16 Best Ryokans to Stay at in Japan

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By Cher

If you’re looking for the top traditional Japanese ryokans during your trip to Japan, you’ve come to the right place.

As an avid Japan traveler who has journeyed across the country over 15 times, I’ve had the pleasure of staying at and touring dozens of ryokans to find the best ones. I even wrote several comprehensive insider’s guides on planning the ultimate trip to Japan.

In this article, I want to share my list of favorite ryokans, from luxurious retreats with private onsen baths to charming, affordable inns. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful mountain setting, a historic Kyoto machiya townhouse, or a contemporary ryokan with impeccable service, I’ve got you covered.

The best ryokans to stay at in Japan offer a unique and authentic Japanese experience. These traditional inns are typically located in scenic locations, such as near hot springs (onsen) or in historic towns. They typically have tatami mats, futon beds, and shared baths.  

👉 Summary Best Ryokans in Japan:

I selected Hoshinoya Tokyo as the overall #1 for its modern luxury and excellent service. Gion Hatanaka is my pick for best in a historic center given its prime location in Gion, Kyoto’s famous geisha district. Kozantei Ubuya is a top luxury ryokan with stunning views of Mt. Fuji. For location, Ryokan Kurashiki is centrally located in the Bikan historic quarter of Kurashiki. And Sawanoya Ryokan is an affordable but charming ryokan in Tokyo.

Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku (Gunma)

Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku
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For those seeking a ryokan surrounded by nature, Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku in Gunma is an ideal choice. Situated along the Tone River, this ryokan offers stunning views of the picturesque surroundings. The onsen ryokan provides open-air baths, featuring natural hot spring water flowing from the nearby mountains. With spacious guest rooms, each equipped with a private open-air bath, guests can unwind while admiring the beauty of the changing seasons.

Guests can relax and unwind in the spacious guest rooms, each equipped with a private open-air bath, allowing them to immerse themselves in the beautiful changing seasons while rejuvenating their body and mind.

The tranquility and simplicity of this popular onsen create a harmonious atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a peaceful and rejuvenating retreat. While staying at this ryokan, guests can enjoy the breathtaking views, take leisurely walks along the river, and experience the healing properties of the hot springs. The ryokan’s commitment to providing a truly authentic experience, combined with the natural beauty of Gunma, makes Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku a must-visit destination for those looking to indulge in nature’s wonders and relaxation.

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Gora Kadan (Hakone)

Gora Kadan
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Located in the picturesque town of Hakone, Gora Kadan is a renowned luxury ryokan known for its tranquil setting and exceptional service. This ryokan features spacious guest rooms with traditional decor, private open-air baths, and magnificent views of Mount Fuji.

The onsen area offers a variety of hot spring baths, allowing guests to relax and rejuvenate amidst nature. With its impeccable attention to detail, Gora Kadan creates a truly luxurious and memorable ryokan experience.

Rooms are traditionally styled with tatami mats and futons, providing an authentic Japanese inn experience. High-quality dining featuring fresh seafood and seasonal local dishes is served in the elegant kaiseki restaurant. With its stunning natural setting and high level of service, Gora Kadan is consistently ranked among the best luxury ryokans to visit in Hakone.

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Hoshinoya Tokyo Ryokan (Tokyo)

Hoshinoya Tokyo Ryokan
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Hoshinoya Tokyo, one of the best ryokans in Japan, is a modern yet authentic ryokan nestled in the heart of Tokyo. This contemporary luxury ryokan combines traditional Japanese hospitality with modern design elements.

Each room has a private bath, and some rooms even feature private gardens. The ryokan also boasts an exquisite kaiseki cuisine, showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients. With its prime location and impeccable service, Hoshinoya Tokyo offers a unique blend of tradition and sophistication.

Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of this ryokan and indulge in exquisite kaiseki cuisine, showcasing the finest seasonal ingredients. Whether you’re exploring the bustling streets of Tokyo or seeking a peaceful retreat, Hoshinoya Tokyo Ryokan is the perfect place to experience the tranquility and elegance of Japanese culture.

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Hiiragiya Ryokan (Kyoto)

Hiiragiya Ryokan
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With a history dating back over 180 years, Hiiragiya Ryokan in Kyoto is a true gem. This traditional ryokan has hosted esteemed guests, including artists, writers, and even imperial families. The elegant guest rooms are meticulously designed, embodying traditional Japanese aesthetics. Guests can soak in the private hot spring baths and savor the delights of Kyoto cuisine. The ryokan’s commitment to preserving Japanese culture and providing a serene atmosphere ensures an exceptional stay.

