Setouchi, Japan


A cross between a ryokan – a type of traditional Japanese guest house – and a yacht, this 38-guest luxury floating hotel is the perfect place to cruise around Japan’s Seto Inland Sea and is so smooth that you’ll forget you’re on a boat.

Key Features

  • 19 cabins designed by Japanese award-winning architect, Yasushi Horibe, each with a private terrace and indoor bath
  • There are 7-10 sailing routes visiting local islands and offering a variety of activities, announced after boarding depending on the course
  • Two saunas and communal baths
  • Five cabins with open-air cypress baths
  • Two restaurants serving everything from Japanese to Western, including a six-seat sushi bar


Guntû is the perfect blend between natural, minimalist style and Japanese ryokan, with 266 feet of bare wood and endless views of the Seto Inland Sea. Rather than describe itself as a boat, it prefers ‘floating hotel’, with just 19 wood-panelled cabins that all feel seriously inviting. Choose the guntû Suite with its deep soaking tub and wraparound views from the sprawling window in front of the bed, or the Grand Suite for more outdoor space. But, whichever suite you pick, you can be sure of breathtaking views from every angle.


The motto here is ‘what you want, and as much as you want’, so come to meals hungry. With five different spots to eat and drink, including a main dining room and sushi bar for meals, chefs are able to satisfy any craving with dishes ranging from Japanese to Japanese takes on western cuisine. Sushi unsurprisingly is the star of the menu, supervised by Nobuo Sakamoto of Awajishima’s Nobu restaurant fame. Elsewhere, enjoy fresh seafood and the catch of the day, Wagyu beef, and seasonal specialities of Setouchi.


During your stay, unwind in the spa which boasts indoor baths as well as two saunas. Treatments include Japanese-style nentai massages (deep-tissue), or work up a sweat in the fully furnished gym. Or, opt for the guntû suite or one of the grand suites which come with outdoor hinoki (cypress) baths and day beds to enjoy the sun and breeze.


Once on board, the off-ship activities are announced and guests can choose whether they would like to enjoy activities such as visits to local islands, or stay on board for spa massages, participate in a traditional tea ceremony or enjoy the Engawa terraces as you peacefully watch the shifting scenery of the Seto Inland Sea with Japanese sake and seasonal sweets in hand.

Why we love it

This is such a unique region in Japan with a rich, storied history, and there’s no better way to explore it. From relaxing in guntû’s spa or meditatively watching the water from the Engawa, enjoying delicious sushi and seasonal specialities of Setouchi, and getting to the heart of the local cultures visiting the islands, guntû is the perfect backdrop for exploration.

Image © guntû

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