of art books.

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The cutest stove I’ve ever seen and a fabulous hand-carved stool.

That’s the entrance to the spa. My husband indulged in a shiatsu massage that was so mind-blowing I’m still hearing about it! I regret not doing it too, but I did take the daily yoga class with its view on the garden. Can we talk about the garden for a second?

Do you see what I mean? This is the kind of place where you can literally watch the rain drop on leaves in complete awe. They’re very proud of the fact that they keep their garden “untrimmed”, something I believe to be a tad rebellious in Japan!


Contemplation is de rigueur.

There is an art installation in the middle of the garden, to keep things interesting! You can tell that the 21st museum in Kanazawa is not far.

There is also a tea house where the founder -a tea master- holds tea ceremonies. Unfortunately we missed our chance to attend one!

The area is well known for its fruits and vegetables as well as for its extremely fresh fish (the sea is very close). At this point you wouldn’t expect anything but gorgeous food served in fantastic dinnerware, right? Well, it’s spectacular yet so humble in a way. Like this mini pitcher. (I’m planning to start collecting those!)

Obvisously there will be full post dedicated to the amazing things we got to eat, but this picture gives you a good idea of what a poem food was (yes that’s a sashimi in a bowl of ice).

Breakfast (we went for the western option, I don’t have any tolerance for anything miso and fish-related early in the day) is deceptfuly simple because most of the things are very local, like the fresh Fuji apple juice or the delicious glass of milk from the neighbouring cows. And these delicate salad leaves? Perfect. That as the only time we managed to eat salad in Japan, too bad it was for breakfast!

Shall we go to the room now?
I loved the pared-down corridors leading to the rooms, they were half inside, half outside, meaning you could hear the rain and the wind.


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The Japanese are the kings when it comes to concrete. The material is omnipresent in the building and takes different colorations and textures if it’s inside or outside.

We picked a tatami room, which meant our futons would only be set in the evening, like in a traditional Ryokan. Except here it felt more like a fabulous ritual, with a choice between three types of pillows, plush duvets and soothing smell coming for a perfume diffuser. The room itself was vast and lit in a very subtle way, making the space very peaceful.

The large window with its balcony offers a relaxing view on the delicate foliage of the garden.

This is an exterior view of the balconies. It also hides the most amazing feature of the room…

…the private outdoor onsen! Well, obviously this is fabulous. You get to soak in this naturally hot spring water with trees right above you. That’s the kind of experience I will remember for some time!

Well, obviously Beniya Mukayu was simply our most amazing hotel experience in Japan. That was definitely a huge dent in our budget, but worth every penny if you ask me. I feel you get to experience an invaluable a level of refinement and poetry there. Go and be delighted like us!

Book a room there, or visit the website.


  • […] north to Kaga and to the tiny town of Yamashiro-onsen. I had fallen in love with the pictures of Beniya Mukayu and it turned out to be even better than I thought. You could say that it set up a new standard […]

  • […] Japanese and old-Europe styles. For the same price, the experience wasn’t as incredible as in Beniya Mukayu, but it was still pretty nice. We explored the surrounding areas mainly on foot, wandering around […]

  • […] here a list of cool places to stay, to complement the ones I’ve actually been to, like Beniya Mukayu, JR Hotel Yakushima or Claska. Un nouveau séjour au Japon a bien failli se concrétiser […]

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