A slice of Scandinavian style floating on Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, guntû is 266-feet of bare wood, fine fare and endless double-take views of Japan’s most overlooked prefecture. Labelled a ‘floating hotel’, rather than a boat, guntû offers just 19 cabins whose design pays testament to the talents of Yasushi Horibe, guntû’s chief designer and recipient of the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize. Though the design may be reminiscent of a Scandi café, everything else about guntû, from the impossibly astute service to the six-seater sushi counter, is unapologetically Japanese.


Central to guntû’s unique nature and allure are the places it will take you. The routes each start at the Bella Vista Marina in Onomichi, a sleepy port town that’s just an hour’s drive from Hiroshima airport, before sailing down through the heart of Setouchi. Staying on board offers you the choice of one, two or three night stays, each following a set route depending on the season and including stops at the archipelago’s diverse islands, from art-lovers’ Naoshima to the cherry blossom haven of Sagi Island.


Combining honeysuckle tones of alder with warm hues of ash, each of the 19 rooms on board is a haven of tranquillity, with expansive windows that offer views of the private sea terrace and beyond. Our favourite is the guntû Suite, where a deep soaking tub offers wraparound views from the ship’s bow. If you prefer more outdoor space, the Grand Suite offers it in spades, making it the perfect room choice for those planning to spend more of their time basking in the Inland Sea’s unique land and seascapes.


Put simply, there’s no better way to explore this unique, history-rich Japanese region. Onboard, you’ll be greeted with the typical respect, mouth-watering fare and unique experiences that make this country so hypnotic. Whether you choose to recline in guntû’s cypress baths, discover the art and balance of a traditional ceremony in the tearoom or take off on a fishing trip with local fisherman, guntû is the perfect backdrop to all that we love most about Japan.

Images courtesy of Tetsuya Ito © guntû