Posts tagged with "travelers"

Children traveling illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Luxury Travel Safety Study

MEDJET AND WORTH MEDIA RELEASE RESULTS OF LUXURY TRAVEL SAFETY STUDY

Poll Reveals “Massive Misconceptions Among Business and Leisure Travelers of All Ages as to: If, When and How They’re Protected.”

A new study from Medjet, the industry leader in air medical transport and travel security memberships for travelers, and WORTH Media, a leading financial, wealth management and lifestyle media company, finds that a major segment of today’s luxury travel market – both business and leisure – continues to be ill-informed about travel insurance, medical evacuation and personal protection.

The most recent Medjet/WORTH Media poll, which builds on a study originally conducted pre-COVID-19 in fall 2019, was completed in early 2021 to more accurately gauge travelers’ sentiments after such a tumultuous year for the global travel industry. Both times, the results illustrated a significant lack of awareness in regard to travel insurance and medical evacuation coverage, even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new poll results show that very few travelers plan on sitting this year out; when asked when they would feel ready to travel again, travelers’ responses were as follows:

  • 17.5% are already traveling
  • 15.83% plan on traveling within the next three months
  • 54.17% plan on traveling between 4-12 months from now
  • 12.5% plan on traveling 1+ year from now/are not sure

“The results of both polls are very much in line with what we’ve found in our own anecdotal research and decades of experience as leaders in the field of air medical transport and crisis response,” says Mike Hallman, President & CEO of Medjet, “that there are massive misconceptions among business and leisure travelers of all ages as to: If, when and how they are protected.”

In 2020, 85% of respondents felt they knew about the “same or less” about medevac coverage due to the pandemic. 64% of travelers felt they should know more.

The fall 2019 poll results, even without the threat of COVID-19, showed overwhelmingly that illness was a top traveler concern, and if hospitalized overseas, people would prefer to get home to their own hospital for treatment and recovery. Therefore, continuing to educate people as to the where travel insurance’s medevac coverage leaves off, and transport memberships like Medjet pick up, remain important. 


Both studies targeted professionals across the country whose household’s net worth was valued at $1,000,000 and above. The original Medjet/WORTH poll assessed travelers’ understanding of their health, travel or business insurance coverages, and credit card travel program benefits, finding that nearly two-thirds of respondents who reported being “concerned about their health while traveling” were unaware of the inclusions (and perhaps more importantly exclusions) in their plans or benefits packages. Some of the study’s major findings include:

  • Only 35% of travelers who reported being concerned about their health and well-being while traveling were aware that their health, travel or business insurance, or credit card travel benefits, could ONLY get them to the “nearest acceptable facility.” 65% mistakenly believed their coverage would automatically get them all the way to a hospital at home, or were not sure.
  • While illness and injury were top concerns for travelers, only 34% of business travelers concerned about their health had ever looked into the conditions of their company’s travel and medical evacuation policies.
  • Of those with corporate coverage, one in three respondents (33%) expected that, one way or another, their company would get them home if they became ill or were hospitalized while traveling. “For many companies, that means footing a $30,000 – $180,000 out-of-pocket bill, or potentially falling short on employee ‘duty of care’ expectations,” noted Hallman, “which can present a significant financial and legal risk to an organization.”
  • Of those who reported being self-employed and traveling for business frequently, 77% reported never purchasing travel insurance.
  • Younger respondents proved even less knowledgeable about what their health and travel insurance, or credit card travel benefits would do for them if they needed a medical evacuation; 86% believed it would transport them back to their hospital at home or were unsure.

“The greatest misconception among high-net-worth travelers is that, in the unforeseen event they were to end up hospitalized while out of town – be it in Peoria or Paraguay – they believe their basic travel coverage through a company plan, travel insurance or credit card would get them home,” said Hallman. “More often than not, that is not the case, which is why we see so many stories in the news about travelers stuck abroad, and why so many individuals, families, corporations and organizations (like the NFL) enroll in our membership program.”

“On the bright side,” said Hallman, “we found that 86% of business travelers were interested in purchasing additional medical evacuation coverage that got them all the way home, and 68% of business travelers were interested in purchasing travel security coverage in addition to the coverage offered by their company. So, it looks like there’s plenty of continued growth to look forward to here at Medjet!”

For more information about Medjet, please visit the Medjet website.

Bike Ride illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Bike4Tourism × Cycle the World

Bike4Tourism Invites Would-Be Travelers to Cycle the World, Virtually

Seeking a Global Community to Bike Together While Apart and Share Images of Each Other’s Routes

Missing international travel?   Wishing you could host some out-of-town friends to show them your most beautiful locations? Then Bike4Tourism has an inspiring global event tailor-made for you this Memorial Day weekend, on Sunday, May 30th.

Bike4Tourism aims to promote healthy living and sustainable tourism. The goal of the event is to have as many participants as possible, in every country, riding bikes and sharing photographs to the global community of the most beautiful places near their homes.

In sharing each other’s images, cyclists will virtually visit cities, countries and continents, without need for a passport — just a helmet and the will to discover or rediscover the places that surround us and show them to others.

Organizers are hoping for more than 115,000 participants around the world to break the current record.  Proceeds will support environmental conservation charities and aid tourism businesses in financial need following Covid-19 travel restrictions.

It’s hoped that participants are left with even more desire to travel, sustainably, with a huge selection of photos of beautiful places from which to choose their next journey.

All are welcome to participate, and free tickets will be made available for children to encourage family bike rides.   Early bird tickets are available from April 20th.  For more information, visit Bike 4 Tourism, and Facebook.

Beyond Green illustration by Heather Skovlund (original photo provided by Beyond Green) for 360 Magazine

Introducing Beyond Green

INTRODUCING BEYOND GREEN: A PURPOSE-DRIVEN HOSPITALITY BRAND DEDICATED TO HELPING GLOBAL CITIZENS MAKE TRAVEL A FORCE FOR GOOD

Forward-Thinking Hotel Network Debuts Booking and Storytelling Platforms That Invite Travelers to Explore How to Travel Gently and Travel Well

Committed to building a better and brighter future for people and the planet, Beyond Green officially launches today as a curated guide for travelers seeking a more purposeful way to explore the world, featuring a global portfolio of 27 hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability in action. Debuting at the onset of a new era of travel in which protecting nature, benefitting local communities, and celebrating cultural diversity has taken center stage, this forward-thinking brandinvites travelers to discover, plan, and enjoy adventures that align with their sustainable travel values and aspirations through a variety of intuitive tools and experiences. These include a new brand website; dedicated storytelling via its @StayBeyondGreen social media accounts; exclusive benefits through I Prefer Hotel Rewards; and a celebratory, limited-time Journeyer’s Pick Package. 