This traditional Japanese ryokan has welcomed has welcomed distinguished guests, including artists, writers, and even members of imperial families. The elegance of Hiiragiya Ryokan is evident in its meticulously designed guest rooms, which embody the essence of traditional Japanese aesthetics. Indulge in the soothing hot spring baths and savor the delights of Kyoto cuisine, meticulously prepared with seasonal ingredients. 

Hiiragiya Ryokan’s unwavering commitment to preserving Japanese culture and providing a serene atmosphere promises an exceptional and unforgettable stay in the heart of Kyoto.

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Sumiyoshi Ryokan (Gifu)

Sumiyoshi Ryokan
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If you want to stay in a traditional ryokan, you sould also try Sumiyoshi Ryokan. Located in the city of Gifu, Sumiyoshi Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that provides an oasis of tranquility amidst the bustling metropolis. This ryokan offers comfortable and cozy guest rooms in a traditional setting. Guests can enjoy the soothing hot spring baths and indulge in Osakan specialties for breakfast and dinner. Sumiyoshi Ryokan’s convenient location, warm hospitality, and authentic Japanese experience make it a popular choice for travelers.

One of the highlights of staying at Sumiyoshi Ryokan is the opportunity to indulge in Osakan specialties for breakfast and dinner. Guests can savor the flavors of the region, such as takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and other delicious local delicacies. Conveniently located in Osaka, Sumiyoshi Ryokan offers easy access to the city’s vibrant attractions, ensuring that guests can explore and experience the energetic atmosphere of Osaka while enjoying the comforts of a traditional ryokan.

With its warm hospitality and authentic Japanese experience, staying at a ryokan, such as Sumiyoshi Ryokan is a popular choice for travelers seeking a unique blend of culture, relaxation, and city exploration.

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KAI Hakone (Hakone)

KAI Hakone
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KAI Hakone is one of the best luxury ryokans in Japan. Set against the backdrop of Hakone’s natural beauty, KAI Hakone offers a luxurious and peaceful ryokan experience. This ryokan is popular for its stylish guest rooms with modern amenities and private open-air baths. Guests can immerse themselves in the revitalizing hot spring baths and savor the gourmet kaiseki cuisine prepared with local ingredients. 

Guests can also savor the gourmet kaiseki cuisine, which showcases the finest local ingredients and is meticulously prepared by skilled chefs. Beyond the luxurious accommodations and gastronomic delights, KAI Hakone offers a range of cultural activities to enhance the guests’ experience, such as tea ceremonies and traditional Japanese arts and crafts.

 Whether it’s soaking in the natural hot springs, indulging in exquisite cuisine, or immersing oneself in the rich cultural heritage of Hakone, KAI Hakone ensures a truly unforgettable and rejuvenating stay for every guest.

👉 Check Prices: KAI Hakone


Beniya Mukayu Luxury Ryokan (Ishikawa)

Beniya Mukayu
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Nestled in the hot spring town of Yamashiro Onsen, Beniya Mukayu is a ryokan that epitomizes tranquility and elegance. This luxurious ryokan features spacious guest rooms with minimalist design and private open-air baths. The ryokan’s on-site spa offers a range of therapeutic treatments, ensuring a truly relaxing stay. Guests can also enjoy the kaiseki cuisine, using seasonal and local ingredients, served in the serene ambiance of the ryokan.

The highlight of Beniya Mukayu is the on-site spa, offering a range of rejuvenating treatments and therapies. Whether it’s a traditional massage or a holistic wellness experience, guests can unwind and revitalize their mind, body, and soul. In addition to pampering, guests can also delight in the exquisite kaiseki cuisine served in the ryokan. The seasonal and local ingredients are transformed into beautiful and flavorful dishes, creating a harmonious dining experience in the serene ambiance of the ryokan.

Staying at Beniya Mukayu is not just about luxury and relaxation, but also about immersing oneself in the cultural and natural beauty of Ishikawa. The ryokan is located in close proximity to notable attractions such as the Kenroku-en Garden and Kanazawa Castle. Guests can explore the rich history of the region and appreciate the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them. With its blend of tranquility, elegance, and cultural experiences, Beniya Mukayu Luxury Ryokan provides an unforgettable journey into traditional Japanese hospitality. This is definitely one of the best Japanese ryokan.

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Yagyu no Sho Ryokan (Shuzenji)

Yagyu no Sho Ryokan
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Yagyu no Sho Ryokan Shuzenji is a luxurious and tranquil ryokan nestled in the serene town of Shuzenji, located in the Izu Peninsula of Japan. Surrounded by lush greenery and natural hot springs, this ryokan offers guests a serene retreat in a picturesque setting.

