Just don’t call it a houseboat. Redefining what it means to travel in style, this luxury “floating hotel” offers a serene and minimalist-minded way of getting around Japan’s Seto Inland Sea.
Also known as Setouchi, the body of water separates three of the country’s four major islands, and the vessel—called Guntû, after little blue crabs popular in the local cuisine—cruises along the Chugoku and Shikoku coastlines, before returning to the marina in Onomichi City, Hiroshima, after a short tour.
Comprising 19 guest rooms and rendered in warm wood throughout, the three-deck ship was designed by architect Yasushi Horibe in the style of a traditional Japanese inn and measures 81.2 meters in length (266 feet) and 13.75 meter wide (45 feet).
There are three types of cabins available, ranging in size from 50 square meters to 90 (538 to 968 square feet), and all of them enjoy terraces that offer unrestricted views of the water. Alder wood clads the walls and ceilings, while ash wood makes up the flooring. Sliding glass doors create seamless indoor-outdoor connections to the deck made from Japanese cyprus and walnut, and some of the suites even boast “open-air” baths.
As for common spaces, there are plenty, including an open upper deck, lounge, communal bath, cafe and bar, restaurant, outdoor deck seating, sushi counter, and spa. After making its maiden voyage in October 2017, it’s now available to book.