“At the heart of Beyond Green is a belief that to travel gently and with purpose is to travel well. More than ever, each of our individual travel choices make a difference, and, together with our outstanding member properties, we designed Beyond Green to make it easier for travelers to enjoy incredible luxury vacations that also support significant social and environmental change for the future,” said Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of both Beyond Green and its parent company, Preferred Hotel Group. “The world has shown an unwavering need to Believe in Travel, and this is our defining moment to inspire a kinder and gentler way to explore the planet together, where good guests meet good hosts.”

“The question is no longer whether we can transform travel based upon sustainable tourism principles and practices to be a powerful force for saving nature, regenerating ecosystems, and providing tangible social and economic benefits to local people, while also celebrating cultural diversity and inclusiveness around the world. This is now happening, as also represented by Beyond Green members. Rather, the most important question is how travelers help can make sustainability the new normal around the world while also having a great vacation. The answer is when we travel the sustainable way – the Beyond Green way – we can have a positive impact right now on the places we visit,” said Costas Christ, Brand Leader of Beyond Green and President of Beyond Green Travel, also an entity of Preferred Hotel Group.

Digital-First Resources for Inspiration and Information

Experiential travelers looking for a more meaningful way to explore the world can now visit Beyond Green’s website for thoughtful, essential resources and tools to book truly sustainable luxury getaways, from Belize to Bora Bora. The new website features highly curated visual content of each member property and the experiences they offer, along with vivid stories about the world of sustainable travel through its Good Stories blog, where novel content, tips and advice will be added on a continuous basis. The brand also invites travelers to engage in daily dialogues about sustainable tourism, inspiring travel experiences, and best practices for being informed  global citizens on social media by following its newly launched FacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn channels and #StayBeyondGreen and #TravelGently online conversations.

I Prefer Hotel Rewards Member Benefits

As part of the Preferred Hotel Group family of brands, Beyond Green invites travelers to enroll in I Prefer to access meaningful rewards at more than 650 participating properties worldwide. In addition to receiving standard, I Prefer benefits such as points for every eligible stay and early check-in and late check-out privileges, I Prefer members who book stays at participating Beyond Green hotels, resorts, and lodges receive access to exclusive bonus points-earning opportunities that are tied to participation in on-property enrichment activities representative of the three pillars of sustainable tourism. Varying from property to property, these experiences range from an Ecology Tour in San Juan Capistrano at The Ranch at Laguna Beach in California to a specialized lecture on the Gobi Desert at Three Camel Lodge in Mongolia. I Prefer members with Elite-tier status will also receive a welcome amenity or community giving opportunity, in addition to earning 50 percent more bonus points during every eligible stay.

Celebratory Launch Offer

Whether seeking to stay within their own country or satisfy the pent-up desire to dust off their passport and go somewhere new, Beyond Green encourages travelers to seize the moment by taking advantage of a limited-time only Journeyer’s Pick Package, available at 15 participating properties for bookings made by September 30, 2021 for travel through December 31, 2021. Featuring the best available rate plus a unique local experience or meaningful memento exclusively available through this special offer, as well as 5,000 I Prefer bonus points, the Journeyer’s Pick Package include highlights such as, but not limited to:   

  • Private 1.5-hour Shinrin Yoku Forest Therapy session at andBeyond Vira Vira
  • Traditional sunset Dhow Cruise with snacks and drinks at andBeyond Mnemba Island
  • Guided walking tour of the Monastery of Panagia Spileotissa at Aristi Mountain Resort & Villas
  • Body scrub wellness experience using organic ingredients at Borgo Pignano
  • Polynesian outrigger experience at the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Where Good Hosts Meet Good Guests: The Beyond Green Portfolio

With plans for steady, thoughtful growth, Beyond Green celebrates its official launch in collaboration with 27 inspiring member properties that each take a unique and genuine approach to hospitality while representing sustainable tourism leadership through actionable, measurable efforts:

  • Americas – andBeyond Vira Vira (Pucón, Chile); Arenas Del Mar Beach Front and Rainforest Resort (Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica), Bentwood Inn (Jackson Hole, Wyoming, USA); Blancaneaux Lodge (Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize); Carneros Resort and Spa (Napa Valley, California, USA), Cavallo Point (Sausalito, California, USA); Islas Secas (Gulf of Chiriquí, Panama); Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, California, USA); Ted Turner Reserves Vermejo (Raton, New Mexico, USA); The Ranch at Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach, California, USA); Turtle Inn (Placencia, Belize)
  • Europe – Aristi Mountain Resort (Zagori, Greece); Ashford Castle (Co. Mayo, Ireland); Borgo Pignano (Tuscany, Italy)
  • Africa – andBeyond Bateleur Camp (Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya); andBeyond Mnemba Island (Zanzibar, Tanzania); andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge (Namib Desert, Namibia); Bushmans Kloof (Western Cape, South Africa); Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge (Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda); Wilderness Safaris DumaTau Camp (Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana); Wilderness Safaris Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp (Kaokoveld, Namibia); Wilderness Safaris Linkwasha Camp (Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe); Wilderness Safaris Mombo Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana); Xigera Safari Lodge (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
  • Asia – InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa (Bora Bora, French Polynesia); The Brando (Tetiaroa, French Polynesia); Three Camel Lodge (Gobi, Mongolia)

Travelers are invited to access more information on Beyond Green, its three key pillars of sustainable tourism, and its member properties, and book authentic, luxury travel experiences around the world by visiting Beyond Green.

About Beyond Green

Guided by a passion to embrace travel as a force for good, Beyond Green is a global portfolio of hotels, resorts, and lodges that exemplify sustainability leadership. To create a more purposeful way to explore the world where good guests meet good hosts, Beyond Green has curated a unique portfolio of properties based on their commitment to deliver on the three pillars of sustainable tourism: environmentally friendly practices that go beyond the basics; protection of natural and cultural heritage; and contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of local communities. To be considered for membership in Beyond Green, a property is vetted according to more than 50 sustainability indicators that align with global sustainable tourism standards and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Owned and operated by Preferred Hotel Group – the family-owned company that manages and operates other hospitality brands including Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Historic Hotels of America, and Historic Hotels Worldwide – Beyond Green ushers in a new way to experience genuine hospitality by the people for the planet. For more information, visit Beyond Green.

