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The 42 Best Boutique Hotels and Luxury Ryokans in Japan

Article | April 24th, 2021 | Lukas Leiffer
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Japan is truly a beautiful land with fascinating cities like Kyoto and Tokyo as well as unique gems like Tohoku and Shikoku. Exploring these amazing destinations becomes easier when you book the best boutique hotels in Japan for your accommodation.

Luxury ryokans in Japan offer the chance for tourists to travel with comfort, relaxation, and a touch of tradition. The best hotels will be those that match your style of travel. This is why we have picked all sorts of different hotels that can accommodate pretty much any kind of traveler.

We have curated a list of the best boutique hotels in Japan through a combination of feedback, reviews, and first-hand experiences. The incredible boutique experiences and lovely Japanese inns below will definitely charm you enough to go on a trip.

WHAT IS RYOKAN?

Ryokans are traditional Japanese inns that have communal baths and rooms with tatami mats. Visitors may be able to wear yukata and converse with the owner in some of the public areas of the inn. The ryokans have been a part of Japanese culture since the 8th century A.D. The oldest hotel in the world was developed in the Keiun period in 705 A.D. called the Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan.

42 BEST BOUTIQUE HOTELS AND LUXURY RYOKANS IN JAPAN

1. CROSS HOTEL SAPPORO IN SAPPORO

The Cross Hotel in Japan is a modern and sleek tower made with white and gray blocks along glass panels. The striking look of the hotel is just the start; when you enter, you notice that the dark, sexy vibe continues. The lounge feel of the lobby with the dim lighting really sets a tone for the hotel. Agora Restaurant is known for its delicious Japanese food with a modern twist and serves locally grown produce with yummy cocktails too. They also have a sleek Meet Lounge that is adorned with metal chandeliers, pops of color, and a black bar.

There are three types of rooms in the hotel, each with its own theme and decoration: Urban, Hip, and Natural. The boutique feel of the hotel rooms exudes comfort with soft colors, wood paneling, and relaxing furniture. Every room is packed with amenities, especially the Cross Floor rooms that come with local hard cider and hand-grinders for fresh coffee. There are traditional baths on the top floor that all guests can use.

2. KURAMURE IN OTARU

The Kuramure hotel is where luxury meets the simple comfort of nature. Looking out at the beautiful scenes and the fresh air can be a truly relaxing experience. Each of the 19 hotel rooms is designed with careful precision. You will spot antiques from the Ming Dynasty and Li Dynasty in the room as well as traditional Japanese architecture and décor. The permeable Japanese paper is used for the walls, which is better for your health. It can be quite a meaningful time in one of the rooms at Kuramure.

Surrounded by the freshness of the local forests and mountains, the local seasonal food cooked with Kaiseki style tastes even more exquisite. The Asari River has also blessed the hotel with a natural hot spring that can help you heal from deep within.

3. FURANO HOTEL IN FURANO

Every room offers a scenic view of Mt. Tokachi, the rising sun, and open freshness. All rooms have a traditional Japanese style and exude comfort and relaxation. The Furano hotel has a garden where they grow fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs to create the stunning dishes they serve in their restaurant. The garden also has beautiful marigolds and cherry blossoms in the spring and roses and lavender in the summers. The Furano hotel is built near Mt. Tokachi and has one of the best hot springs in the region. The hot spring comes from deep within the ground and is packed with minerals.

4. TAKINOYA IN NOBORIBETSU

The calming style of the rooms combines Western sophistication with Japanese elegance. Each room has comfortable furniture, traditional décor, and soothing colors that allow guests to relax easily. The fresh views of the forest, surrounding mountains, and fresh air truly make this hotel the best for a getaway.

Takinoya has hot spring baths that allow you to soak in the high-quality hot water and the clear air coming from the forest surrounding the hotel. The Kumoi No Yu springs are on the top floor that has views of the amazing forest, while the basement Jien no Yu is in the quaint garden surrounding by beautiful trees.

The cuisine served at the hotel is a mixture of mountain food and fresh seafood inspired by the Kaiseki style of cooking.

