Zaborin is a secluded luxury ryokan in the Hanazono woods in Hokkaido, part of the area spanning the resorts of Niseko. Inspired by Zen, the name Zaborin merges the traditional Japanese characters, ‘zabo’ (坐 忘) meaning “to sit, to forget” and the character ‘rin’ (林) representing a small forest or wood. Subtle, contemporary architecture and interiors compliment the peace and harmony of the surrounding nature.

Zaborin has 15 guest villas situated directly above the Zabo natural spring. Each villa has all the modern amenities as well as its own private indoor and outdoor onsens of hot, natural, spring water – with all the beauty of unobstructed views. Villa sleeping arrangements vary with a choice of ‘Washitsu‘ (tatami with Japanese futon) or ‘Yoshitsu‘ (western style beds).

Some villas also feature an additional 12m2 tatami mat room, which can be used as a second smaller room with the traditional futon arrangement.
The villas at Zaborin have each been assigned a snowflake ‘kamon‘ (crest) representing the various different types of snow.

With talented Hokkaido chef Seno’s original Japanese fine dining, the privacy of a hidden retreat, the nourishing spring waters of the onsen and the enveloping beauty of nature, Zaborin invites you to indulge in a luxurious Japanese experience like no other.

After visiting Zaborin, I felt this is arguably the highest level non-private accommodation in the Niseko area. It is beautifully done and will appeal to anyone interested in art, with many materials used in different ways to create very attractive public areas. For this reason alone, it is worth spending time in the bar, lobby, library and restaurant areas. The rooms themselves are similarly impressive and have possibly the best hotspring baths I have seen anywhere, each one with a vast indoor bath made with stone slabs and a large wooden outdoor bath. With only 15 rooms it is very much a top boutique hotel in all senses. Dinner is kaiseki style and varies enough for clients to stay a week without repetition.

Reviewed by David