While you are visiting Japan, why not experience the exquisite hospitality and cuisine wonderfully unique to this country? Japan is full of ryokans, or inns where you can stay in, and soak yourself in the amazing tradition and culture.
Tripadvisor has published a list of 20 best ryokans, all picked by fellow international visitors. We will introduce you to each one of them in this article, to help you find the best place to stay in on your next visit to Japan!
1. Kyoto Cuisine & Ryokan “Shiraume” [Kyoto]
True to its title, this ryokan is famous for their impeccable Kyoto-style meals, prepared with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. Shiraume opened towards the end of the Edo period as a tea room and rigorously maintains its original structure. In front of the building, a pair of plum trees of over 100-year-old will greet you as the symbol of this historical ryokan. Shiraume is also situated in a prime location for sightseeing, it’s a perfect accommodation to enhance your experience in Kyoto.
HP: www.shiraume-kyoto.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: Gion Shinbashi, Shirakawa Hotori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)
2. Ryokan Fujioto [Nagano]
Surrounded by an immaculate garden, this ryokan exudes the atmosphere of the Edo period. Spacious and elegant guestrooms and baths featuring fragrant cypress wood, gourmet meals prepared with local, seasonal delicacies, traditional garden with serene ponds, you will be thoroughly pampered by the old time hospitality and charm.
HP: www.tsumago-fujioto.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: Tsumago, Nagiso-cho, Kiso-gun, Nagano (Google Map)
3. Gero Onsen Fugaku [Gifu]
www.booking.com Surrounded by lush nature, the idyllic stream of Hida river and the majestic Gero mountains, Fugaku offers 22 guest rooms and features one of the best quality hot springs in Japan. You can relax in the exquisite, scenic onsen bath that looks out on the river, and enjoy fresh, local meals served in your own room.
HP: www.gero-fugaku.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 898, Yunoshima, Gero-shi, Gifu (Google Map)
4. Ryokan Sawanoya [Tokyo]tg.tripadvisor.jp
Opened back in 1949, it is a widely loved ryokan despite its smallish size (12 rooms for 20 guests). It futures a cypress bath and a ceramic bath facing a beautiful garden. Rooms are all in traditional style with tatami mats, this ryokan will make you feel like a local of the “Shitamachi”, a charmingly quirky, traditional quarter of Tokyo.
HP: www.sawanoya.com/nihonngho.html (Japanese)
Address: 2-3-11,Yanaka,Taito-Ku,Tokyo (Google Map)
5. Hokkaikan Ohanabo [Kyoto]www.booking.com
Their motto is “A Soothing Inn with the old time hospitality of Kyoto”. Certainly, the guestrooms with the traditional wooden design have a soothing effect, and their bath will embrace you with the deep spirit of Kyoto. At the meal time, you will be treated to the beautifully arranged fresh, local Kyoto style “Kaiseki” delicacies.。
HP: www.ohanabo.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 66-2 Shokuya-cho, Shimo Juzuyamachi Agaru, Akezu Dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)
6. Mutsumikan [Gifu]www.booking.com
Gero produces one of the three most renowned onsens of Japan, with its extra smooth feel to the skin. Mutsumiya features the onsen bath with its famous spring water, along with the elegant, traditional guest rooms which will treat you with a perfect serenity and tranquillity. You can satisfy your taste bud at the meal time with their Kaiseki dinner, featuring Gifu’s lush local products, especially Hida beef.
HP: www.mutsumikan.co.jp/tc/index.html (中文)
HP: www.mutsumikan.co.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: 1167-1 Koden, Gero City, Gifu (Google Map)
7. Hidatei Hanaougi [Gifu]www.hanaougi.co.jpwww.booking.com
Jindai spring gushes out from 1200m/4000ft underground, it feels particularly smooth to the skin and you can immerse yourself in the high-quality onsen in their several baths in different designs and settings. Guest rooms are adorned with locally produced woods, cedar, zelkova etc., which exude the warm, relaxing atmosphere. Meals featuring the highest quality Hida beef and other local products will promise to make your stay even more memorable.
