My partner and I were looking for a place in Asia to take our honeymoon. We considered multiple places – Fiji, Phillipines, other various small islands in the South Pacific. We ultimately settled on somewhere in Okinawa due to ease of travel (we were already in Japan) but didn't want to stay on the main Okinawan island.
We found the Yaeyama Islands, Japan's southernmost and westernmost islands, which are actually much closer to Taiwan than mainland Japan. The Yaeyama's largest island, Ishigaki, has an airport and daily flights from Osaka, where we were just previous.
Hoshinoya is a luxury chain of hotels and resorts created by popular Japanese hotelier company, Hoshino, and their property on one of Japan's oldest and historically preserved places, Taketomi island, seemed perfect for a week away together.
It's important to emphasize that Hoshino has stayed true to the continuity and overall pervasiveness of Taketomi's history and centuries-old image throughout the property. I'm sure the opening of the property was conditional on keeping the culture and image of Taketomi authentic by the Japanese government, but even so, Hoshino really nailed the balance of authenticity and uniqueness.
The property's grounds are beautiful and a pleasure to walk around and get lost in. Japanese-style pajamas are provided and encouraged to be worn around the premises. Felt slightly culty at first, but overall it was a nice touch.
Each villa is sizeable and has plenty of space for spending an extended amount of time in. Since it was just the two of us we had the double villa, which had plenty of space for a week.
The bedroom was great, and very Japanese with tatami flooring and a "futon" bed. I use quotes around "futon" because it is more comfortable than most beds I've slept on, let alone futons – and it's huge, it felt like 2 queens joined together.
The in-room meal service was phenomenal – an employee not only delivers your food, but sets up your table with real silverware, condiments, and anything else you may need. Then when you're done, you simply call the front desk and they send someone over to pack it up and clean and wipe down your table.
While the multicourse French dining at the restaurant was good, the room service was almost as good at a fraction of the price. We ate the curry (pictured above) almost every night.
Throughout the resort's grounds, you'll find elevated paths to get around, weaving in between the area's natural landscape. There isn't a single part of the property that doesn't feel authentic to the island and Ryukyu culture. Hoshino did an amazing job merging the properly seamlessly into what has already existed for centuries.
Despite Hoshinoya not being located in a central part of the island, Hoshinoya's bus service made getting just about anywhere most times of the day incredibly simple. Buses are on a predetermined schedule to various stops on the island until around 5 P.M., and after that can be scheduled and reserved if you want to venture out a little later. Incredibly important and crucial amenity, as no outside traffic other than official Hoshinoya buses or vehicles are allowed in or out of the Hoshinoya property.
The beaches were fantastic, particularly Kondoi Beach on Taketomi Island's westside. My wife and I both agreed that this was probably the best beach we'd ever been to. The sand was nice, and the water was incredibly warm and shallow. You could walk out waist-deep for 100+ feet out to a sandbar.
More on our time in Taketomi Island coming soon...
Hoshinoya Taketomi was simply one of the best resort/hotel experiences we've ever had. The hospitality was nothing short of amazing, the food was some of the best we had in Japan, and the island itself is perfect for a multi-day getaway.
If you're looking for the perfect balance of do-nothing while still getting a culturally authentic