About Preferred Hotel Group

Owned and operated by the Ueberroth Family, Preferred Hotel Group is the parent company of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Beyond Green, Historic Hotels of America, Historic Hotels Worldwide, PHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel, representing more than 1,100 hotels, resorts, and residences across 80 countries, in addition to a global portfolio of destinations such as Suzhou, China; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Uganda. With more than 200 seasoned travel professionals situated across 20 countries, the company connects independent hotels, hospitality companies, destinations, and tourism bureaus to key markets worldwide through a variety of strategic branding, sales, integrated marketing, revenue management, and comprehensive distribution services, along with other consultancy services. Fueled by its brand promise, Believe in Travel, the company champions an unwavering belief in the transformative power of travel and its ability to enrich people’s lives and create greater tolerance. For more information on Preferred Hotel Group’s entities, please visit Preferred HotelsBeyond GreenHistoric HotelsPHG Consulting, and Beyond Green Travel.

The Brando
The Brando – photo credit: Beyond Green
Cheetah illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Royal Portfolio × South Africa

WITH SOUTH AFRICA REOPENED,
THE ROYAL PORTFOLIO LAYS OUT RED CARPET FOR AMERICAN VISITORS

Now that South Africa has reopened to American travelers, The Royal Portfolio is once more welcoming transatlantic guests. “We’re absolutely thrilled to see Americans again,” says The Royal Portfolio’s founder and visionary, Liz Biden.

In order to enter South Africa (and several other destinations), Americans now only need proof of a negative Covid-PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. “And when it’s time to go home again, we are arranging effortless in-room Covid-testing for re-entry into the United States,” Biden added. Visitors to South Africa benefit from an extremely favorable exchange rate against the dollar, as well as comfortingly rigorous health protocols at the country’s wealth of hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions. 

The Royal Portfolio is a collection of award-winning private hotels and lodges in iconic South African destinations. The Royal Portfolio comprises: 

  • Royal Malewane in the Greater Kruger National Park, with its exquisite Main Lodge, the more intimate Farmstead and the finest interpretive guiding team in Africa.
  • Birkenhead House, perched on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at Hermanus, an ideal spot for relaxing and for whale watching. 
  • La Residence in the wine country of Franschhoek, consistently voted “best in Africa” by the readers of America’s leading travel magazines.
  • The Silo Hotel on Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront: the magnificent top floors of a grain silo that was the tallest building in Africa when it opened in 1924; the building was recently converted by London’s megastar architect, Thomas Heatherwick, into its dual purpose as the Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) as well as The Silo Hotel.

“Our team has created a 10-night Royal Itinerary which includes a stay at each of our four properties, offering the perfect circuit for discovering the wildlife, glamour, cuisine, wines and sophistication of today’s South Africa,” says Biden, “enabling us to look after our guests from the moment they land in South Africa until the moment they leave. South Africa has one of the world’s most advanced private health systems,” Biden stressed, “and with the roll-out of vaccines, low infection rates, and easy access to testing, life is speedily returning to normal.”


For more information, please visit The Royal Portfolio.

World Art Day illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

World Art Day Travels

In honor of World Art Day on April 15, 2021, here are some of the best destinations and hotels for curated art experiences from around the world. Whether it be an outdoor mural scene, a hotel’s private art collection, an artist-in-residence program, or new exhibits scattered throughout a country, there are many ways to celebrate World Art Day! And while safe travel may not be possible yet for everyone, virtual experiences are a great way to show appreciation and support. 

DOMESTIC

Hamilton Princess & Beach Club – Hamilton, Bermuda

Known as “The Pink Palace” from its iconic pastel exterior since 1885, it’s the interior of Hamilton Princess that is inside the hotel that makes it fit for royalty. A little-known secret is that the property is home to one of the most comprehensive contemporary art collections in the world. The vast and ever-evolving collection has an estimated multi-million dollar value. There really is no other resort where you can see an 18 ft tall KAWS sculpture or an original Banksy up close. Hamilton Princess has created the Escape Artist Package which includes a private tour of the contemporary art collection including pieces by Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, Banksy, KAWS, Julian Opie, Yayoi Kusama, and Ai Wei Wei ,  complimentary passes to the island’s art museums with private tours upon request, complimentary Twizy electric car rental to get to and from the museums, and an assortment of art-inspired amenities and gifts, including a limited edition Mari Andrew print. 

St. Pete/Clearwater

Quickly becoming a museum mecca with 30+ museums in the destination, downtown St. Pete also boasts over 500 outdoor murals created by local and international artists throughout the hip Central Arts District. The newest additions are showcased during the annual mural festival SHINE St. Pete and can be experienced with a guided walking tour. This alfresco art experience has also been modified for COVID-19 safety as travelers can now discover them independently with this comprehensive, ever-growing list and through the app, PixelStix. And not to be forgotten, the most popular museum in the destination, The Dalí Museum, will continue to host the immersive Van Gogh Alive exhibit through June 13, 2021. The exhibition features more than 3,000 Van Gogh images at an enormous scale, viewed through high-definition projectors and synchronized to a powerful classical score. Advanced-purchase, timed-tickets are required to visit. 

Providence, Rhode Island

Known as Rhode Island’s creative capital, Providence is one of the country’s most diverse and vibrant cities for the arts, due in large part as the home to The Rhode Island of School of Design (RISD) which cultivates a creative community. Providence’s artistic offerings are best experienced on foot via Avenue Concept, Rhode Island’s first privately funded public art program. They offer two self-guided tours offering comprehensive stops with dozens of murals and sculptures to visit in Downtown and South Side/West End. As of August, a new latinx-led public art banner project honoring the healthcare workers who have helped manage the COVID-19 crisis has launched throughout the city. 

New Orleans – The National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum’s newest special exhibit “SOLDIER | ARTIST: Trench Art in World War II” explores the unique military pastime of creating art, souvenirs and tools out of the discarded materials and waste of war. Featuring more than 150 artifacts, many of which have never been exhibited, the collection also includes a background on the creators, providing a rare glimpse into the circumstances of war and the ingenuity and resourcefulness of servicemembers in the field. Such items range from souvenirs, such as ashtrays and jewelry made by servicemembers for their loved ones at home, to forbidden items like radios and musical instruments made by prisoners of war. The exhibition will be open to the public through January 2, 2022.

