Ise-Shima National Park
Why we can't wait to visit again: It's the perfect detox destination. Just a two-hour drive from Kyoto, this luscious landscape pours into the Pacific like a chartreuse-coloured oil spill. While this wild environment might look like God's own work, it's actually bound by a web of tight rules designed to protect it from exploitation. Sustainability is the keyword here. Check out the ama divers, a contingent of women who spend their days free-diving down to the seabed, where they help to preserve the aquatic ecosystem by hand, then grab a sea kayak and go exploring. You'll find us wiggling around Ago Bay, before slurping a well-earned pint of local ale.
Where we're staying: Amanemu. Located at the foothills of the park, this minimalist space embodies the tranquillity of a Buddhist temple. Submerge into serenity in the steam of the onsen baths, enjoy dishes crafted from regional fruits and vegetables, or book a personalised spa journey for a truly transformative wellness experience.
Before you go: Read this feature on prefectures best suited to the slower-paced explorer, where we encounter timeless traditions on an itinerary that will whisk you from Ishikawa to Gifu.