Japan is an island nation. That means that wherever you go, you’re never all that far from good seafood, but also that you can’t get to any other countries without hopping on a plane or ocean liner.
So you might find yourself doing a double take when, while driving down the road in Kochi Prefecture, you come across a hotel that looks more like it belongs on the coast of Greece than Japan.
Actually, Kochi itself is part of on island, since it makes up the southwest corner of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four major islands. Still, multiple bridges connect Shikoku and the main island of Honshu, so you could start in Tokyo and drive all the way to Kochi’s Tosa City, which is where you’ll find the Villa Santorini hotel.
The hotel takes more than just its name from the Greek island of Santorini. As these pictures show, the whole property is a recreation of the architectural style traditionally associated with one of the most beautiful communities in the Aegean Sea.
Guestrooms, which start from 12,000 yen (US$101) per night, feature distinctive arched ceilings and tile floors.
If you’d prefer to relax outside, several guestrooms open up right onto the poolside area, which is also outfitted with a row of umbrella-equipped lounge chairs.
Or, if you’d like to enjoy the sun, water, and some privacy all at once, you can book a deluxe room with an outdoor tub.
Once you get hungry, the hotel restaurant, Thira, is ready to keep the Greek theme going with its souvlaki kebabs. The on-site souvenir shop is also stocked with goodies from Greece, including Greek honey, olive oil, and wine.
With its dramatic backdrop and sweeping ocean views, it doesn’t come as a such a big surprise that the property also offers wedding packages.
It’s no doubt a popular choice with couples who can’t find the time for a honeymoon in the Greek isles, given how much closer to Japan’s major population centers the Villa Santorini is than the island that inspired it.