Hidden away in the winter snowdrifts of Otaru, Kuramure lets you experience two cherished elements of traditional Japanese culture in complete peace: hot springs and incredible seafood. On the outside, Kuramure looks every bit an old Japanese inn: a large, dark wooden house, gated off in quiet isolation. Inside, celebrated architect Makoto Nakayama has transformed the space with his modern, minimalist eye, to emphasise the most charming traditional touches of Japanese design with tatami mats, ikebana flower artistry and low tables. As you would expect of Japanese tradition, Kuramure is a delicate and fastidiously maintained hotel. Every evening, you are personally escorted to your private dining room and served a unique, seasonal multi-course meal whose ingredients shift with Otaru’s daily catch. Each of Kuramure’s 19 suites is fitted with a private hot spring bath, available for use around the clock and fed by local thermal springs. Try open-air hot spring bathing – sink up to your neck in the piping hot water while clouds of steam swirl about your face.