Hand-stitched carpet made in Yamagata Prefecture covering the floor and hallways, a charming teacup collection displayed in the café, Japanese carp swimming playfully around the indoor pond. The ultimate in luxury starts the moment you step into the lobby of Hotel Sakan. Long famous for its 1000 years of history and exceptional mineral baths, Hotel Sakan is still a hidden gem for the majority of overseas visitors. This despite the fact that there are English speaking staff and that the hotel is located in the center of the popular spa resort town Akiu in Miyagi Prefecture.
It is difficult to describe the experience visitors enjoy at Hotel Sakan (佐勘), and pictures do not do it justice. The facilities alone are suitable for royalty. The staff are knowledgeable, professional, and exceed expectations. Everything is clean, looks new, and nothing is out of place. Artworks and seasonal decorations tastefully accent the already impressive interiors. Onsite restaurants, a tea longue, cafe, wine bar, lounges, and seasonal pool give guests plenty of opportunities to mingle or relax. The extensive gift shop stocks local souvenirs, with many free food samples to try before you buy. Meanwhile, a relaxation salon offers massage services from 16:00 until late. Still, the hotel remembers its humble beginnings. It celebrates its long past with its historical gallery. The gallery was once a cooking area built by feudal lord and Sendai founder Date Masamune four centuries ago. It was used as the lobby for the hotel for many years, but now houses several artifacts and a cooking fire that is said to have been burning for 400 years!
Hotel Sakan is surrounded by hot springs, but guests need look no further than the first floor and basement levels for one of the best hot spring experiences in town, if not the entire region. The hotel delivers five bathing options. The first floor public bath is the biggest in Sakan, featuring an outdoor bath and mist sauna. The basement public bath fills with plenty of natural light and welcomes bathers to an outdoor stone bath. The Natorinomiyu is made of cypress, producing a subtle yet delightful aroma. The samurai leader Date Masamune once bathed in these same waters. The Kawaranoyu is an outdoor bath resting along the Natori River. Let the warm water rest your body as the gentle sounds of flowing river water relax your soul. Finally, there is a barrier free family-style bath that may be rented for a separate fee. All baths include amenities such as soap, shampoo, and conditioner. The waters at Sakan are said to be effective in healing problems such as: rheumatism, stomach trouble, athletic injuries, fracture, burns, gynecology, stress management, and skin disease.
To enjoy some of the luxury of the hotel for less, consider doing a day trip to the baths. Day trip plans generally cost around 4500 yen and includes use of the bathing areas and lunch. Day time service is offered 11:00-15:00 on weekdays and Sundays, and 11:00-14:30 on Saturdays and holidays. Note that baths rotate between men and women times. This means the only way to experience all the baths is to stay overnight.
For overnight guests, a variety of rooms guarantee even the pickiest guest a chance to relax how they choose. Spend the night in a non-smoking, smoking, futon, bed, extra wide, suite, or grand suite accommodation. Each room is assigned a special staff member in kimono that will serve meals and answer to any concerns guests may have. Japanese style dinner and buffet style Japanese/western buffet breakfast is included in accommodation costs. Hotel stays are priced 14,000 yen to 35,000 yen per person, depending on season, room, and stay package. Check-in is 15:00-18:00 and check-out is until 11:00. Free parking and shuttle service. 24-hour front desk.
Hotel Sakan can be accessed from a 30 minute ride from central Sendai. Also accessible by bus from bus stop #63 in front of JR Sendai Station. Get off at the second stop in about 30 minutes, right in front of Hotel Sakan. Guests staying overnight can request free shuttle service from Sendai Station.