Shima Kanko Hotel: Where Japan’s Aesthetics Resonates with the World


WordsAkiko Wakimoto PhotographyShin Ebisu

The beautiful landscape of Ago Bay in Mie Prefecture is the result of the complex geological folding of the ria shoreline. The Shima Kanko Hotel, which overlooks the sea atop a high outcropping, was founded in 1951 as a Japan’s first fully Western resort hotel to be built since the end of the war. For well over half a century now, it has welcomed distinguished guests from Japan and abroad, including the former Emperor Hirohito. In May 2016, the elegant, venerable institution captured the international spotlight when it served as the venue for the 42nd G7 Summit.

The Club, whose atmosphere exudes memories of the resort’s founding years, eloquently speaks of the hotel’s history. It was designed by Togo Murano, one of Japan’s most respected modern architects. The vast premises of the hotel’s estate contains two soaring guest-room buildings: The Classic, designed with a modern flair, and The Bay Suites, wholly comprised of suites exceeding 100 m2 in floorspace.

The Classic (left) offers a modern ambience, while the atmosphere of The Club (right) is highly reminiscent of the hotel’s founding days in the 1950’s. One can palpably sense the dignified aura of the hotel’s pioneering role as one of Japan’s first Western-style resorts. ©Shima Kanko Hotel

First you should visit the Guest Lounge, accessible exclusively to hotel guests. Besides enjoying drinks and sweets, you can take advantage of dedicated spaces set up for reading books and listening to music. The hotel offers several of these unique relaxation areas, such as the Listening Room designed for the comfortable listening of music, primarily classical, and the Reading Room, with its collection of several hundred books gathered under the theme, “aesthetics adjacent to the world”. When sunset approaches, you may encounter a mystical scene in which the colours of the sky and the islands dotting the Ago Bay continually shift from a golden hue to an orange one, and at times even to purple, among many others.

The format of the teahouse Guan exists unchanged from the time of its establishment sixty-seven years ago.

The best place to have dinner is the restaurant La Mer The Classic, where you can enjoy French cuisine that takes full advantage of Ise-Shima’s seafood. World leaders at the 2016 G7 summit praised the restaurant’s menu. After dinner, we recommend that you pay a visit to the café & wine bar Lien within The Club. It is quintessential luxury to be able to lift up your glass, no matter what you are drinking, and ponder the sixty-seven years of the bar’s history in the classical space designed by the master architect Murano.

This is a hotel that has captivated the hearts of Japanese and foreign dignitaries, who all found it hard to leave. This is the flagship hotel of Ise-Shima, where Japan’s aesthetics resonates with the world.

During its hours as a café, Lien offers guests various delights, such as an afternoon tea set, as well as a food menu that includes the signature tongue stew. During its wine bar hours, then, guests can sample a huge variety of specially procured wines as well as other drinks.

Shima Kanko Hotel’s French restaurant La Mer The Classic. Exquisite dishes made from Ise-Shima ingredients were also served to world leaders at the G7 Summit in 2016. ©Shima Kanko Hotel

Shima Kanko Hotel, The Classic

Address: 731 Ago-cho Shinmei, Shima-shi, Mie

Tel: 0599-43-1211

114 rooms in total

Price: Comfort Twin (28 m2), French seafood ‘Uruwashi’ plan, from 62,600 JPY (two persons, including two meals)

Cards accepted: American Express; Diners Club; JCB; Mastercard; and Visa

Access: Five-minute walk or two minutes by hotel’s shuttle bus from Kashikojima station

Information current as of October 2018

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