The guest rooms at Yagyu no Sho Ryokan Shuzenji are elegantly designed, combining traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern comforts. Guests can choose from a variety of room types, each offering a serene and relaxing atmosphere, and some even featuring private open-air baths.

One of the highlights of staying at Yagyu no Sho Ryokan Shuzenji is the rejuvenating hot spring baths. The ryokan is blessed with natural hot springs, known for their healing properties. Guests can immerse themselves in the therapeutic waters, enjoying the peaceful ambiance and relieving their stress and fatigue. In addition to the hot spring baths, the ryokan also offers a range of spa and wellness treatments, ensuring guests leave feeling refreshed and renewed. This ryokan is worth the visit.

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Ryokan Kurashiki (Okayama)

Ryokan Kurashiki
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Situated in the historic city of Kurashiki, Ryokan Kurashiki is a traditional Japanese inn that captures the essence of old Japan. The ryokan features charming guest rooms with classic decor, including sliding doors and tatami floors. Guests can relax in the traditional indoor baths and outdoor open-air baths filled with natural hot spring water. This ryokan is conveniently located near attractions such as the Bikan Historical Quarter, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the local culture.

Guests can explore the well-preserved Edo-era merchant quarter, lined with traditional wooden buildings and charming canals. The ryokan is just a short stroll away from the iconic Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, where visitors can admire the preserved architecture, visit art museums, and enjoy a leisurely boat ride.

At Ryokan Kurashiki, guests can also indulge in a culinary journey of local flavors. The ryokan prides itself on serving exquisite kaiseki cuisine, highlighting the region’s seasonal ingredients. Guests can experience a multi-course meal showcasing the culinary artistry and flavors of Okayama. The combination of cultural immersion, historic surroundings, and delectable cuisine at Ryokan Kurashiki ensures an unforgettable stay for travelers seeking an authentic Japanese experience.

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Nishimuraya Honkan (Hyogo)

Nishimuraya Honkan
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Located in the picturesque Kinosaki Onsen town, Nishimuraya Honkan is a ryokan renowned for its history and tradition. The ryokan offers spacious guest rooms featuring a blend of Japanese and Western design elements. Guests can indulge in the seven open-air hot spring baths available, each with its own unique charm. Nishimuraya Honkan also offers a range of cultural experiences, such as tea ceremonies and traditional Japanese music performances.

One of the highlights of staying at Nishimuraya Honkan is the therapeutic hot springs that the ryokan is famous for. Guests can indulge in the healing waters of the onsen, known for their rejuvenating and relaxing properties. The ryokan offers both indoor and outdoor baths, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the serene ambiance while enjoying the natural beauty of the surroundings.

In addition to the rejuvenating hot springs, Nishimuraya Honkan offers a culinary experience that is second to none. Guests can savor the exquisite kaiseki cuisine, showcasing the finest local ingredients and expertly prepared by skilled chefs. Each meal is a work of art, with delicate flavors and beautiful presentation, providing a sensory delight that complements the overall experience of staying at Nishimuraya Honkan. With its rich history, soothing hot springs, and delectable cuisine, Nishimuraya Honkan offers a truly luxurious and culturally immersive retreat in Hyogo. One of the best places to stay in Japan.

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Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konanso (Yamanashi)

Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konanso
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For those looking to experience the beauty of Mount Fuji, Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konanso is an ideal choice. This ryokan offers stunning views of Mount Fuji from its guest rooms and open-air baths. Guests can relax in the hot spring baths and unwind while taking in the majestic scenery. The ryokan also serves delicious kaiseki cuisine, allowing guests to savor the flavors of Yamanashi.

The highlight of staying at Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konanso is undoubtedly the rejuvenating hot spring baths. The ryokan offers a range of indoor and outdoor baths where guests can soak in the therapeutic mineral-rich waters while enjoying the awe-inspiring scenery.

The natural hot springs provide a sense of relaxation and wellness, allowing visitors to unwind and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings.

👉 Check Prices: Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konanso


Kozantei Ubuya (Yamanashi)

Kozantei Ubuya
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Kozantei Ubuya is a beautiful ryokan located in the scenic Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan. Situated on the shores of Lake Kawaguchi, this ryokan offers guests a breathtaking view of Mount Fuji. With its serene surroundings and warm hospitality, Kozantei Ubuya provides an idyllic retreat for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty.

