9 Best Ryokan Inns in Japan's Chugoku Region for Hot Spring Baths

Located in western Japan, the Chugoku region encompasses the five prefectures of Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi. The area is blessed with diverse natural landscapes, amazing food, and many hot spring "ryokan" inns that preserve the local history and traditions. Here are the nine most recommended ryokan in the Chugoku region for lovers of onsen hot springs!

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9 Best Hot Spring Ryokan in Chugoku

1. Kifuno Sato

Kifuno Sato is located in Yunogo Onsen, a historic hot spring area in northeastern Okayama Prefecture that's full of nature and surrounded by mountains. The inn is centered around flowers and cuisine that soothe the soul. Seasonal flowers are displayed around the ryokan, most of them local mountain varieties. Because Yunogo Onsen is located in a mountainous area between the Seto Inland Sea and the Sea of Japan, it is able to get fresh seafood every morning from various fishing ports in the Chugoku region. While staying at Kifuno Sato, you can enjoy them in many delicious dishes.

The inn boasts a large open-air bath with a stone walkway as well as large baths that overlook a Japanese garden. The medicinal stone sauna kept at a gentle 45°C is also popular for improving the condition of the skin and detoxification.

Guests who wish to enjoy the hot spring baths at their own pace and with added privacy should make use of the inn's private open-air baths or rooms with en suite open-air baths. Various types of rooms are available at Kifuno Sato, but they all combine the luxury of a resort hotel suite with the comfort of a traditional Japanese-style ryokan room, so go ahead and choose the room that best suits your needs for a vacation of a lifetime.

2. Okutsusou

Okutsusou can be found in Okutsu Onsen, Okayama Prefecture - a secluded, riverside hot spring area in a quiet mountain town full of charming, well-established inns. Okutsusou uses alkaline simple hot spring water containing minerals known for making the skin silky and smooth, thus earning it the name "Bijin-no-yu" (Hot Spring of Beauty).

Established 90 years ago, the inn is housed in a tasteful wooden building exuding the splendor of the past that has been recognized as a Tangible Cultural Property of Japan. The Japanese-style and Western-style guestrooms all come with private open-air baths fed directly from the Okutsu Onsen hot spring source.

The “Kagiyu” (key bath) and the “Tachiyu” (standing bath) were built directly on top of the Okutsu Onsen source, so all the water in them comes directly from it. It's said that there are only 20-30 such hot springs in Japan, so if you ever get the chance, please visit this unique ryokan.

The inn pays special attention to the ingredients used in its meals, offering nine courses primarily made from products from Okayama Prefecture and Okutsu. Among them, seasonal choices such as "fugu" blowfish and snow crab served "kaiseki" course style are highly recommended.

3. Hotel Miyajima Villa

Hotel Miyajima Villa is a 1 minute walk from Miyajima Pier, right in front of the arrival terminal for the Miyajimaguchi ferry, making it an ideal base for sightseeing around the island. The inn is meant to feel like “a sophisticated home away from home,” a concept inspired by the question: “What would you expect from a villa stay on Miyajima?” Although it’s the newest hotel on the island, Hotel Miyajima Villa is overseen by Kinsuikan, a long-established hot spring inn established in 1902.

All guestrooms are equipped with beds instead of the futon mattresses that you’d normally find at traditional Japanese inns. That does not take away, however, from their modern Japanese aesthetics, which have been inspired by the traditional townhouses, the sea, and the mountains of Miyajima.

The inn’s open-air baths are unique facilities featuring tatami straw mats and panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea as well as the most beautiful sunset views on Miyajima. The soft and pleasant semi-natural hot spring waters work together with the komeiseki (a slightly radioactive stone used in traditional medicine) to warm your body to the core, giving you the ultimate Japanese hot spring experience.

The inn houses a restaurant where you can enjoy a buffet of creative dishes prepared using local ingredients by the in-house chef. Hotel Miyajima Villa also features a bakery highly regarded for their blueberry bread and hotel-quality sandwiches made from Hiroshima ingredients.

4. Kokian

Kokian is a 10-minute walk from JR Yudaonsen Station. Surrounded by trees, the inn is reminiscent of a mountain villa. Although it’s situated along a major street, once you pass through the inn's gate, you’ll be transported to another world away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The majestic (partly) two-story building, which sits on a spacious tract of land, is decorated in shades of brown, creating a tranquil, relaxed atmosphere. A corridor connects the lobby, where a stone fireplace welcomes guests, to the accommodation building and a well-maintained courtyard.

All 16 rooms are decorated in a modern Japanese style and equipped with terraces as well as open-air baths fed directly from an underground source. It's easy for guests to enjoy luxury and solitude to their heart’s delight at this inn.

The inn’s dishes feature seasonal ingredients unique to Yamaguchi Prefecture. From early October to late March, guests can enjoy a full course meal using natural "torafugu" blowfish, a well-known specialty of Yamaguchi. The menu additionally features a selection of local sake such as Dassai, which pair wonderfully with the food.

5. Ryokan Sansuien

Ryokan Sansuien is a quiet inn surrounded on three sides by the mountains of Yuda Onsen in Yamaguchi Prefecture. The historic building, which has undergone many restorations, is registered as a Tangible Cultural Property of Japan. Originally built as a private villa in the Taisho Period (1912 – 1926), it later opened as a ryokan in 1936.

