9 Best Hotels and Ryokan Inns for Enjoying the Chugoku Region’s Gourmet Food

The five prefectures of western Japan - Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi - are collectively known as the Chugoku region. If you plan to stay the night here, there are many accommodations where you can have your fill of the region’s famous gastronomical delights that generously use fresh seafood from the Sea of Japan and the Seto Inland Sea. In this article, we will introduce nine such hotels and ryokan inns that are perfect for experiencing the best that Chugoku has to offer.



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9 Best Hotels and Ryokan Inns for Enjoying the Chugoku Region’s Gourmet Food

1. ANA Crowne Plaza Okayama, an IHG Hotel

ANA Crowne Plaza Okayama is very convenient for sightseeing as it is directly connected to JR Okayama Station. It’s just a 2-minute walk from there to the hotel.

Four types of guestrooms are available: Standard, Premium, Suite, and Universal, all of which have simple and modern interiors that are designed to be extremely functional and convenient. The spacious accommodations also boast large windows that allow guests to enjoy the picturesque scenery of Okayama.

When it comes to dining, you can indulge in sumptuous dishes served kaiseki style (multi-course) at the hotel’s Kuriya-sen Japanese restaurant. The meals are all made from the finest seasonal ingredients that have been carefully selected by the discerning head chef, including Okayama’s very own brand of wagyu beef and octopus from the Seto Inland Sea. Be sure to not miss the chef in action at the teppanyaki griddle corner as they prepare these choice ingredients with an expert hand!

Guests have also been raving about the hotel’s breakfast buffet where you will get to taste specialty Japanese dishes incorporating seasonal seafood, fresh eggs, homemade juices, and more.

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2. Ryori Ryokan Tsurugata

Ryori Ryokan Tsurugata is a Japanese-style inn that is convenient for sightseeing around Kurashiki as it’s located at the heart of the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter. The inn building is a traditional merchant residence from the Edo Period (1603 – 1868) and one of the oldest structures in Kurashiki, about as old as the Ohara Family Residence and the Ohashi Family Residence that have been designated as important cultural properties.

There are a total of 11 guestrooms at this ryokan, including rooms with a view of the inn’s large garden and courtyard where a 400-year-old old pine tree grows, as well as rooms housed in a renovated traditional storehouse. When staying at Ryori Ryokan Tsurugata, you can feel the history and traditions of Japan at every turn.

During mealtime, you can enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine made with local Okayama ingredients and the seasonal bounty of the mountains and sea. The restaurant annex even has its own signature dish: sea bream chazuke (sea bream on rice with tea poured over it). It comes with filets of fresh sea bream dipped in sesame sauce, aromatic wasabi, and seaweed. All you have to do is pour hot tea over the bowl and let it steep for a moment. The restaurant’s chazuke is slightly different from the dish’s everyday variety, as it’s characterized by a sophisticated, delicate taste that you can only get at a Japanese inn priding itself on its cuisine.

The inn is also famous for kaiseki meals featuring appetizers, sashimi, soup, boiled or stewed dishes, grilled dishes, deep-fried dishes, and pickled dishes that, besides tasting delicious, also look amazing.

3. Hotel Ofutei

Hotel Ofutei is located in Tomonoura, a place where you can marvel at the picturesque scenery of Setouchi and feel the vibe of a historic townscape created by port facilities that have been preserved since the Edo Period. This inn is also highly acclaimed for its rooftop open-air bath where you can experience a feeling of being one with the sea right in front of you.

There are various unique room types for you to choose from, including a suite with a jacuzzi, a semi-suite room with a “view bath,” and the penthouse Premium Twin, all of which boast a modern Japanese interior design. There’s also a Premium Lounge that can be accessed by guests staying in select rooms where draft beer, a wide array of alcoholic drinks, coffee, soft drinks, sweets, and other treats are all available for free. Make sure to check it out if you decide to stay at Hotel Ofutei!

The hotel houses a number of restaurants. Guests can choose from among Kairi for private dining, the spacious Dining GEN, and Japanese Dining with its unbeatable sea views. You can also choose to dine in your own room. The dishes offered at the hotel mainly incorporate fish and seafood from the Seto Inland Sea, including conger eel, red seaperch, pike conger, and striped jack. If it’s available, though, you shouldn’t miss the chance to try the exquisite "sakuradai" red sea bream, a specialty of Tomonoura that only appears in spring. It can be prepared in many different ways, including as chazuke, simmered, shabu-shabu (parboiled with vegetables), or mixed with rice.

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4. Kinsuikan

Opened in 1902, Kinsuikan is a long-established inn with a history spanning over 120 years. It’s located a 5-minute walk from the Miyajima Pier ferry dock. The Itsukushima Shrine World Heritage Site is also just a 5-minute walk away, putting the inn in a prime location that’s perfect for travelers looking to do a little sightseeing. Here, you will get to admire the beautiful Seto Inland Sea up close, and if you go to the rooftop terrace, you will see the shrine’s grand torii gate that has become the symbol of Miyajima. Stay at this inn to enjoy spectacular sights that make the island utterly unique, including its gorgeous sunsets, the gentle ebb and flow of its tides, and the illuminated grand torii gate at night.

There are nine types of guestrooms available at this inn. If you stay in the special room with a semi-open-air hot spring bath, you can spend a luxurious time relaxing in hot water while gazing at the Seto Inland Sea.

The inn gets all of its hot water from a natural, underground hot spring located on its premises. The spring contains seawater and is said to have a moisturizing effect on the skin. In addition, it keeps your body warm even after you get out of the bath.