The ryokan features spacious Japanese-style rooms that combine traditional elements with modern comforts. Guests can unwind on tatami flooring and experience the enjoyment of futon bedding, while large windows offer captivating views of Lake Kawaguchi and Mount Fuji. The ryokan’s attention to detail and emphasis on creating a peaceful atmosphere ensure a relaxing and rejuvenating stay.

One of the highlights of staying at Kozantei Ubuya is the opportunity to delight in the therapeutic hot spring baths. The ryokan offers both indoor and outdoor onsens, allowing guests to soak in the mineral-rich waters while admiring the stunning surroundings. 

👉 Check Prices: Kozantei Ubuya


Sawanoya Ryokan (Tokyo)

Sawanoya Ryokan
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Sawanoya Ryokan is a charming and traditional inn in the historic Yanaka neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan. This family-run ryokan offers guests a unique glimpse into old Tokyo, with its preserved wooden buildings, narrow streets, and traditional atmosphere. Established in 1949, Sawanoya Ryokan has provided warm hospitality and a peaceful escape for travelers for over seven decades.

The ryokan features cozy Japanese-style rooms with tatami flooring, sliding doors, and futon bedding. Each room is beautifully decorated, exuding a sense of nostalgia and tranquility. Sawanoya Ryokan also offers a communal bath area, allowing guests to soak in the calming hot spring waters and unwind after a day of exploring the vibrant city of Tokyo.

One of the highlights of staying at Sawanoya Ryokan is the exceptional service and friendly atmosphere. The staff, known for their warm hospitality, go above and beyond to ensure guests have a comfortable and memorable stay. From providing helpful recommendations on local attractions to offering insights into the neighborhood’s history, the staff at Sawanoya Ryokan creates a welcoming environment that feels like a home away from home.

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Noboribetsu Onsen Kyo Takinoya (Hokkaido)

Noboribetsu Onsen
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Located in the famous hot spring town of Noboribetsu, Takinoya is a ryokan that gives a unique and rejuvenating experience. The ryokan features spacious guest rooms with private hot spring baths. Guests can indulge in the milky white hot spring water, known for its healing properties. With its serene surroundings and luxurious amenities, Takinoya is a perfect getaway for relaxation and rejuvenation.

One of the highlights of staying at the Takinoya ryokan is the opportunity to experience the rejuvenating onsen baths. The ryokan boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor baths, each fed by the natural hot spring waters rich in minerals. Guests can soak in the therapeutic waters, allowing tension to melt away while enjoying the serene surroundings. The hot springs are known for their healing properties, promoting relaxation and well-being.

👉 Check Prices: Noboribetsu Onsen Kyo Takinoya


Gion Hatanaka (Kyoto)

Gion Hatanaka

Gion Hatanaka is a luxurious ryokan situated in the historic Gion district of Kyoto, Japan. This elegant establishment offers guests a perfect blend of traditional Japanese hospitality and modern comforts. With its prime location in the heart of Gion, guests can easily explore the renowned geisha district and immerse themselves in Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage.

The highlight of a stay at Gion Hatanaka is the opportunity to experience the exquisite beauty of a traditional Japanese ryokan. The ryokan features spacious tatami-floored rooms adorned with elegant furnishings and sliding paper doors, providing an authentic ambiance. Guests can indulge in the peaceful atmosphere and enjoy the ryokan’s beautiful Japanese gardens, creating a serene retreat in the midst of the bustling city.

Gion Hatanaka also offers guests a chance to savor the refined flavors of Kyoto’s gourmet cuisine. The ryokan’s kaiseki meals are meticulously prepared by skilled chefs using the freshest seasonal ingredients sourced from local markets. Guests can relish in the artful presentation of various dishes that showcase the flavors and culinary traditions of Kyoto. The ryokan also provides a tea ceremony experience, allowing guests to partake in the rituals of this traditional Japanese art form.

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Zaborin (Hokkaido)

Zaborin

Zaborin is a luxurious ryokan located in the serene surroundings of Hokkaido, Japan.  The ryokan features spacious and elegantly designed villas that blend traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern comfort.

Each villa offers a private open-air bath, allowing guests to relax and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding forests and mountains. The use of natural materials and minimalist decor create a serene ambiance that complements the natural beauty of Hokkaido.

Zaborin also offers guests the chance to indulge in the healing power of the nearby hot springs. The ryokan has its own private hot spring source, delivering pure, mineral-rich waters to its indoor and outdoor baths. Guests can immerse themselves in the therapeutic waters, experiencing a sense of tranquility and rejuvenation. Additionally, the ryokan’s skilled chefs prepare exquisite kaiseki meals using the finest local ingredients, providing a gastronomic journey that showcases the flavors of Hokkaido.

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