Sound of Silence – Shiguchi Niseko, Japan
Simplicity, tranquillity, connection. Shouya Grigg’s gallery-stay property SHIGUCHI ushers in a new generation of Japanese hospitality and culture. Launched in 2022, it offers accommodations in five meticulously renovated and reconfigured kominkas, traditional Japanese farmhouses relocated from Aizu, each with its own private onsen. The perfect complement to adjacent sister property SOMOZA, Grigg’s 150-year-old gallery-restaurant.
“SHIGUCHI is not a conventional hotel, nor is it a traditional ryokan. I wanted to create a place that combines impeccable art, crafts and centuries-old architecture with Niseko’s extraordinary nature to inspire and reconnect us at a meaningful, personal level.”
It’s all about the quiet moments. In an atmosphere of refinement, contemplation and understated luxury, guests are encouraged to relax and explore a deeper connection to the things that really matter in life.
The Wellness Wow (Factor)
Time for some peaceful, mindful self-discovery. Drink tea, read a book, view the extensive art collections or take a relaxing walk in the private woods for Shinrin-yoku – forest bathing – with its associated stress-relieving health benefits. Most villas have a tatami mat room, which can also be used for in-room spa treatments, yoga and meditation.
Adjacent kominka SOMOZA offers a curated range of personalised cultural and culinary experiences, from the time-honoured Japanese tea ceremony to ikebana and fine art photography, wilderness hiking, mindful and wellness therapies and local gastronomy. Notable is the matcha tea-making ceremony where tea master Mie-san demonstrates the mindful and ancient practice of matcha, in a ritualistic ceremony full of precision, intent and grace. Kaye Dong of The New Moon was mesmerised by the experience. “From greeting me as a guest to the tearoom, to boiling the water, to presenting me with the tea, every step felt important and significant. I was then offered the opportunity to whisk matcha tea myself.”
The villas are named after the five universal elemental symbols: chi (earth), sui (water), ka (fire), fu (wind) and ku (void or spirit) and feature western-style beds with soft-as-silk 600 thread count linens, Ikeuchi organic towels and bespoke hair and bath care products with pine, cedar and cypress fragrances inspired by the forests of Niseko. Shiguchi refers to the traditional system of simple, nail-free timber joinery from which traditional Japanese buildings were built. Each villa blends traditional design with contemporary comforts, decorated with antiques and modern ceramics, paintings and sculptures from the private collection of Shouya Grigg.
Fresh seasonal local produce is quietly prepared by SOMOZA’s Chef Ozeki Tatsuya. Many ingredients are foraged, especially in spring and autumn, with ‘sansai’ mountain vegetables offered to guests all year. Chef Ozeki draws on French techniques, with colourful dishes that aim to connect with the earth, interpret nature and bring out the true power of the ingredients. “We are happy to share a little surprise, a little fun, and the joy of learning something new with our guests who come to visit us deep in the mountains.” Sommelier Katsuyuki Sasaki gives insights into Hokkaido wines, craft beers and whiskies.
The New Moon Loves
The fabulous in-villa private onsen: a semi-open-air space where volcanic hot spring water direct from the property free-flows into an oversized natural stone and hinoki wood bath. Submerge and relax, listen to the trickling water and take in the panoramic floor-to-ceiling forest and valley views. Besides skin care and cleansing, the healing waters are good for relieving fatigue, muscle pain, body stiffness and more. After, dry off and climb into a pair of ultra-soft Yogan Lehl Babaguri pyjamas made of hand-spun mill cotton.