Daxton Hotel (Birmingham, MI) 

Opening in April 2021, Daxton Hotel features a monochromatic palette in rich, saturated color to showcase avant-garde lighting and furniture in bold shapes. This backdrop is juxtaposed with an art collection of over 400 pieces curated from across the world by Saatchi Art. The thoughtful collection is inspired by the street art found throughout the city of nearby Detroit and reflects the movement and energy of Motor City’s local scene. In addition to the distinctive art originating from across the world including Peru, Macedonia and South Korea, each guestroom is outfitted with a custom headboard backdrop from local floral muralist, Ouizi. Art in public spaces includes the restaurant Madam’s large-scale painting series of 12’ portraits in a feminine, a suspended wire installation in the conference room encouraging dialogue, a full-sized mechanical horse and 9’ pink metallic bunny. Art tours for the building are offered the first Friday of the month, providing the opportunity to engage and experience some of the Daxton Hotel’s significant works. 

The MC Hotel – Montclair, NJ

Located just 45 minutes outside of NYC, the 159 room MC Hotel is at the intersection of culture and community in the heart of Montclair’s thriving artistic community. With art curated from established and up-and-coming artists in every room, the hotel is part art gallery, part meeting place. Currently on display are pieces from painters Ryan Chin and Siona Benjamin-Kruge as well as mixed-media artist Basia Goszczynska to name a few. At guest check-in, travelers will be met by a sculpture of a flower from Karen Kimmel that stretches across two walls. The sculpture features textiles that were meticulously hand-punched then painted onsite. On the lobby wall of the bar, guests will see a sculpture from Goszczynska which is made from salvaged oyster farming bags, marine rope and steel wire. He also continues this unique interpretation of upcycling to shelves of the bar which displays Rainbow Collections, a piece featuring crowdsourced microplastics and salvaged baby food jars.

Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – Atlantic City, NJ

Within a two-hour drive of New York and an hour drive of Philadelphia, head toward the Las Vegas of the East Coast known for its bustling boardwalk, glitzy high-rise resorts, five-star restaurants, four-mile-long boardwalk, and six-mile-long beach. In search of an indulgent escape, this fast-paced resort is an art lover’s dream. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa features numerous extravagant glass sculptures that seem to drip effortlessly from the ceiling and rise majestically from the resort’s floor. Those colorful works of art are none other than world-famous Chihuly glass, created by master craftsman Dale Chihuly, and some of our guests come to our resort just to take in the signature pieces by the American artist. Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa houses a number of stunning Chihuly pieces across the property, from the main entrance of the casino to the corridor connecting Borgata to The Water Club. Take a look at the gallery of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa’s Chihuly, and the next time you visit, play a game of trying to find all of the signature artwork throughout the resort. As the artist himself one said, “Glass has the ability, more than any other material, to bring joy and a certain happiness to people.” Chihuly, who was born in Washington in 1941, has had countless exhibitions of his work across the globe, from Venice to London to the Netherlands, and blew his own glass until he had a tragic car accident in 1976. Afterwards, due to challenges with his eyesight, Chihuly began serving as a director of a team of artists, who have created hundreds of massive glass installations found in buildings across the globe. 

Fitler Club, Philadelphia, PA

Fitler Club is Philadelphia’s ultimate “work/stay/play” destination, where hotel guests are granted exclusive access to all the club’s amenities for the duration of their stay. The club encompasses 136,000 square feet and includes a world-class gym and spa, a 14-room boutique hotel (The Rooms at Fitler Club), collaborative workspace (Offsite), indoor pool and a movie theater. Art lovers will enjoy the Fitler Club’s Collection, which has works by famous artists featured throughout the property. The collection includes pieces by Damien Hirst, Alex Katz, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Pamela Hanson, Mel Bochner and more. Fitler Club’s Artist In Residence program, bringing the work of Philadelphia artists, acclaimed and up-and-coming, to people’s everyday lives. Fitler Club assembled a vast collection by local artists, within a non-traditional gallery space that is Offsite, Fitler Club’s expansive workspace. Artists include King Saladeen, Eileen Neff, Elizabeth Osborn and more. Each of the artworks are on loan by the artists and every piece is for sale. In addition, those who are unable to visit the gallery in person can still enjoy the collection through an interactive virtual experience on the club’s website, which gives information on each piece located throughout the property. 

California

California is gearing up for a culturally enriching year, as various art happenings are slated to open throughout 2021. Peppered across the state, here are some key art events that visitors may enjoy for a uniquely artistic and local experience, showcasing the history and vibrancy of California:

  • Desert X + Outdoor Art in Greater Palm Springs: The third installment of the internationally acclaimed biennial art exhibition, Desert X, returns in 2021, starting March 12 through May 16. The 2021 artist lineup includes a diverse group of 13 artists ranging from locals like Kim Stringfellow to international representatives like Zahrah Alghamdi. Visitors can explore these new outdoor art installations across the desert region for an exciting socially distant experience. While in the region, be sure to check out the region’s booming art scene by walking or driving through various neighborhoods to check out artworks like the “PS I Love You” Sculpture, permanent pieces created for Coachella Music Festival, like “Etherea” and more. Find additional outdoor art in the Greater Palm Springs area here
  • The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA): The OMCA will unveil its newly refreshed garden and outdoor amphitheater space in spring 2021 as part of its multi-phased campus improvement project. This beautiful renovation will include updated outdoor sculptures, revitalized landscaping with native California plantings, new ADA accessible ramps and a permanent stage for outdoor performances- encompassing the Bay Area’s natural beauty. 
  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art:The Santa Barbara Museum of Art will reveal a new, multi-floor wing in spring 2021 that will be home to new photography and contemporary art galleries, as well as renovated galleries, as part of its multi- year, $50 million renovation. The museum hired Kupiec Architects’ Bob Kupiec, who is known for his projects at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Times Square, Bryant Park and more. 
  • Carmel Mission:To mark Carmel Mission’s upcoming 250th anniversary, the Carmel Mission Foundation is renovating the Mission’s main entrance and restoring a 100-year-old adobe museum that sits adjacent to the renowned Basilica. Additionally, The Harry Downie Museum at Carmel Mission is also planned to open in October 2021, showcasing “the Evolution of Carmel Mission” photography exhibit.
  • San Francisco Music Hall of Fame:Slated for this spring, the halls of the music-themed Music City Hotel will feature a gallery of transcendent local musicians including a curated collection of photographs from Getty Images, The San Francisco Chronicle and numerous local, respected photographers. A dozen local and national music writers were hired to create original one-of-a-kind gallery text that accompanies each photo. Visitors can listen to a playlist of songs by artists featured in the gallery, which includes a guided audio tour with local DJ Mike Waterman.

