15 Best Ryokans Across Japan

Ryokans are different from western-style hotels. From the structure of buildings to the work ethics of staff, you can experience the spirit of Japanese culture at ryokan. We have selected 15 popular ryokans worth a stay while you are visiting Japan.



1.Sawanoya Ryokan (澤の屋旅館), Tokyo  


Sawanoya was voted the most popular ryokan among overseas visitors.  There are many places of interests in the surrounding area: Ueno Park, Tokyo National Museum, National Museum of Nature and Science, Ueno Zoo, and Shitamachi Museum to name the few.

Access: 7-minute walk from Tokyo Metro Nezu Station (Chiyoda Line). 

2-3-11 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo




2. Shimizu Ryokan (志美津旅館), Oita 


This long-standing establishment in Yunohira Onsen area was founded in 1926. The cave grotto spa built with large rocks from the nearby river is stunning, if not mystical.

Access: Take a bus towards Yufuin Ekimae from Oita Airport. It will be an 80-minute bus ride to JR Kyudai Main Line's Yufuin Station. Once you get to Yufuin Station, change to a taxi for a 10-minute ride to the ryokan.  

263 Yunohira Yufuin-cho, Oita

http://www.r-shimizu.jp/ (Japanese only)

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3. Seiryuso (清流荘), Tottori



Seiryuso is located in the tranquil area of Misasa Onsen, where Santoku River flows. Misasa boasts as one of the world's richest radium springs. You can drink its natural spring water.

Access: 45-minute drive from Tottori Airport to JR Kurayoshi Station. There is a pick-up car service from Kurayoshi Station with an 18-minute drive. 

Misasa, Misasa-cho, Tohaku-gun, Tottori

http://www.seiryuso.net/ (Japanese only)

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4. Kyo no Yado Hokkaikan Ohanabo (京の宿 北海館 お花坊), Kyoto


This popular ryokan among many overseas visitors is only 5-minute walk from Kyoto Station. It is conveniently located in front of Higashi Honganji temple. Traditional wooden construction and decor create beautiful space inside the building.

Access: 90 minutes by Airport Limousine Bus from Kansai International Airport to Kyoto Station.  

Shokuya-cho, Shimo Juzuyamachi Agaru, Akezu Dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto


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5. Dogo Yu no Yado Sachiya (道後 湯の宿 さち家), Ehime


Dogo Onsen counts as one of the oldest hot springs in Japan. There are many tourist attractions within the walking distance from Sachiya, such as Dogo Onsen Honkan (main building) , Dogo Park,  and Shiki Memorial Museum. The simple alkaline hot spring has soft, slightly slimy texture.  It contains sulfur and is well reputed to have medical benefits against neuralgia and muscle pains, as well as benefits for the skin.   

Access: 40 minutes by Airport Limousine bus from Matsuyama Airport to Dogo Onsen Station. The ryokan is a 3-minute walk from the station. 

13-3 Dogo Yunomachi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime

http://www.dogo-sachiya.com/ (Japanese only)

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6. Kyomachiya naokonoza Omiya Gojotei (京町家 nao炬乃座 大宮五条邸), Kyoto



This ryokan is located in the north side of Nishihonganji, a World Heritage Site. The area has a traditional ambience with Buddhist craftsmen inhabiting from the olden days.  KYOTO AQUARIUM and another World Heritage Site, To-ji, are both in the nearby walking distance.  

Access: 90 minutes by Airport Limousine Bus from Kansai International Airport to Kyoto Station. 7-minutes by taxi from the station. 

595-145, Kakimoto-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto


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7. Nanki Shirahama Onsen Shirahamakan (南紀白浜温泉 白浜館), Wakayama


This is a traditional, retro-style ryokan with Shirarahama Beach just 30 seconds away. You can therefore feel and breathe in the sea breeze as you bathe in the hot tub. Nanki Shirahama is one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan with a history of approximately 1400 years. The spring water has soft and slimy texture as it contains sulphur and sodium. It is reputed to have benefits for skin.

Access: 10 minutes by taxi from Nanki Shirahama Airport. 

1379 Shiramaha-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama


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8. Shiiba Sanso (椎葉山荘), Saga



5-minute car drive from the city center of Ureshino will take you to Shiiba Sanso. The inn stands by Shiiba River, an ideal setting to feel and absorb what Mother Nature has got to offer all year round. Ureshino Onsen is counted as one of the 3 best hot springs for skin beauty with its spring water containing sodium. Your skin will feel softer and toned after bathing.  

