SHIROIYA GETAWAY RECOMMENDED ITINERARY
Enjoy an inspiring and refreshing break, exploring art, culture, cuisine, and breathtaking scenery over 3 days and 2 nights
【 DAY 1 】
Spend a few nights at SHIROIYA HOTEL to unwind and experience the hotel’s exquisite cuisine, unique activities, and warm service. The hotel is an urban architectural masterpiece at the cultural nexus of Maebashi, a former silk textile city that is experiencing an exciting rebirth. After hundreds of years serving as a retreat for artists, writers, and cultural figures, the story was reborn in 2020 with a bold concept by renowned architect Sou Fujimoto. In its design and comprehensive art collection, the hotel is both a symbol of Maebashi’s revitalization and a civilized escape from the mundane world.
Your experience of the hotel’s art collection begins as soon as you see the striking, site-specific work by American conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner on the front facade. Encounter more art as you approach the reception desk, which sits in front of a powerful artwork by Hiroshi Sugimoto. The friendly staff will help you check in from 3 p.m.
Take a free 30-minute tour of the hotel art collection with a staff member (English-speaking staff may not be available), or enjoy a self-guided tour with our English audio guide. Learn about local and international artists and their featured artworks, from Leandro Erlich’s bold Lighting Pipes to Liam Gillick’s Inverted Discussion, and Unity Channelled, on the exterior wall.
Kimono & Tea Ceremony Experience
Discover the heritage of the hotel and Maebashi’s history as a center of Japan’s silk industry, by booking a tea ceremony and kimono experience, for a fee. An English-speaking instructor will teach you how to wear a kimono or yukata (a lighter, cotton kimono for summer).
Then, you will be guided through a private tea ceremony in the hotel’s tea room, which dates back to the old Hotel Shiroiya. Take the opportunity to rest and focus your mind, as the tea’s delicate bitterness sharpens your appetite for the evening ahead.
After enjoying the many photogenic angles of the hotel and surroundings to capture your kimono photos, you can return to your room to relax and refresh before dinner.
Dinner at “the RESTAURANT” is a true feast for the senses. Sit around the open kitchen of this innovative dining venue that is listed in the Gault et Millau guidebook, and prepare for a journey through the culinary heritage of Gunma, by way of France. Chef Hiro Katayama and his team use the best locally sourced produce to create ingenious dishes that taste as good as they look. Don’t miss the drink pairing—with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options—by Sommelier Yoshimitsu Kojima. In addition to pairing international and local wine and sake, Kojima infuses teas, herbs, and fruit juices that subtly enhance the dishes. The restaurant is supervised by Hiroyasu Kawate, the acclaimed owner-chef of the Michelin-starred ‘Florilege’ in Tokyo.
Time for a nightcap? Before heading back to your room, visit “the BAR MATCHA-TEI,” an exclusive weekend hideaway with just six seats. Watch bartender Tsuyoshi Kimura weave his magic as he makes exquisite cocktails and serves up treasures from his collection of fine and rare whiskeys. The bar itself was designed by artist Hiroshi Sugimoto and architect Tomoyuki Sakakida as a sleek, adult space, using the finest materials and craftsmanship.
Leandro Erlich's Lighting Pipes
Although your very comfortable bed is now calling you, you won’t regret taking a stroll through the atrium for a closer look at Leandro Erlich’s Lighting Pipes installation. Viewing the artwork as it changes color in the late evening is an exclusive privilege for hotel guests.
Enjoy the comfort of your room, where each detail has been carefully chosen to enhance your stay, from one-off artworks to locally sourced amenities.
【 DAY 2 】
Up bright and early, enjoy a healthy breakfast in “the LOUNGE” to fuel up for a day exploring Gunma’s natural beauty. The one-plate breakfast, “Gunma no Asagohan” (Gunma’s Breakfast), features delicious produce from local farms and providores. Choose freshly baked bread from our on-site bakery, or local rice and miso soup to round out your meal, as you enjoy the lush greenery and soft light of the atrium.
Ready for an adventure? Embark on a private canoeing tour of Lake Shima, renowned for its cobalt waters, dubbed “Shima Blue.” Transport from the hotel is provided, so that you can relax and enjoy the surrounding beauty of Gunma’s famous mountains, lakes, and hot springs. Glide across the cool blue water, shaded by trees, with nothing to distract you but a soft breeze and the gentle dip of the paddles. Finish with a soothing soak at one of Shima Onsen’s famous hot springs and lunch at a local restaurant. Our private activity tours can be tailored to suit you, and all the necessary gear and equipment are provided.