Texas

The art in Texas is top notch, specifically noting the art of the major cities along with other safe havens for creatives such as Marfa and which have recently gained traction. A few examples of the major cities and more of the unknown include: 

  • San Angelo, an oasis in West Texas off the beaten path, has quickly grown as a Texas art hub, with a lot of the art outdoors and accessible to the community at all times. Highlights like the Chicken Farm Art Center, where local artists are set up in refurbished farm buildings, as well as Paintbrush Alley, where over 50 artists have donated their time to create artwork in the downtown alley, are stand-alone destinations worth checking out when in San Angelo. Lastly, the Pop Art Museum which is also outdoor murals has been positively received by the community, with 31 pieces done by local artists throughout a former bowling alley, including a piece from James Gill who worked directly with Andy Warhol at the forefront of the Pop Art movement. 
  • The diversity and affordability of Houston has created an internationally acclaimed art scene, home to graffiti parks, modern museums and everything in between. Highlights include: 
  • James Turrell’s Skyspace Structure, an interactive installation which will test your perception of light and color. Wednesday through Monday weekly, the “Twilight Epiphany” sequence will take place, changing colors of lights from the built-in LED system. Guests can peer through the roof’s square-shaped aperture and into the darkening sky. Admission is free and seat reservation can be made in advance
  • Sawyer Yards, a creative campus located in Houston’s historic First Ward is set in a working train yard and made its home in a former industrial complex with several rice silos at the complex’s center. On the second Saturday of each month, the warehouses are open to the public allowing for individuals to meet the artists and explore their work, varying from paintings to sculptures to jewelry. 
  • Many people don’t often think of Dallas as an art-centric destination, but the cosmopolitan city is home to the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation. Though to experience art in Dallas one never has to enter a gallery; during a quick trek through any of the city’s walkable neighborhoods murals and iconic sculptures will reveal themselves. Here are a few:
  • Fair Park is home to many well-known works of public art, but the Crystal Chandelier at the Music Hall, by artist William Martin is often cited as a favorite.
  • Dallas City Hall Plaza boasts the large bronze sculpture The Dallas Piece by renowned British sculptor Henry Moore. It was given to the City in 1978 by W.R. Hawn in memory of his wife.
  • Deep Ellum is known for its eye-catching murals. The murals give life to otherwise mundane walls and buildings and reflect the life and times of the residents. As a result, Deep Ellum has evolved into its own exhibition of sorts and visitors have enjoyed exploring and discovering them all. Click here for a look at some of the murals and this map provides directions.

Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort

Set within the secluded island’s 90,000 acres, Sensei Lāna’i, A Four Seasons Resort is a one-of-a-kind wellness retreat, founded by Larry Ellison and Dr. David Agus, with the goal of helping people live longer healthier lives. At the heart of the retreat is the Sensei Way, which distills preventive health science, data and research into three simple paths for everyday living: move, nourish, and rest. These principles go beyond just healthy eating and exercise, encouraging guests to nourish their mind, body and soul, starting with an extensive art collection that inspires a creative spirit and enhances relaxation. With design envisioned by Todd-Avery Lenahan of TAL-Studio, the resort blends a sense of seclusion with wide open spaces surrounded by the forests in the spiritual uplands of Lāna’i. Intentionally placed among expansive garden foliage, the retreat houses a premier outdoor sculpture garden that includes larger-than-life pieces from renowned artists like Botero, Plensa, Lobo and more. As guests venture further, Ju Ming’s “Tai Chi Arch” opens to an onsen garden and Robert Indiana’s iconic “Imperial LOVE” sculpture ignites a sense of joy and rejuvenation. The artwork throughout the hotel was commissioned expressly for the retreat and here, art-loving guests will encounter these pieces for the very first time, stimulating thought and reflection. Other featured artists include David Ellis, Miya Ando, Haure Shimomoto, Sky Pape, Brooks Shane Salzwedel and Lauren Collin.


Rapid City, South Dakota

In the small town of Rapid City, South Dakota, where there’s no shortage of bucket list outdoor art experiences, you’ll find Art Alley,a functioning alley that was transformed into a place for artists to create and share their work with the public. The walls are covered in pieces from local artists, many anonymous, and are constantly changing as new works pop up, providing a new experience every visit. Before this area became known as Art Alley, local artists used to hang canvas artworks on the walls and eventually this evolved into painting murals. It wasn’t until a group of passionate artists and community members worked with city officials to nurture this organic art form into the Art Alley we know today. Other art-centric experiences in Rapid City include the City of Presidents, a collection of life-size bronze sculptures of past presidents placed along the city’s streets and sidewalks, the Dahl Arts Center and more.

Hewing Hotel(Minneapolis, MN)

Since opening its doors in 2016 the 124-room luxury lifestyle hotel has provided an unmistakable all-Minnesotan experience in the bustling North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. The former farm implements showroom and warehouse built in 1897 has been reborn as a cultural center for the community retaining its original brick and timber rustic charm. Immersing guests in Minneapolis, the hotel offers unique experiences with Minnesotan flair such as a monthly music series, Alley KAT! Perkins Pop Up Concert in the adjacent alley with season 6 The Voice semi-finalist Kat Perkins. The visual art of the area is on display through regularly rotating installations of local artists. The current collection includes works from Minneapolis-based artists Roko and Toni Gallo reflecting the beauty and talent within the area. 

INTERNATIONAL

Costa Rica

Mesoamerican, South American and Indigenous influences are reflected in Costa Rica’s rich art history and colorful culture. Visitors can explore Costa Rica’s capital city and cultural hub of San José which is home to some of the country’s most important art museums, consisting of diverse collections of painting, drawing, sculpture, pottery, wood carvings and more. 

