Yugen is an impossible word to define. It can mean a deep, dark, even mysterious sense of the universe. It can refer to the experience of beauty that is the human experience. It values the power to evoke a feeling rather than state something directly. It's the humility you feel when you wake up early enough to see the sunrise, sit still enough to see the precise moment the sun peaks above the horizon, and to realize that you are here, in this world, in no other moment, and it's as uplifting as it is devastating in its beauty.
“To watch the sun sink behind a flower clad hill. To wander on in a huge forest without thought of return. To stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands. To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds…”
- Zeami Motokiy
After 10 years of living in and traveling around the Pacific Northwest, I could never understand the void of luxury accommodation that celebrates the splendor of the environment that surrounds it. Sure, there are a few slightly upscale spots dotted through the islands and coast but for the most part, the combination of hospitality, architecture, design, and fine dining has yet to make an appearance. After spending time in onsen towns in Japan, we saw a perfect marriage of the misty forests, grey skies, and jagged coastline of the San Juan islands with the peace, serenity, and incredible hospitality of traditional Japanese inns (Ryokans).
The Ryokan Onsen experience at Yugen features both private and communal baths in stunning Japanese inspired settings, both indoor and outdoor. Imagine watching the meditative ferries go from island to island from a steaming natural bath sipping a cup of green tea. Spend your evening with a seasonal kaiseki (Japanese multi-course dinner) filled with local salmon and farm fresh produce. Retire to your tatami mat room and awaken to morning light filtered through rice paper windows.
SAN JUAN ISLAND, WASHINGTON
JAPANESE STYLE RYOKAN AND ONSEN