A Shodoshima Island retreat in central Tokyo

Positioned just a brief walk from Hamamatsu-cho station, Hotel Rilassare Tokyo is a tranquil oasis of calm in considered one of Tokyo’s busiest transportation hubs. The concept and design have been inspired by the island of Shodoshima within the Seto Inland Sea, and I had a probability to experience this charming boutique hotel during a recent stay.

While Shodoshima is an element of Kagawa Prefecture, the character and climate of the sunny island results in frequent comparisons with the Mediterranean area. That is reflected within the name of the hotel—which implies “leisure” in Italian—and perfectly encapsulates my very own experience as a guest.

Thoughtful Design Inspired by Shodoshima’s Nature

Rilassare is lower than five minutes on foot from Hamamatsu-cho station, situated on a quiet street. I enjoyed the welcoming sight of seasonal flowers within the hotel’s small front garden before stepping through the discreet entrance. Shodoshima is known for its olives, which inspired the calming color palette in the comfy guest lounge adjoining to the reception area. I used to be pleased to see state-of-the-art coffee and tea capsule machines, freely available at any time of the day or night.

Entering into my guestroom,  I used to be immediately taken by the spacious layout, with a double bed and punctiliously curated “mini-areas” for working, reading, eating or watching TV. This aspect can be particularly appreciated if traveling with a partner or friend, as each of you could possibly work or loosen up within the room without disturbing the opposite. Unlike most Japanese hotels,  I also liked the undeniable fact that the room offered a collection of lighting options, to suit a variety of needs and vibes. It was clear that numerous thought has gone into making a room that’s multi-functional in addition to comfortable, making it a welcome haven after a protracted day of traveling, sightseeing or attending meetings.

Tasteful Options Abound

After a restful night, I headed to the nearby Yuhigaoka Shokudou, a restaurant offering all-day dining options and which can also be open to the general public. Hotel guests can pick from a collection of hearty breakfast sets, or just enjoy a drink and fresh items from the bakery. The restaurant is becoming popular with businesspeople and native residents, too.


Along with Yuhigaoka Shokudou, the corporate operates Ristorante Casa Setouchi next to the hotel, and Teppanyaki Seto a couple of minutes’ walk away. The cuisine in any respect three restaurants highlights Shodoshima’s food culture, including soy sauce, lemons and olive products, and a few of the fruit and vegetables come from Calore, the corporate farm on Shodoshima. 

On my way back to the station I finished by Ponte Seto-umi, a select shop on the primary floor of the identical constructing as Teppanyaki Seto. It encompasses a number of products mainly from the Setouchi area, including some produced with ingredients from Calore, and I selected a couple of treats to enjoy at home.


Connecting People, Food and Culture

Rilassare is the brainchild of Hiroshi Kasai, who has ties to each Shodoshima and the Hamamatsu-cho area. Born and raised on Shodoshima, Kasai grew up in an environment where it was natural to make the most effective use of seasonal ingredients, and to look out for others, in a friendly spirit of community cooperation. 

Having worked in Hamamatsu-cho after coming to Tokyo initially of his business profession, Kasai felt an affinity for this area of Tokyo, which he notes is a hub for land, air and sea transportation out and in of the capital. Drawing on his experience in running a well-liked hotel on the island, Kasai aspired to create a small Shodoshima oasis where people could experience a taste of his hometown’s nukumori: a sense of heat and welcome. 


“We’ve got added touches of Shodoshima and its nature throughout the hotel. For instance, the constructing is surrounded by stone blocks from the island, and we commissioned local artist Ryo Date to create original paintings for every room. They feature typical scenes and nature of the island,” Kasai explains.

“Our mission is to make use of food, art and culture as a platform to attach Shodoshima and Tokyo. We’ve already hosted performances by Shodoshima musicians at Ristorante Casa Setouchi next-door, and we hope to carry such events  in our lounge here at Rilassare in the longer term, too,” says Kasai. “After I was a toddler, helping one another and constructing connections was one of the crucial essential things in life. I feel that’s missing from modern living in the massive city and I’d like to bring back that feeling with our hotel and activities.”

Warmth, nature, leisure and human connections—we could all use more of those enduring qualities in our busy each day lives.  While I also recommend visiting beautiful Shodoshima, the following smartest thing to being there may be a soothing stay at Rilassare in the guts of Hamamatsu-cho.


© Japan Today

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