The inn's highlights include beautiful Japanese gardens and hot spring baths offering magnificent mountain views. Ryokan Sansuien allows guests to enjoy three types of Japanese gardens: an "ike-sen-en" pond garden, a "karesansui" dry landscape garden, and a "roji" tea garden, all of which are skillfully arranged to accentuate seasonal flowers, fresh greenery, and autumn foliage.

The lobby exudes the old-timey atmosphere of the Taisho and Showa (1926 – 1989) periods. There are 14 guestrooms in total, each one decorated in a unique way, including a special room with a private hot spring bath, a room with a view of the pond garden, and a room with a view of a garden path.

The baths are filled with 100% natural hot spring waters from three different high-quality sources that are mixed to create the ultimate bathing experience. The springs have alkaline simple sulfur properties that will warm your body to the core.

The inn’s menu features beautifully presented kaiseki-style dishes made from local, seasonal vegetables and fish such as Yamaguchi Prefecture's famous summer conger eel and winter blowfish.


6. Ikoitei Kikuman

Kaike Onsen, located in Yonago City, Tottori Prefecture, is one of the most famous seaside hot spring areas in the San'in Region which faces the Sea of Japan. The white sands, green pines, and Mount Daisen, the highest peak in the Chugoku region, all come together to provide a wonderful location where you can enjoy the sea and mountainscapes.

At Ikoitei Kikuman, located within Kaike Onsen, you can soak to your heart's content in hot spring water at the men's indoor bath featuring majestic Shikoku bluestone and the women's indoor bath with its arc-shaped red granite fixtures. An open-air bath with pleasant music playing in the background is also available. The high salinity of the hot spring water allows you to enjoy thalassotherapy, where seawater is harnessed to improve and repair the body. High-saline water is also characterized by its excellent heat-retaining attributes.

All rooms come equipped with massage chairs. The inn offers five types of rooms: special rooms with a garden view, special Japanese-Western rooms, superior twin rooms, Japanese-style rooms with a private bath, and Japanese-style rooms without a private bath.

The city of Sakaiminato, Japan's largest producer of crab, is located nearby, allowing the inn to serve plenty of seafood. The ryokan’s abalone and Tottori wagyu beef steaks are also highly recommended, so be sure to try them as well.

7. Yado Shiontei

Yado Shiontei, located at the aforementioned Kaike Onsen hot spring area, allows guests to experience the height of luxury in the privacy of one of its 10 rooms. With buildings showcasing elements of traditional Japanese architecture, a Japanese garden landscaped by a famous gardener, a tea ceremony room using timber from Tottori Prefecture, and an art gallery, guests are constantly surrounded by the unique beauty of Japanese culture while staying at Yado Shiontei.

The inn features two high-class 150-square-meter guestrooms as well as eight spacious premium suites. The high-class rooms offer private indoor baths and garden baths, while the premium suites have semi-open-air baths on the terrace.

For a full hot spring experience, take advantage of the inn's large and spacious private guest bath with an attached lounge, which can be reserved between the hours of 3:00 pm and 12:00 am for only one group of guests per day. Guests who book it can order food and drinks such as champagne and fruit sets after their baths!

The inn serves up Japanese dishes prepared from seasonal ingredients. From fall to winter, guests can enjoy the finest snow crabs from Sakaiminato. Tottori wagyu beef and spiny lobster prepared on a teppan grill are some other popular dishes with guests.

8. Inishie no Yado Keiun

Inishie no Yado Keiun is a luxury onsen ryokan located in Shimane Prefecture, only an 8-minute walk from Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine, one of the most famous shrines in Japan.

All the rooms at Inishie no Yado Keiun are equipped with private baths, some of which are made of cypress. They all impart a relaxing Japanese-style atmosphere. But if you want to enjoy the hot springs to the fullest, we recommend staying at the villa, annex, or suite rooms, all featuring open-air natural hot spring baths. Also, be sure to try the inn's five different types of reservable private baths based on motifs such as lacquer, rocks, silk, bubbles, and the changing of the seasons, as well as its large bathhouse with standing and lie-down baths.

During mealtime, guests can enjoy kaiseki-style cuisine using fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan and other seasonal ingredients. Their popular breakfast consists of one soup and seven dishes such as miso soup with shijimi clams and dried blackthroat seaperch.

9. Tamai Bekkan

Tamatsukuri Onsen is one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, with a history going back 1,300 years. The area surrounding it is known as one of Shimane Prefecture's most famous hot spring regions and is said to make the skin smooth and beautiful.

Tamai Bekkan is located within this hot spring area. At this inn, you can freely enjoy open-air baths with a garden view, fragrant cypress baths, a mist sauna that does wonders for the skin, and five footbaths. Besides a footbath adorned with agate, which is the origin of the name Tamatsukuri (meaning “made from precious stones”), a notable standout is the inn’s bubble footbath.

There are 46 guestrooms in total at the ryokan, with three types of rooms available: Japanese-Western style rooms, modern Japanese-style rooms, and traditional Japanese-style rooms.

The inn’s restaurant takes pride in its kaiseki-style dishes lavishly prepared using local ingredients. Guests can enjoy seasonal delicacies such as Izumo soba noodles, Shimane Koshihikari rice, shijimi clams from Lake Shinji, Shimane wagyu beef, and blackthroat seaperch. We recommend dining at the first-floor lounge that offers views of the inn’s Japanese garden with carp swimming in the pond.

Come to the Chugoku Region If You Love Hot Springs

If you're looking to soak in a large indoor bath or serene open-air bath, there's nowhere better than the accommodations in the Chugoku region that we recommended. Give them a go.


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Chugoku Feature

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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