Maebashi, the city of water, greenery, and poets, has seen a remarkable transformation from silk manufacturing to pioneer Japan's modernization. Shiroiya Hotel has seen a similar metamorphosis from a Japanese ryokan (inn) with 300 years of history into an inspirational contemporary creation. The original inn's rough concrete walls remind its heritage, while the brand new extension by Green Tower has lush greenery on its facade, tastefully blending the old with the new. Credits due to the exceptional Japanese architect, Sou Fujimoto. Interiors follow the eye-pleasing tradition of Japanese minimalism with clever touches of contemporary art. The large atrium lounge has a powerful presence with its visible gray concrete structure contrasting the green plants and the industrial pipes with their fluorescent white lights. The awe-inspiring "Lighting Pipes" installation by Leandro Erlich is best experienced at night.
The rooms have been designed by leading international architects, showcasing their trademark skills. There is even a small but satisfying spa area with a traditional Finnish sauna and a "mist" sauna, the Japanese version of the Turkish spa. You can rent the saunas for private use if you enjoy your sauna time alone. Shiroiya's main dining place is named the RESTAURANT, and it was created with the help of a Michelin-star restaurant owner. An all-day dining space is in the LOUNGE, where young executive chef, Naoki Hoshi, serves exclusive dishes. For mouth-watering fruit, tarts head to the hotel's very own patisserie.
Shiroiya is located in the old town right in the midst of the main shopping and the nightlife district. Visit the Shikishima Park beside the Tone River to catch sight of a huge rose garden. The nearby stratovolcano, Mount Akagi, with its 1,828 m (5,997 ft) peak, offers adventurous hikes once you get tired of city life.