CHALET IVY JOZANKEI
TRADITIONAL INN OFFERS LUXURY AMIDST NATURE
Chalet Ivy Jozankei is a luxurious hotel styled on the ryokan (Japanese inn) experience and situated on the banks of the Toyohira River in the Jozankei Onsen hot spring resort. Situated less than an hour from downtown Sapporo and about 80 minutes from the slopes of Niseko, home to a sister hotel, this elegant and intimate inn is the perfect base for exploring the area’s natural splendor, if one can manage to resist the comforts available inside.
Jozankei Onsen is named after the 19th-century Buddhist monk Miizumi Jozan, who happened across the thermal springs while proselytizing in what was then an area of Hokkaido not frequented by many Japanese.
Enchanted by the therapeutic powers of the waters, Jozan worked to develop the area, founding a temple that now also bears his name and even managing a lodging house for visiting bathers. When the Meiji government demanded he give himself a last name, he chose Miizumi, which means “beautiful spring.”
The area is now home to numerous hot spring hotels both large and small, of which Chalet Ivy Jozankei is one of the newest. The inn’s interior design incorporates a traditional Japanese sensibility, with tatami, shoji and lightly finished wood used with a modern simplicity to create an environment of both comfort and elegance.
Chalet Ivy Jozankei has 26 rooms, each with its own private natural bath. Guests also have access to a spa and gym, as well as a larger hot spring available to all guests that includes an open-air bath.
The hotel’s in-house restaurant is called Zui, which serves kaiseki (multicourse) meals with a modern aesthetic. The menu is focused on the specialties of Hokkaido and fresh seasonal ingredients. Zui also has a teppanyaki (iron-plate grill) counter serving the finest in grilled local seafood and meats prepared by master chefs.
Spa Nikur provides therapeutic and beauty treatments that aim to incorporate the traditions of the Ainu, the indigenous people of Hokkaido, through the use of herbs that have been gathered locally. The hotel’s gym is open for guest use 24 hours a day.
The sister Chalet Ivy in the Hirafu ski area is a larger facility with 78 rooms and dining options that include both fine and casual Japanese restaurants and a cocktail lounge. In winter, this location caters to skiers who come from all over the world to experience the famous Niseko powder. Summer adventures that can be arranged by the hotel include golf, cycling, hiking, rafting and fly-fishing.
The area around Jozankei hot springs is thickly forested, with two large lakes to the north and south, the latter named Jozan after you-know-who. The peak of Mount Yuhi stands about 400 meters above the village. The trailhead is right on the edge of town, behind a shrine named (what else?) Jozankei. An overlook on the trail gives a great view of the hotels clustered around the river below.
Jozankei Onsen is close enough to Sapporo that residents of the capital often take day trips here, but surrounded by mountains and deep forests, and swathed in steam from the hot springs, it can feel like a world away. Chalet Ivy Jozankei aims to transport its guests to even higher planes of comfort and relaxation.