  • Museo de Arte Costarricense: The Costa Rican Art Museum offers free admission and boasts a permanent fine arts collection of over 6,000 pieces from Costa Rican artists, spanning almost two centuries. One of the most intriguing displays at the museum is the outdoor sculpture garden, where visitors can see works by renowned Costa Rican artists like Jorge Jiménez Deredia, Edgar and Francisco Zuñiga, José Sancho and Max Jiménez. 
  • Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo: Costa Rica’s Museum of Contemporary Art and Design (MADC) is situated on the site of the country’s old national liquor factory. MADC has four exhibition rooms for rotating and permanent collections of contemporary hispanic art, an auditorium and an open-air terrace for performances and events. There are approximately 900 pieces housed in the museum’s permanent collections. Currently on display at MADC is the “Inferno Tropical” special exhibition, which consists of works by six Latin American women artists from Costa Rica, Cuba, Venezuela, Panama and Brazil. Inferno Tropical is part of a series of exhibitions called “Female Voices of Latin America,” representing the largest mega-exhibition of living Latin American women artists in recent times.

Dominica

Presented by The Waitukubuli Artist Association (WAA) “WhoOosh!! 2” virtual exhibit is the first of its kind in Dominica, showcasing photography, sculptures and paintings created by local artists. The exhibit was filmed using a 360° camera in the abandoned Roseau Anglican Church, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The exhibit is an immersive experience that allows the audience to experience this real place from afar. Just like in a video game, virtual attendees can look around in any direction, interact with objects and people and examine the art up close. The exhibition is themed around the impacts that recent hurricanes have had on the artists’ way of life, interpreting their very own experience of resilience in various artistic forms. To attend, head to kubuliarts.com.

Victoria, Australia

With its brightly-colored bustling laneways, world-class theater district and inspiring art and cultural museums, Melbourne is a city fit to fulfill any art-lovers dreams. The city’s laneways are works of art in themselves while also leading inquisitive city strollers into quirky bars, old-school restaurants and hipster eateries, and hidden art galleries where there’s even more art to absorb. Those looking for a grander stage can find jaw-dropping performances in Melbourne’s theater and musical stages like the Princess Theater and Her Majesty’s Theatre in the East End Theatre District, or the inventive Malthouse Theatre. Melbourne’s art museums span the gamut – from Aboriginal art at the Birrarung Gallery or Ian Potter Centre, to modern and contemporary art at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art or National Gallery of Victoria. When it comes to art – whether it be public, modern, Aborginal or performance – there’s always something inspiring to view in Melbourne, Australia.

Argentina

Known as South America’s capital of culture, Buenos Aires, Argentina, was appointed as UNESCO’s first City of Design with the opening of the Metropolitan Design Center.  Not only that, but the city was also the birthplace of Tango, which first originated in Buenos Aires dance halls in the 1880s. Now, travelers can witness world-class tango each year during the city’s International Tango Festival and World Cup. In 2013, Argentinian artist Alfredo Segatori painted what was then the longest mural in the world, located in Barracas. And, finally, if you didn’t need more artistic inspiration to visit this lively city, Buenos Aires also hosts the world’s most important collections of Latin American art. The Museum of Latin American Art is home to the Fundación Costantini art collection which consists of 400+ masterpieces including paintings, sculptures, photography, and engravings by famous 20-century Latin American artists. 

Cherry Blossom illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Cherry Blossoms Celebrated

FROM HUMAN CHESS TO PADDLEBOARDING:
UNIQUE WAYS CHERRY BLOSSOMS ARE CELEBRATED THROUGHOUT JAPAN

With the much-anticipated arrival of their delicate pink flowers, the cherry trees blossoming in Japan is a yearly spectacle. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, cherry blossoms in Tokyo are expected to bloom on March 15th this year. Associated with renewal and the coming spring, the cherry blossoms (or sakura) spur a variety of unique celebrations and experiences throughout the country, with many cities and towns forming their own yearly traditions and unique ways to see the cherry blossoms.

Cruise the Matsukawa River, Toyama Prefecture

Travelers can enjoy hanami (the custom of flower viewing in Japan) as well as the beautiful landscapes of Toyama Prefecture on a special cruise along the Matsukawa River. During cherry blossom season, cruises on the river drift along with the relaxing current and make their way through tunnels of cherry blossom trees. Cruises begin and end outside of the Matsukawa Tea House, so travelers can enjoy a nice cup of tea after a peaceful afternoon of hanami.

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride Through Kitakami Tenshochi Park, Iwate Prefecture

A massive park spanning over 700 acres, the Kitakami Tenshochi Park has been a favorite for hanami among both locals and travelers for decades. 2021 is the 100th anniversary of the park’s opening and there is a myriad of ways for travelers to see the cherry blossoms, such as taking a riverboat cruise, or taking a ride on a horse-drawn carriage underneath the “tunnel of pink.” Cherry blossom branches stretch out from the trees on both sides of the walkway and form a floral tunnel that travelers can traverse

Human Chess Match at Tendo Sakura Matsuri, Yamagata Prefecture

Ninety percent of Japanese chess pieces, or shogi, are produced in the city of Tendo. Every April, as over 2,000 cherry blossoms bloom, locals and travelers gather to watch a human chess match, or shogi battle, in Maizuru Park, where two professional chess players compete with humans dressed as samurai and servants in place of chess pieces. The festival also features taiko (Japanese drum) performances and delicious festival food like yakisoba noodles and takoyaki balls.

Stand-up Paddleboarding in Shiga Prefecture

In Kyoto, travelers who want to partake in hanami can go stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Biwa to see cherry blossoms bloom along the coast. Shirahage SUP at the Shirahige Beach Campsite offers travelers the opportunity to see the cherry blossoms directly from the crystal blue waters of Lake Biwa.

Moka Railway Ride in Tochigi Prefecture

The city of Moka in Tochigi Prefecture is perhaps most known for the Moka Railway, which has been operating for over 100 years. During the spring when cherry blossoms begin to bloom, the railway line becomes a popular attraction since its track is almost completely surrounded by cherry blossoms and rape flowers. Travelers can book a trip on the scenic railway between Mogi station and Shimodate station for an unforgettable hanami ride.

Boating Under Hirosaki Castle, Aomori Prefecture

Hirosaki Castle is well-known as a top destination for hanami. Since local apple farmers prune the cherry trees the same way they do apples, the trees end up with two to three times more flowers than normal. To see the lush, pink flowers, guests often rent a rowboat and sail it out on the river surrounded by cherry blossoms. The sparkling river coupled with the towering castle and the bright petals makes for a fairy tale to come to life.

