There’s no more authentic way to experience Japanese hospitality than in a ryokan. While the size and style varies greatly from intimate family-run affairs to luxe hotel-style establishments, you can expect tatami floors, futon beds, Japanese baths and traditional cuisine as standard, and they’re often by a hot spring or onsen. These five bloggers pick out their favourite ryokan stays.

Our panel


Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku, Nakanojo

Chosen by: Robert from Leave Your Daily Hell

“I’ve stayed at dozens of ryokan in Japan, but my favorite is far and away Takaragawa Onsen. Nestled in a ravine in the foothills of the Japanese Alps, this celebrated property straddles a rushing river, along whose banks you can enjoy a bath in a natural hot spring. Takaragawa Onsen is particularly stunning during spring, when the hillsides are painted with cherry blossoms, and in autumn when they’re ablaze with vibrant fall colors.”

If you want to see more hotels in Nakanojo, visit our Nakanojo hotels page.


Koyasan Syukubo Zofukuin, Koya

Chosen by: Margherita from The Crowded Planet

“Koyasan is one of the best magical places in Japan for a ryokan experience. The Koyasan Syukubo Zofukuin is a ryokan housed in a Buddhist temple, offering the charm and comfort of ryokan and the spirituality of temple stays. Japanese-style rooms are spacious, there are shared bathrooms and onsen facilities, as well as a charming garden where guests can enjoy tea. Rates include vegetarian dinner and breakfast. The ryokan is located in the centre of Koyasan, about 20 minutes’ walk from Okunoin Cemetery.”

If you want to see more hotels in Koya, visit our Koya hotels page.


Shuhoukaku Kogetsu, Lake Kawaguchi

Chosen by: Tiffany from Asia Travel Bug

“There’s nothing better than waking up to a magnificent view of Mount Fuji right from your own window! Staying at Shuhoukaku Kogetsu in Lake Kawaguchi is one of the best unique cultural experiences which I had in Japan. I recommend it for the great view, good food and relaxing onsen!”

If you want to see more hotels in Lake Kawaguchi, visit our Lake Kawaguchi hotels page.

Image credit Midori on Wikimedia.


Kurokawa Onsen Yumerindo, Kumamoto

Chosen by: JB & Renee from Will Fly for Food

“Staying at a ryokan is a must when visiting Japan.  They’re best experienced in onsen towns and there are few more idyllic than Kurokawa Onsen in Kumamoto.  Surrounded by mountains and lush forests, we will never forget our stay at Yumerindo, a romantic riverside ryokan with private onsens perfect for couples!”

If you want to see more hotels in Kumamoto, visit our Kumamoto hotels page.


Fji-Hakone Guest House, Hakone

Chosen by: Katie and Ben from Two Wandering Soles

“Staying in a traditional ryokan was on our list of must-do things while traveling in Japan. But the high price tags of many ryokans made our eyes water. After a bit of research, we landed upon Fuji-Hakone Guest House that won us over with its cozy charm as well as its affordable rate. Plus, this small hotel has an outdoor onsen that hotel guests can reserve. One of our most memorable nights was spent soaking in the onsen as snow fell all around us.”

If you want to see more hotels in Hakone, visit our Hakone hotels page.

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