Hyatt launches new Japanese onsen brand, ATONA

New joint venture with Kiraku to specialise in modern-style ryokans

Hyatt Corporation is entering the Japanese hot spring ryokan market with a new luxury hospitality brand called ATONA. The joint venture between a Hyatt affiliate and Kiraku plans to introduce a collection of modern-styled onsen ryokans in Japan targeting global travellers.

Leveraging the interest of global travellers to the country, the ATONA brand will express the unique charm of each region of Japan’s architecture, design, cuisine, activities, and hospitality through the ryokan experience. Centred around the onsen (hot spring), a treasured part of Japanese culture, the ryokans built by the joint venture will feature a modernised style. Set among breathtaking landscapes, each will offer new experiences and discoveries both within and beyond the ryokan that are special to its locale.

“ATONA” is an expression of deep connection: a combination of two old Japanese words (吾汝) that means “me and you.” The ATONA brand experience will offer bespoke experiences and warm Japanese hospitality away from the bustle of everyday life, inspiring guests to feel the deep wisdom hidden within nature and a peaceful place to reconnect with oneself.

Nazuna Kyoto Imperial Palace - used as representation of Kiraku's other projects

Rooted in the rich history, culture, and people of the locale, guests will be able to experience encounters and meaningful exchanges with other travellers, foster connections with the local community and contribute to the regional revitalisation of Japan.

“Kiraku’s collaboration with Hyatt, a leading global hospitality company, presents an exciting opportunity to discover and share the unique charms of Japan from a global perspective,” said Kou Sundberg, Founder and CEO of Kiraku. “Having roots in both Japan and the United States, I have always been interested in the diverse cultures and landscapes that can be found across Japan, and at Kiraku, we have focused on creating businesses that share these treasures with the world. Through the building of hot spring ryokans under the ATONA brand across the country, 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.”

Kiraku Obi, a luxury traditional Japanese-style accommodation | Credit: Kiraku

Sam Sakamura, Hyatt’s VP Japan and Micronesia said: “We believe that the five essential elements for inbound tourism are food, culture, history, safety, and transportation infrastructure, and as a highly sought-after tourist destination, Japan exceeds in each of these categories. Through our strong collaboration with Kiraku on the ATONA brand, the joint venture will build on the unique, personalised experience of traditional Japanese ryokans, which have been loved by locals for centuries, and make them accessible to inbound travellers, many of whom have never experienced staying in a ryokan before.”

Kenya Hara, one of Japan’s leading designers, joins this project to serve as creative director for the ATONA brand. Development plans are currently underway to unveil the collection of ATONA-branded ryokans beginning in 2025.

The 50/50 joint venture is expected to expand ryokans under the ATONA brand in regional areas of Japan. The ATONA brand will be managed independently by experienced hospitality experts who have a deep understanding of both Japanese culture and international hotel standards.

Lead image credit: Eiji Kikuta/Pixabay

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