Noh Plays at Night, Tokyo

Under the lovely cherry blossoms of Yasukuni Shrine, a stage is set and traditional plays called noh are performed. These plays often date back to the 14th century and include kyogen (comedic spoken dramas) and maibayashi (a shorter version of noh with music). Performed, under the yozakura (cherry blossoms at night), the plays are enhanced by the atmosphere of the lit-up blossoms and the bonfire, two integral elements of this experience. Japan’s top actors and actresses are known to take the stage.

Events and experiences above are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For updates on travel restrictions to Japan, please visit the website.

 

Travel story illustration by Maria Soloman for 360 MAGAZINE

Escape-by-Pod Hottest 2021 Travel Trend

The escape by pod, or traveling with pandemic-vetted friends and family, is one of the hottest trends in vacation travel in this time of Covid. The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort is poised to accommodate the growing demand for full ranch buyouts on this private family estate in a remote and recreationally rich wilderness region of British Columbia.

The estate announces a 2021 June-October season buy-out invitation at $15,000 USD per night for pods of 12 adults. Multi-generational family groups of up to 20 members can be accommodated. This includes access to luxury Canadian hand-crafted log homes, services of a master chef and private activity guides, plus an open bar and the capability to accommodate and arrange for private aircraft.

To help take any worries or uncertainty out of booking for 2021, the offering comes with a client-friendly purchase policy that asks for a 25 percent deposit with balance due 90 days prior to arrival. However, guests will receive a full refund if the Canadian border is closed at time of travel. Full refunds minus a $500 per person fee will be available for cancellations 61 or more days prior to the arrival date. However, there will be no refunds for cancellations 60 days or less prior to arrival date if it is for any reason other than border closure.

Host Phil Huston, founder and owner, assures that all precautions and protocols that have evolved throughout the pandemic will be practiced here to help secure the well-being of guests and staff alike. They operated successfully and safely in 2020 with the assistance of Iridia Medical who made the necessary adjustments to ensure sanitation and guest safety. With a capacity of just 12 guests and their remote, secluded location, this is expected to be a destination in high demand for 2021 travel.

Phil and his wife, Anne Huston, are extending their take on luxury living in the wilderness for the 14th season this year. For them the luxury of The Chilko Experience is about friendly hospitality, complete privacy and wholesome fun in the wilderness. For 20 years Huston has been in a unique position to observe the benefits to friends and families of bonding with nature and each other. “There is a magic to witness in that process that never gets old,” said Huston.

This is British Columbia’s “last frontier”. Phil Huston came upon it almost by accident while backpacking BC over 40 years ago, and he never forgot it. Only a thousand hearty residents inhabit its 32 Million acres equating to one resident per every 50 square miles. This road less region supports 17 unique ecosystems. Mountains, glaciers, rushing rivers and alpine lakes take center stage. So do nature and its healing powers. Here, brown bears, cougars, wolves, mountain goats, eagles and salmon call the Chilcotin home.

Carved from the wilds, this-off-the-grid estate consists of six custom log and timber frame luxury accommodations which were designed and constructed by HGTV’s Timber Kings. Today these one and two-bedroom, artisan-crafted dwellings continue to delight visitors whom their hosts welcome like family to this exclusive estate. Each unique home shares common features: oversized windows for maximum natural light, stone floors, hand-beveled denim (blue toned pine) ceilings, steel roofs, all tastefully furnished with antiques. Anne Huston, a long-time antique dealer, has adorned these classic homes with many of her own collectibles. See: https://thechilkoexperience.com/log-homes/

Throughout the early June through mid-October season activities include, among others, fly fishing, kayaking, river rafting, horseback riding and four-wheeling in the never-ending forests of pine, splashed by the vivid turquoise and icy blues of the world-famous Chilko Lake.

Staff include expert guides who make sure that on a daily basis each guest fulfills a dream activity. A professional resident chef will delight you daily with their hearty, home-grown fare, and a masseuse and yoga instructor are also in residence for those in search of an invigorating natural wellness experience.

The Chilko Experience serves only British Columbia-sourced wines, many from Okanagan Valley vintners. Taking center stage in the world of wines, Okanagan is the new star to watch.  Many of its over 300 wineries have won international awards.

The geographic features of the wilderness surrounding The Chilko Experience are dominated by Chilko Lake and its out-flowing Chilko River.  The lake is the largest alpine lake in North America and its shores are completely uninhabited, making it one of the most striking and unspoiled landscapes in British Columbia today. As the locals like to ponder: Why go to Lake Louise when you can have Chilko Lake all to yourself?

The lake’s horizon is adorned with the majestic snow-capped Coastal Mountains that stretch north into Yukon territory and southerly, morphing into the Cascade Range from British Columbia into Washington and Oregon. Bears, wolves and bald eagles are abundant here, especially from mid-September through October when runs of up to a million salmon attract one of the highest concentrations of Grizzly bears in North America, not to mention hundreds of eagles that soar overhead, scouring for scraps.

“Perhaps even more impressive than artisan log castles and pristine wilderness is the heart of The Chilko Experience – our world-renowned hospitality,” explains Huston. “Sincere, unpretentious and warm are some of the words we hear. Our guests tell us that we are masters in the art of hosting. Real hands-on, laugh-your-tail-off fun is what we do. Boots on the ground, paddles in the water, fish on the line, sights seen by few – that’s what the Chilko Experience is all about.”

Huston goes on to say, “One could not conceive of a more desirable antidote to our current woes than this intimate, untamed adventure.  When guests ask for the address of the resort, they get an unusual answer.  We are 30 miles off the power grid, 40 miles to the post office and 200 miles to the grocery store but at night you can reach up and touch the stars.”

For additional details please see https://thechilkoexperience.com/. Call toll free 1.888.865.7136 or email phil@chilkoexperience.com.

About The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort
The estate is a charter member of The Austin Collection and a member of the Mantis Collection, Villas of Distinction and the Chilko Operators Association. It was also included in the 2018 Chad Clark Certified 25™. This is a collection of the most unique, authentic and singular travel experiences to be had throughout the world.

ADVENTURES IN MIYAGI PREFECTURE

Known as the “Land of Contrasts,” Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is home to a variety of outdoor activities for travelers to enjoy. From cycling to surfing and even paragliding, Miyagi’s wide range of landscapes has no shortage of opportunities to try something new. Below are a few places travelers can dream of visiting when travel restrictions are lifted.