Rinkokaku (State Guest House) Visit
On the way back to the hotel, make a stop to visit the gracious Rinkokaku State Guest House in Maebashi. The main building was constructed in the late nineteenth century and has hosted members of the Japanese Imperial Family. The classical gardens are popular for their spring cherry blossoms and vibrant autumn leaves.
Before dinner, you can explore the features of your room. Scan the QR code in the room to learn more about the unique artworks and artist. Relax and enjoy specially selected beverages and play the local card game, “Jomo Karuta,” which is similar to snap.
If you take a stroll around the hotel, you’ll find fascinating details and plenty of photo spots. You can also delve into the hotel’s art collection with the English audio guide.
Have a casual French bistro dinner in “the LOUNGE,” surrounded by lush greenery and artworks, and experience the splendid atrium traversed by Sou Fujimoto’s artful staircases and bridges, and highlighted by Leandro Erlich’s installation above. Toast another beautiful day with a glass of natural wine, or other beverage.
Night Tour＜Donryu-Yokocho Alley>
The night is still young, and Maebashi’s charming retro alleys are waiting to be explored! Stroll along the Showa-era shopping streets past nostalgic neon signage, and head for Donryu-Yokocho Alley. Small bars and eateries line the alley, illuminated by paper lanterns. It’s a great place to meet local people and enjoy authentic hospitality.
【 DAY 3 】
Ease into the new day with a private Finnish sauna, going back and forth between the beautifully minimalist sauna room and the bracing cold water bath. Just outside the sauna, you can relax on lounge chairs overlooking the downtown area with Mt. Akagi in the distance. Finnish sauna users can visit the small white shed up the hill from the sauna. Inside, you will find an otherworldly meditation room featuring LED installations by artist Tatsuo Miyajima.
After a leisurely breakfast at “the LOUNGE,” it’s almost time to leave. Check-out time is 11 a.m. but you can level your luggage at the reception while you explore the local area. Within a few minutes walk you’ll find a wealth of art venues and beautiful scenery.
Arts Maebashi is a municipal museum with a focus on community engagement. Explore regular exhibitions, a gallery shop with local crafts, and an airy cafe.
Maebashi Galleria opened in 2023 as a complex fusing Japan’s top contemporary art galleries with residences and a French restaurant. Architect Akihisa Hirata designed the complex with glass walls, to make art visible and accessible to everyone.
One of the most beautiful parts of downtown Maebashi is the Hirose River, lined with willow and cherry blossom trees. Stroll along the river, listen to the water, and enjoy the soft breeze.
Taro Okamoto Bell of the Sun
The Bell of the Sun
“Taiyo no Kane,” The Bell of the Sun, by artist Taro Okamoto, is installed in a special landscape designed by architect Sou Fujimoto. The bell is struck with a long hammer, which requires a number of people to ring the bell together, encouraging cooperation.
Ankomon Sweet Shop
Ankomon Sweet Shop
One of the features of Maebashi’s downtown is its nostalgic shopping arcades. Young entrepreneurs, artisans, and community groups are opening small businesses in the area, bringing new life to the retro streets. Ankomon sells authentic bean-paste sweets in a chic modern store. You can buy some delicious sweets and sit outside, to enjoy the atmosphere.
Shopping and Strolling
Enjoy strolling downtown Maebashi, shopping, chatting with locals, and trying local dishes. There are about nine small shopping districts, each with its own character. You’ll find traditional shops full of vintage charm next to cool little galleries and coffee stands, small restaurants that have served the community for generations, and modern spaces designed by famous architects. Red bricks were used in many new developments, reminiscent of the brick warehouses of Maebashi’s past as a prosperous center for the silk industry.
Further Afield: Hara Museum ARC
From Maebashi, you can easily get back to Tokyo by train, or explore more of Gunma. If you have a passion for art and design, don’t miss Hara Museum ARC. One of the pioneers of contemporary art museums in Japan, Hara Museum ARC is only 40 minutes away by car.
The modern museum designed by Arata Isozaki features works by Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, and Yoshitomo Nara, amongst verdant hills and mountain views.
We can organize a variety of bespoke activities upon your request. Please contact us for further arrangements.