The dishes served at the inn restaurant use lots of local ingredients, including vegetables from Hiroshima, Hiroshima beef, and fresh seafood from the Seto Inland Sea. Kaiseki meals are also available, such as the seafood course that will let you taste Setouchi’s seasonal seafood cooked in the most delicious ways possible, and the meat course that highlights Hiroshima beef. If you prefer to have seafood and meat at the same time, then you should order the feast course that includes both.

5. Kasuien Minami

Kasuien Minami is located at Tamatsukuri Onsen that wells up on the banks of Lake Shinji in Shimane’s Matsue City. Believed to be one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, Tamatsukuri Onsen has long been famous throughout the country for its waters, which are said to have a beautifying effect on the skin. The Tamayu River, which flows into Lake Shinji, runs through the center of the hot spring town that is lined with inns, restaurants, and souvenir shops, creating a captivating and utterly charming scenery.

There are various types of unique guestrooms here, including Japanese-style rooms, Japanese-Western style rooms with beds, guest rooms with free-flowing hot spring baths, and special premium rooms, for a total of 100 accommodations. Choose a room based on your travel needs and make the memories of a lifetime.

The well-established hotel restaurant is a great dining choice thanks to its extensive menu. You can try the Japanese sea bass dish that is made by wrapping sea bass from Lake Shinji in thick Japanese hosho paper and then steaming and roasting it to lock in all the delicious flavors. The restaurant’s other specialties include Shimane wagyu steak and abalone steak. For breakfast, enjoy a luxurious buffet spread with more than 50 Japanese and Western dishes that mainly use handpicked, local ingredients such as the clam soup made with clams from Lake Shinji or freshly cooked Nita rice.

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6. Ryotei Yamanoi

Ryotei Yamanoi is another facility located at Tamatsukuri Onsen in Shimane Prefecture.

The inn’s interior and guestrooms have been designed in a traditional Japanese style, creating a calming, tranquil atmosphere.

Here, you can enjoy a soak in hot spring waters while listening to the sounds of a flowing waterfall in the open-air bath for men, or while enveloped in a soothing atmosphere of a bamboo forest in the open-air bath for women.

As for meals, the inn restaurant is famous for its wide array of gourmet kaiseki meals that include blackthroat seaperch shabu-shabu, three types of local meats, steamed abalone seasoned with salt and sake, and Shimane wagyu beef. In the winter, you have to try the meaty snow crab (also known as Matsuba crab). You can have it served in an exquisite kaiseki course that highlights the crab’s sweet and elegant flavors. There are also plenty of local Shimane sake varieties to try out, so if you’re a fan of Japan’s traditional alcohol, then this is the inn for you.

7. Kansuitei Kozeniya

Kansuitei Kozeniya is a long-established inn located in the center of Tottori City, Tottori Prefecture. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the facility to Tottori Station.

With its own sulfate spring on the premises, the inn offers free-flowing hot spring water and a variety of baths including a stone bath, cypress bath, and an open-air garden bath. The corridor leading to the large bathhouse is lined with various trees such as plum or peach, so you can soak in the beauty of Japan's seasons before taking a soak in the hot spring bath.

The guestrooms are spacious Japanese-style accommodations that guarantee a relaxing and unforgettable stay.

The inn restaurant takes pride in its dishes that use plenty of ingredients from the mountains and sea of Tottori. The wagyu shabu-shabu, Japanese Black wagyu sirloin steak, and grilled abalone are also popular. In addition, if you stay here during winter, you have to try the extraordinarily fresh snow crabs.

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8. Mansuirou

Mansuirou is a traditional Japanese inn at Misasa Onsen in Tottori. Misasa Onsen’s name is based on a piece of local folklore saying that if you stay here for three consecutive nights, you will feel invigorated in the morning (“misasa” literally means “three mornings” in Japanese). It is one of the most famous radon hot springs in the world.

You can choose from three types of guestroom suites: the Misasa Luxury Suite, the Misasa Universal Suite, and the Misasa Suite. The penthouse Misasa Luxury Suite that comes with a private open-air bath is especially recommended as it offers a glorious view of the green mountains surrounding the inn.

All of the inn’s meals are served kaiseki style, including the 12-dish basic kaiseki, the small-portion kaiseki, and the "extreme" kaiseki course. The extreme kaiseki course is exquisite and generously uses the specialty ingredients of Tottori like blackthroat seaperch, crab, Tottori wagyu beef, and Mosa shrimp. Mansuirou is also famous for its “seafood stone-grilled dish” that lets you grill spear squid, Japanese tiger prawn, abalone, and other seafood over a hot stone before eating them. Its “cream soup with Mosa shrimps and crab” won the grand prize at a Tottori specialty food contest.

9. Hagi no Yado Tomoe

Hagi no Yado Tomoe, located in Yamaguchi’s Hagi City, is meant to invoke the image of a castle town. About one-third of its vast grounds is occupied by a Japanese garden, which guests can enjoy up close or from their rooms. The garden is lit up at night, creating a magical atmosphere for the enjoyment of all.

There are 25 rooms total at this inn. While most of them are Japanese-style, some are modern Japanese-Western style rooms. The accommodations are spacious to help guests unwind and relax.

During mealtime, guests can enjoy the finest seasonal ingredients cooked the best way possible to ensure that their flavor, shape, and color are all perfect. In spring, you can dine on delicious amadai tilefish straight from the neighboring coast of Mishima. From autumn to winter, you can’t miss the inn’s "modori-katsuo" bonito fish, monkfish, and Hagi's specialty pufferfish, all of which are simply divine!

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Take a Gourmet Journey Through the Chugoku Region

Eating delicious food made from fresh, local ingredients is one of the best parts of traveling, and if you can also do it at a cozy hotel or inn, all the better. We hope that this guide has helped you find a facility like that in time for your next visit to the Chugoku region. Happy travels!


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Chugoku Feature

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

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