With a variety of biking trails to choose from, Miyagi is the perfect place to cycle through paths that stop by some of the prefecture’s most famous sights. For coastal views, Oshika Peninsula offers more than 40 miles of rolling hills and coastal panoramas, including a view of Kinkasan Island, a majestic island home to sacred deer that roam about the island freely. In the countryside, Marumori Loop is a popular cycling spot for locals. The low plains offer excellent views of the mountains, charming villages and rice fields. Experienced bikers can cycle through the mountainous wilderness of Mount Zao. These incredibly remote passes are grueling but are totally worth it for the beautiful scenery, secluded hot springs and countryside cafes.

Speaking of Mount Zao, the region is one of Miyagi’s best destinations for outdoor adventures. Skiers and snowboarders can opt to tackle the remote slopes on their own, but a guide is considered essential for anyone not trained in winter mountaineering and acquainted with the terrain of Mount Zao. Luckily, M’s Guide is a winter mountain guide service based at Sumikawa Snow Park and can tailor any outdoor excursion for guests.

For watersports, three-time paragliding national champion Takeshige Yamaya offers tandem paragliding experiences in Matsushima Bay, perfect for travelers to experience one of the Three Most Scenic Spots in Japan. Setravelndai and even Mount Zao can also be seen from the sky. In Sendai, Barefoot Surf offers a variety of SUP (stand-up paddle boarding) and surfing excursions for any skill level.

Travelers looking to spend the night outdoors can stay at the Fukiage Kogen Campground in Northern Miyagi. The grounds are surrounded by scenic views of mountains and quiet forests. The campground even has its own hot spring, walking trails, pub and plenty of cute goats. While travelers can bring their own equipment, guests can be supplied with all the gear they need with advanced reservations.

For more information on Miyagi, please visit http://www.visitmiyagi.com.

Travel illustration by Rita Azar for 360 MAGAZINE.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Vacation At Home

While traveling regulations and personal comfort levels vary, Virginia’s Blue Ridge, VBR, has devised a plan to allow you to travel from the safety of your home. With a new digital campaign, VBR remains a top-of-mind destination through Six Imperfect Substitutions. With Six Imperfect Substitutions, VBR turns some of the region’s popular attractions into easy and fun DIY experience with common household items.  

Shannon Terry, marketing manager at Visit VBR created the campaign. “With my favorite local establishments temporarily closed, I personally started to feel the effects of cabin fever and began brainstorming ways to entertain myself,” said Terry. “What started as a personal joke turned into a light-hearted way to showcase the cool spots in the region that people are missing.” 

The  Six Imperfect Substitutions to experience Virginia’s Blue Ridge from home include: 

  1. Cyclocross Substitute – a fast-paced, off-road bike race including various obstacles and barriers. 
  1. DIY Dixie Caverns – Living rock formation in Salem, VA. 
  1. Makeshift McAfee  – most photographed spot along the Appalachian Trail, a bucket list hike. 
  1. Not Quite Texas Tavern– a 24/7 classic lunch counter and late night eatery that seats 1,000…10 at a time. 
  1. Roaring Run Replacement – waterfall hike near a historic 19th century iron ore furnace. 
  1. Simulated Stiles Falls – stunning 40-ft waterfall hike in Shawsville, VA. 

Check out Six Imperfect Substituations yourself at VisitVBR.com so you and your loved ones can travel and craft without even stepping outside of your home. 

Miyagi – Japan’s Most Relaxing Vacation

Geothermal wonders that rejuvenate the body and mind, Japan’s onsens (naturally occuring hot springs) are a must for any traveler, and Miyagi Prefecture has no shortage of them. With many dotted throughout Miyagi’s diverse terrain, each onsen provides a unique experience with different water sources producing baths of different temperatures, mineral content, texture and more. As these onsens are often located in the mountains, by the ocean and in forests, they provide a great place for travelers to practice the tradition of toji, extended stays at onsens to recuperate from illness or overexertion. Below is a sample of Miyagi’s best onsens for travelers to dream of relaxing in once travel restrictions are lifted.

Reflective pond at Tenshukaku Gardens (©Visit Miyagi)

One of the more popular onsen towns due to its proximity to Miyagi Prefecture’s capital Sendai, Akiu Onsen is tucked in the region’s mountains. The town features about a dozen hot spring hotels located along the scenic Natorigawa River with many offering day use of their hot spring baths. Nearby, Tenshukaku Gardens is home to its own onsen, known as Ichitaro no Yu. After strolling through the traditional Edo-style garden, guests can warm up in the hot spring with a view of Mount Osawa. Lucky bathers may even get to catch a glimpse of kamoshika, a rare Japanese goat-antelope often seen roaming on the mountainside. While the onsen’s water will leave skin soft and silky, Akiu Onsen water is also said to improve quality of sleep, circulation and reduce stress levels.

Sakunami Onsen is located deeper into the mountains and the train ride to this town passes through thick pine and maple tree forests with views of the Hirosegawa River below. This onsen town was often visited by weary monks, members of the shogunate and the shogun himself centuries ago as the water was said to treat a variety of illnesses. After cleansing their mind and body at the onsens on the rocky banks of the river, travelers can opt to hike one of the many trails or take a day trip to the Nikka Whiskey Miyagikyo Distillery.

Naruko Onsen’s diverse hot spring water makes for a rich experience (© JNTO)

Known as one of the “Three Most Scenic Spots of Japan,” Matsushima Bay has its own onsens facing towards the bay with views of countless small islands

Several hotels near the bay have their own natural onsen facilities and staying the night is highly recommended. Guests should make their way out to the open-air baths during the night to see thousands of stars light up the bay. For early birds, the baths are also an ideal spot to watch the sunrise. While Naruko Onsen can be a little hard to get to as it’s hidden away in the hills of northwestern Miyagi, the trip is worth it. Naruko Onsen boasts one of the richest onsen experiences anywhere as the town has eight of the ten types of hot spring water found in Japan. Additionally, the town has more than 400 different springs providing an almost endless variety of bathing facilities. Naruko Onsen also has a wide range of ryokans from traditional inns to luxurious private baths.

The Miyagi Onsen Experience: Watch HERE

For more information on Miyagi Prefecture’s onsens, travelers are encouraged to use the website’s Trip Organizer which has plenty of resources and travel tips. Travelers can also watch this short video highlighting experiences at onsen towns in the prefecture.