5. NIPPONIA HOTEL HAKODATE MINATOMACHI IN HAKODATE

The Nipponia Hotel Hakodate Minatomachi is in the Red Brick Warehouses district. The VMG hotels are all designed to preserve traditional buildings, and this hotel is no different. It is right by the Hakodate Canal that you can enjoy the view of. The warehouse building has been restored and turned into a comfortable, relaxing hotel. With great rooms and even better views, being surrounded by the sea and the mountains can completely change your life. The town is blessed with the most delicious food with typical dishes revolving around tuna, crabs, and squid.

This is one of the best boutique hotels in Japan because it is definitely a memorable experience that offers culture, traditions, and comfort.

6. FUFU NIKKO IN NIKKO, JAPAN

Fufu Nikko is surrounded by peaceful, pristine mountains that are flowing rivers and brisk breezes. The amazing waterfalls and lush trees offer a refined experience unlike anything else. Every guestroom has elegant and modern furnishing and colors. Each room has a private hot spring bath that you can let out all the tension in. Soaking up the natural minerals of the Tamagawa can be a wonderful experience.

The Setchu Restaurant is set on the bank of a beautiful river surrounded by trees that make each dish even more special. Every dish is made with seasonal fresh ingredients and is a true delicacy.

7. AUBERGE HANABUSA NIKKO IN NIKKO, JAPAN

The Auberge Hanabusa Nikko is nurturing and calming since it is located in the natural beauty of Nikko. Surrounded by the Nikko Mountain Range and the Kirifuri Plateau, it is the meeting point of Western culture with Eastern cultures like the Shinkyo and Nikko Toshogu. There are 6 different buildings that have their own unique features where you can relax and enjoy. The private space is designed to uplift you physically and mentally. Each room has a private Jacuzzi and garden where you can let all the tension in your body drift away.

Dinner is served at 18:30, and every plate of food is an exquisite experience that captures the best of the local ingredients.

8. K5

K5 is known for comfortable rooms, delicious food, rich coffee, and a fun bar. Each room has a fresh and relaxing vibe with plants, cozy colors, wooden features, and soft beds. There are five types of rooms in different ranges of luxury that you are sure to love!

The Kabi restaurant has truly become a staple in the Tokyo food scene. It celebrates the diverse cuisines of Denmark, France, and Japan that results in some of the most fascinating dishes. And if you love coffee, you will definitely fall in love with the Switch Coffee stand in the hotel that offers rich, freshly brewed coffee to refresh you completely.

9. THE TRUNK HOTEL IN TOKYO

The Trunk Hotel’s design revolves around living true to yourself without any pressures but with a social purpose. The design and interior of the hotel are truly elegant and beautiful. The boutique hotel is built to exude the lifestyle and energy of Shibuya city. People are able to spend their time in the hotel as comfortably as possible. The Trunk kitchen offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with well-balanced meals. The delicious seafood dishes in the cozy space and great interior really make a difference.

10. AZABU TEN TOKYO IN TOKYO

Azabu Ten Tokyo is the best place to spend time with yourself in a calming place of solitude. The ambiance of the hotel allows you to put yourself first and just enjoy the beauty of your surroundings before anything else. The hotel offers you a fresh start with a combination of European elegance and strong Japanese tradition. Each of the 10 hotel rooms has its own color, theme, and character. They are spacious, stylish, comfortable, and chic. Each room comes with its own amenities to ensure that you have a great experience.

The Cassina IXC Restaurant offers a yummy blend of Western and Japanese food. The delicate dishes from the Nouvelle cuisine made with traditional Japanese techniques are impressive. You can enjoy the full course menu along with an à la carte food that includes tempura and sushi.

11. HOTEL GAJOEN TOKYO IN TOKYO

The Hotel Gajoen Tokyo is definitely one of the best boutique hotels in Japan and is just overflowing with luxury, elegance, and tradition. The enchantment of the galleries that have pre-Japanese war art depicting the rivers and tranquil gardens are just the opener for the hotel. The hotel has 8 different types of rooms, from the Executive suite to the luxury room. There are two lounge areas, Executive and Library, where you can relax and work.

With 8 restaurants, you can indulge in cuisines from all over the world, from steaks and grilled meats to delicate Japanese foods. They also have 25 banquet halls and rooms that are perfect for hosting any type of event, conference, or business meetings.

