For centuries, Japan has offered ryokans, which are minimalist guest houses typically located near onsen, or natural hot springs used for bathing. Hyatt Hotels said Wednesday that it planned to launch a new brand, Atona, that will distill the elements of traditional ryokans while adding some modern comforts.
Hyatt has entered a fifty-fifty joint venture with Kiraku, a company that works to apply capital to help preserve the best of Japan’s cultural and natural assets.
Other companies have recently attempted to modernize and brand the ryokan concept, including Nobu’s hospitality division and Adrian Zecha, founder of Aman Resorts, whose brand is called Azumi.
Independently managed properties are expected to open in 2025. Kenya Hara will be the creative director of the new brand.
“We hope these ryokans will provide guests, both local and from abroad, a special place to experience the still unseen wonders of Japan, while also positively impacting local economies,” said Kou Sundberg, founder and CEO of Kiraku. For more on Sundberg, listen to this recent podcast.