Hotel Indigo Karuizawa: John and Yoko's Japanese summer spot gets new IHG hotel

When Japan eventually fully opens its borders again, there's a charming new hotel awaiting in the mountain resort town of Karuizawa in Nagano Prefecture, where skiing and hot springs are popular in winter and where residents of Tokyo go to escape the summer heat.

It's also where John Lennon and Yoko Ono enjoyed the peace and quiet of summer on repeat visits. Yoko came from a wealthy family who holidayed there alongside those others from Tokyo. There are guided tours of the sites pertinent to the famed popular culture couple's sojourns – he, half of the Lennon-McCartney song writing partnership in The Beatles, she the artist who looms by his side so weirdly and wonderfully in Peter Jackson's epic doco Get Back. But their Karuizawa haunts, such as the hotel they often stayed in and the bakery Lennon visited for crusty baguettes, are also chronicled on the internet so fans on pilgrimage can visit independently.

Like stablemates under IHG's Hotel Indigo brand, the new 155-room Hotel Indigo Karuizawa is locally inspired in both design and experience, reflecting the town's abundance of natural beauty and genteel history. John and Yoko weren't the only celebrities attracted to Karuizawa. A summer resort for western missionaries in the Edo period, it grew to be a fashionable retreat for royalty, and other creatives and intellectuals.

Sprawled across three buildings, the hotel's construction utilises Nagano-grown karamatsu, a local species of larch, and is designed to minimise carbon emissions. Local ingredients are used in the restaurant and the property is staffed as much as possible by local residents. And fitting to such a storied resort town, the hotel features a stunning spa.

From $392 a night. See ihg.com

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