Zaborin, Kutchan-Cho, Hokkaido, Japan

Yes, that’s where you’ll find me for the next few days, in a newly built, modern ryokan, either in the rooms with walls of glass overlooking a stream and a copse of birch, or maybe in the town itself.

Zaborin opened about three weeks ago, and a friend who is a GM in Tokyo suggested I have a look.  I’ve never seen a place with more attention to elements of design, and the precision is evident no matter where I look.  The architecture, to be reductionist for the moment, reminds me of Peter Zumthor and Yoshio Taniguchi.

Which means that a lot is left to the imagination with vaulting, empty spaces, and long parallel lines.

After five restful days and nights in Noboribetsu, we drove the two hours here past farms and forests.  It looked like northern Michigan or parts of Vermont.  In town: Pizza!  Delicious pizza, which was a nice counterpoint to a week of soba, ramen, and kaiseki.  In the evening: Yakitori at a local joint.  Seated at the counter.


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