HP: www.hanaougi.co.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: 411-1 Honobu-machi, Takayama-City, Gifu (Google Map)
8. Family Inn Saiko [Tokyo]www.booking.comwww.familyinnsaiko.com
10minutes walk from the Shiinamachi Station, one stop away from Ikebukuro, Family Inn Saiko has always been popular among visitors from overseas. The reason? Friendly, warm hospitality of the staff! They will welcome you and take care of you with kindness and utmost care from the moment of your very first arrival, which have always been appreciated by the guests. They offer traditional rooms in several sizes according to your need with economical rates – another advantage!
HP: www.familyinnsaiko.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 2-34-16 Nagasaki, Toshima-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
9. Yokikan [Shizuoka]travel.rakuten.co.jpwww.booking.com
Established back in 1910, Yokikan features Onsens drawn from two different springs. Its outdoor bath is particularly famous. The curious feature of this ryokan is the 30m/100ft long funicular inside the premises, which climbs up at 45° angle to reach the guest rooms. Meals feature the fresh products of Izu peninsula. The ryokan is full of pure, old-time charm, you can enjoy the retro atmosphere to the max!。
HP: www.yokikan.co.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: 2-24,Suehiro-cho, Ito-shi, Shizuoka (Google Map)
10. Shinshu Hakuba Happo Onsen Shiroumaso [Nagano]www.vill.hakuba.nagano.jptravel.rakuten.co.jptravel.rakuten.co.jp
A perfect hybrid of the modern and the tradition, Shiroumaso offers gorgeous traditional guestrooms with a spectacular view of the Japanese Alps that soothe your soul. Relaxing time can be enjoyed in the natural alkaline onsen bath made of rocks, and you will be treated to an authentic homemade cooking with fresh, mouthwatering local products. In Shiroumaso, you can lose yourself in a timeless zone!
HP: www.shiroumaso.com/chinese/ (中文)
HP: www.shiroumaso.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 5004 Happo Hakuba, Nagano (Google Map)
11. Ryokan Sanga [Kumamoto]www.booking.com
Surrounded by trees, Ryokan Sanga offers the colors and views of four seasons. Their Kaiseki dinner carries a slogan “cuisine that touches your emotions”, and rightfully so, it is loaded with carefully selected Aso’s local delicacies. The guestrooms with varied sizes and amenities, which also include private outdoor bath, are available to suit your personal tastes and needs.
HP: www.sanga-ryokan.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 6961-1 Manganji, Minamioguni-machi, Aso-gun, Kumamoto (Google Map)
12. Maifukan of Gion [Kyoto]www.maifukan.comwww.maifukan.com
Maifukan features 15 traditional guestrooms, 5 modern standard rooms and 1 suite which combines the two styles. Bike rentals are offered which is a fun way to get around Kyoto. Its location is perfect for sightseeing, close to the Kiyomizu-shrine, but also a great lodging to chill in, with its rich amenities such as rooftop terrace, massage service in your room, and AppleTV in every room. Maifukan guarantees a special, memorable experience!
HP: www.maifukan.com/ (Japanese)
Address: Gion Yasaka-jinja Minami-mon-mae, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto (Google Map)
13. Senshinkan Matsuya [Nagano]www.e-obuse.com4travel.jp
Classy, yet warm and cosy… that’s what the beauty of Japanese architecture is all about. And Senshinkan Matsuya represents just that. Their meals which feature the seasonal local delicacies will satisfy not only your taste bud but all five senses. A sense of history is felt when you are in the purely natural onsen bath, which is made entirely of cypress. It is a therapy for your body and soul. Take in the nostalgic atmosphere and let your imagination travel in time!
HP: eihachi.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 2222 Hirao street, Shibu Onsen, Yamanouchi town, Nagano (Google Map)
14. Ryokan Yamashiroya [Oita]travel.rakuten.co.jptripadvisor.jp
Yamashiroya is a picture of an elegant old-time Japanese inn. Enjoy the traditional cuisine featuring Bungo beef, and the scenic bath made with locally crafted ceramic. Their outdoor onsen bath, which can be rented for private occasions, features special logs, which had been seasoned under the hot spring water, a speciality of Yufuin. Guest rooms are all in traditional style, this is a perfect place to savour the beauty of this famous onsen resort Yufuin.
