Top 5 Ryokan in Japan

Best Ryokan in Japan

As promised during our introduction to the Japanese ryokan, we’re back with a rundown of some of the best ryokan in Japan.

Ryokan can certainly vary in quality and price. And when it comes to top ryokan, you will definitely be paying a top price for a quality. With so many great ryokan to chose from, we tried to pick a few of the best from different locations throughout Japan.

So here is our top 5 picks for Japanese ryokan!

Hiiragiya Ryokan

Hiiragiya Ryokan Kyoto

Hiiragiya is as exquisite as it is expensive. Located in the heart of old Kyoto it offers the best in traditional Japanese accommodation.

Beautifully decorated and with the finest quality kaiseki cuisine, the Hiiragiya is sure to impress. From the staff to the views, everything is as close to perfection as you can get in a ryokan.

Iwaso Ryokan

Best Ryokan Japan - Iwaso Ryokan

While Miyajima island may be off the traditional tourist route, the Iwaso Ryokan is must see if you’re in the area.

The ryokan is over 150 years old and situated in the beautiful Momijidani Park. Outstanding views of maple and bubbling brooks are only a shoji screen away.

Staying is this ryokan will definitely make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Just leave your Samurai sword at the door :)

Hoshi Hokuriku

Hoshi Ryokan Japan

If you’re going to stay in any ryokan you may as well make it the oldest one in Japan.

Hoshi (Houshi) Ryokan is more than 1,200 years old and has been operated by the same family for over 46 generations. It’s situated in the hot-spring village of Awazu on the slopes of Mount Hakusan which makes for some wonderful yukata-clad strolls during the evening.

Its claim to fame are the large outdoor hot spring baths and the health-giving powers of their salty water. The waters are reported to cure anything from obesity to regular constipation. Let’s just hope the cures occur after you’ve left the hot-spring :)

Ginza Yoshimizu – closed

Ginza Yoshimizu Ryokan

While Tokyo may not be know for its ryokan, Yoshimizu does a great job of giving you a taste of the traditional inns you’ll find throughout Japan.

Yoshimizu is conveniently located amongst the hustle and bustle of Ginza. And while it’s surrounded by department stores, it still delivers a peaceful environment.

If you’re in Tokyo and you don’t want to break the bank on accommodations, Ginza Yoshimizu will be be your best bet.

Update: It now appears that the Ginza Yoshimizu has been closed since July 2011. I have no idea if they’re planning on reopening it, but with the amount of time that has gone by, it doesn’t look good. I will have to add a new Tokyo ryokan to my list now :)

Asaba Ryokan

Asaba Ryokan

While Asaba may be a bit off the beaten path, this remarkable ryokan is located in the tranquil onsen village of Shuzenji. You are taken back in time as you walk through the remarkable Mon gate and follow the pebbled Genkan path to this 1675 Japanese inn.

The landscape is breathtaking and provides a perfect backdrop for the Gekkeiden Noh stage where you can catch one of the many famous plays.

Honorable Mention


Tawaraya Ryokan Japan

Founded over 300 years ago, this ryokan is one of the oldest inn in Kyoto. In Tawaraya you find luxury and tranquility in full measure.

Along with a beautiful moss and bamboo garden, you will enjoy a world class meals and outstanding hospitality. It’s no wonder so many famous people have chosen to stay in Tawaraya when visiting Kyoto.

The reason why this ryokan is an honorable mention is because I’ve noticed the reviews have started to slip during 2010. Perhaps it’s just a blip and it will return to its top form shortly.

While it’s pretty near impossible to narrow down top Japanese ryokan into only 5 choices, we hope you’ll agree that these are some of the best.

If you a favorite ryokan to stay at, we’d love to hear about it!

Photo credits – Splash photo by: Stefan.

7 Responses to “Top 5 Ryokan in Japan”

  1. KashiwayaRyokan  on August 13th, 2010

    There many Ryokans in JAPAN. We are a Japanse style small hotel with casual taste.
    Kashiwawaya Ryokan in Gunma-pref.

  2. Travis  on August 13th, 2010

    Looks like a beautiful place, Kashiwawaya. I may have to check it out when I’m there :)

  3. Pommy  on August 19th, 2010

    Stayed at Hiiragiya Ryokan and enjoyed it very much; two weeks will be at Ginza Yoshimuzu and we look forward to its peace in the city.

  4. lolita  on October 10th, 2010

    Hmm Their are nice place.I’ve never seen before. Well could you suggest surrounded by natural and has private onsen ryokan please.

  5. Travis  on October 10th, 2010

    How about I make my next article about ryokan in natural surroundings with an onsen? :)

  6. Farkov  on April 10th, 2014

    I can’t take this article seriously when it fails to mention Asadaya in Kanasawa…

  7. Travis  on April 30th, 2014

    Sorry I don’t know about Asadaya. I guess that’s a problem when you have thousands of places to choose from :) Now I’ll have to research it.

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