Access: An hour drive from Ariake Saga Airport

Shiiba Otsu, Ureshinomachi Iwayagawachi-aza, Ureshino-shi, Saga

http://www.shiibasanso.com (Japanese only)


9. Ikaho Onsen Yokote Kan (伊香保温泉 横手館), Gunma


Founded in the 18th century, this long established ryokan has the ambience of Taisho era. The spring water of Ikaho is yellow-brown in color and is called the golden hot spring. Its sulfate spring has a reputation of healing women with blood circulation problems. The hot spring gently warms the body and for centuries it has been popular among women who want babies.  

Access: 130-minute ride on Kanetsudo Highway Bus (Joshu Yumeguri-go) from South Exit of Shinjuku Station. Alight at the bus stop: Ikaho Ishidan-gai. 

11 Ikaho, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma



10. Morizuya (城崎温泉 森津屋), Hyogo


The wooden construction of Morizuya provides traditional Japanese setting. It is famous for its cave-style hot spring bath.  Its spring water is said to be beneficial against rheumatism, neuralgia, gastrointestinal disorder, and more.  

Access: 40-minute ride on Zentan Bus from Kounotori Tajima Airport.  Also It takes about 6 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Onsen station. 

417 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka-shi, Hyogo


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11. Katahara Onsen Suzuoka (形原温泉 鈴岡), Aichi


The view of Mikawa Bay is spectacular from this ryokan. The pleasant sea breeze comes through the window as you enjoy the sea view. Not only you can enjoy the view from your room, but also the open-air hot spring bath overlooks the bay and has a splendid view- something Suzuoka takes pride in. You will have a memorable time watching the sun rise or the sun set as you bathe. Spring water of Katahara Onsen is simple alkaline which is said to be good for rheumatism, neuralgia, and joint pain.

Access: 40 minutes on JR Tokaido Main Line Express train from Nagoya to Gamagori Station. Take a taxi to the ryokan from the station, which is about 15-minute ride.  

3-14 Yunada, Kanehira-cho, Gamagori-shi, Aichi

http://www.suzuoka.jp/ (Japanese only)


12. Ryokan Fujioto (旅館藤乙), Nagano


Fujioto is surrounded by a well looked after Japanese-style garden.  You can walk through the garden and watch the carp swimming in the pond. The area prospered as a post-town during the Edo period and there are still reminiscences of the olden days here and there.  

Access: 90-minute by train (Special Express Shinano) from Nagoya to Minami Kiso Station. 

Tsumago Minamikiso, Kiso-gun, Nagano




13. Andon (行燈), Tokyo



Here at Andon you have a stunning view of Tokyo Skytree from the rooftop terrace as it is only 2.4km away. Andon runs various cultural workshops for overseas guests like tea ceremony, flower arrangement, origami, and many more. All the staff are fluent in English and will always go the extra mile to please the guests. 

Access: 5-minute walk from Minowa Station. 

2-34-10 Nihonzutsumi, Taito-ku, Tokyo


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14. Taketoritei Maruyama Arima Onsen (竹取亭円山 有馬温泉), Hyogo




Situated on the highest altitude in the Arima Onsen area, the ryokan adopts a thematic concept of the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, an old Japanese folklore. Hot springs at Arima Onsen are one of the oldest of the kind in Japan. There are two types of hot springs: Kinsen, the gold spring, which is yellow-brown in color, and Ginsen, the silver spring, with no color.  Here at Taketoritei you can enjoy both types. There are many bathing areas within the premises with public baths and 4 private baths which can be reserved in advance.

Access: 15-minute walk from Arima Onsen Station (Kobe Electric Railway). Alternatively, call the ryokan for a free pick-up car service from the station.  

1364-1 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo


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15. Onsen Roman no Yado Yunokaku Ikedaya (温泉浪漫の宿 湯の閣 池田屋), Hokkaido


Ikedaya is a spacious, pleasant traditional inn. It is surrounded by leafy trees and you can enjoy different sceneries throughout the year at 3 open-air hot spring baths within the Japanese-style courtyard. The spring water that fills the baths are straight from the water source. The water is rich in acid sulfur that has strong antibacterial effects and is beneficial against chronic dermatitis.  

Access: 66km by car on National Route 243 from Memanbetsu Airport

2-chome Kawayuonsen, Teshikaga-cho, Kawakami-gun, Hokkaido

http://www.ikeda8.jp/ (Japanese only)

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

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