HP: www.e-yamashiroya.jp/cn/index.html (中文)
HP: www.e-yamashiroya.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: 309-1, Yunohira, Yufuin-cho, Yuhu-shi, Oita (Google Map)
15. Issa no Komichi: Biyu no Yado [Nagano]www.expedia.co.jptravel.yahoo.co.jpwww.booking.com
It’s a special experience to enjoy their 100% natural outdoor onsen, with a sweeping view of the surrounding nature. There is also a rooftop onsen exclusively for private rentals. The chef will treat you to a beautifully arranged array of delicacies, such as Shinshu beef steaks and other fresh products. They have several types of guestrooms from which you can choose. Some of them are complete with an outdoor Jacuzzi onsen bath. Biyu no Yado provides a relaxing and cosy private space for each guest, which is appreciated by its guests.
HP: www.yudanakaview.co.jp/ (Japanese)
Address: Yudanaka Onsen, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano (Google Map)
16. Nishimuraya Honkan [Hyogo]www.booking.comwww.nishimuraya.ne.jpwww.nishimuraya.ne.jp
Nishimuraya Honkan is a historical structure which opened 150 years ago. Upon your arrival, a graceful Japanese garden will welcome the visitors. The guest can look out on the garden from all of 34 guest rooms, and enjoy the colors and vista of four seasons. The ingredients for their gourmet meals come both from the sea and the mountains. The bath lavishly features the fragrant cypress, enhancing your moment of relax. Their rooms, baths, cuisine, hospitality, all are impeccable at this vintage establishment.
HP: www.nishimuraya.ne.jp/honkan/top.php (Japanese)
Address: 469 Kinosakicho Yushima, Toyooka, Hyogo (Google Map)
17. Shimaya Ryokan [Nagano]www.booking.comshimaya-yudanaka.comwww.booking.com
Their onsen baths with their 100% natural spring water are open 24hours a day for your enjoyment. They feature three baths, outdoor cypress bath, communal bath and another outdoor bath for private rentals. The local Shinshu beef and fresh vegetables will satisfy your appetite at the meal time. Their 12 guest rooms and warm hospitality will wonderfully make you feel at home.
HP: shimaya-yudanaka.com/ (Japanese)
Address: Yudanaka Onsen Yamanouchi-machi Shimotakai-gun Nagano (Google Map)
18. Salon Haraguchi Tenseian [Kyoto]tripadvisor.jp
Located inside the Maruyama Park and nestled in the lush green, this small but charming and welcoming 100- year-old establishment has just 3 guest rooms. It is full of warmth and comfort, their traditional Kyoto style meals have the touch of homemade cooking. You will be intimately in tune with the lovely lifestyle and hospitality of traditional Japan here.
HP: www.kyotodeasobo.com/stay/hotel/608 (Japanese)
Address: 7-3 Maruyama-cho, Higashiyama-ku,, Kyoto (Google Map)
19. Motonago [Kyoto]
Just renovated in October 2014, Motonago means “ancient city” according to “Manyoshu”, the classic book of a poetry collection. The architecture is rigorously traditional, its 11 guest rooms are designed with solid woods, elegant and spacious. Their Kyoto-style meals are creative and seasonal, true feast both for your appetite and your eyes. A classy ryokan where you will be treated with an exquisite hospitality.
HP: www.motonago.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 511 Washio-cho, Kodaiji-michi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto (Google Map)
20. Sumiyoshi Ryokan [Gifu]
Built around 100 years ago in the true style of Hida architecture, this vintage ryokan is oozing with a nostalgic atmosphere of the bygone era. The interior is decorated with various antique goods. 8 guest rooms are offered, as well as rich local traditional meals served with hearty hospitality. A local morning market takes place in front of the ryokan, and the location is ideal for local sightseeing.
HP: www.sumiyoshi-ryokan.com/ (Japanese)
Address: 4-21, Honmachi, Takayama city, Gifu (Google Map)