12. KIMPTON SHINJUKU TOKYO IN TOKYO

The Kimpton Shinjuku Tokyo is inspired by the fashion and art scene of New York. Every time you visit, there will also be something new to experience and see, just like art galleries. They host pop-ups and art exhibitions routinely, which can be quite a fun scene. The hotel is in the bustling district of Shinjuku but offers peace in the middle of it all with a terrace bar, luxury rooms, and great service.

The Jones Café and Bar in the hotel is also a true delight. They serve perhaps the best espresso in the area as well as delicious craft beer. The food is known for its delicate and delicious taste that completely suits the cozy ambiance of the restaurant.

13. NIWA HOTEL TOKYO

Hotel Niwa Tokyo offers a serene environment where you can come to relax. It is situated between the Jimbocho Antiquarian Bookstore and the Tokyo Dome City, with train stations near walking distance. They offer free WIFI across the property that is wonderful whether you are on a business trip or one of leisure.

The spa baths in every room offer a chance to release all the stress of the day as well as free massage chairs in the lobby. There are 5 types of rooms to choose from, each with its own set of amenities and luxuries. The staff is also quite amazing and accommodating of the guests.

The hotel has two dining options: Lieu and Yukuri. Lieu has French-inspired dishes with premium cuts of meat, seasonal vegetables, and fresh seafood. Yukuri has authentic Japanese food with local Sake that tastes even better while taking in the view of a beautiful garden and stream.

14. THE GATE HOTEL ASAKUSA KAMINARIMON BY HULIC IN TOKYO

The Gate Hotel by Hulic in Tokyo is known for comfort, elegance, and fine dining. They have 6 types of rooms, each with Slumberland mattresses, air injection technology, radiance showers, fresh Nespresso coffee, nightwear, comfy robes, and all-natural bathroom amenities.

The Restaurant and Bar has an amazing view of the Tokyo skyline, with the Tokyo Skytree has a prominent view. It offers Western cooking with quality liquor and fresh ingredients that come from around the world. You can take in the exquisite view on the terrace or check it out from the comfort of the inner lounge.

15. GORA HANAOUGI IN HAKONE

The Gora Hanaougi is one of the best ryokans in Japan. It is a healing getaway that has a huge garden with seasonal plants that bring in the fresh air. The Japanese style of the hotel with the chandelier of a thousand lattice pieces welcomes you to the building. The tatami mat design is comfortable, especially with the Irori Japanese heart lit with Jindai Zelkova wood.

Each room has an open bath where you can enjoy the view of the surrounding Hakone Mountains as you let your tensions go in the hot water; the luxurious hot spring does wonders when it comes to relaxation. It is known as an alkaline hot spring known for the high spring quality that is really good for your skin. The restaurant has a sunken Kotatsu and quite delicious food.

16. RYUGUDEN IN HAKONE

Ryuguden is right on the shores of the beautiful Lake Ashi with the soothing sight of Mt. Hakone in front. The spectacular views offered by Mt. Fuji from the spacious rooms can be a life-changing experience. There are plenty of things to visit in the neighborhood, from the Komogatake Ropeway to the fun aquarium.

Each of the 24 rooms in the hotel has a majestic view of the lake and mountains. The tatami mats in the room create a dynamic aesthetic that looks perfect with the view. You can enjoy the karaoke rooms or relax in the authentic hot springs in the hotel. There is also a playroom which is perfect for families who are visiting.

The Kaiseki menu in our restaurant is perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Fuji restaurant offers delicious hot pots and classic rice bowls. The Ho-O restaurant offers fine dining created by some of the best chefs in the world.

17. ATAMI FUFU IN ATAMI

The Atami Fufu hotel is inspired by the warm Sea of Japan since the area is blessed with plenty of hot springs. The hotel is surrounded by calming trees with the salty scent of the sea in the air. The Atami history of hot springs is 1,000 years old and is truly incomparable when you are sitting in that environment.

They offer delicious Japanese food in the Yumeoto restaurant, where you can hear the bubbling and sizzle of food cooking even before the delicious scents hit you. The local seafood is truly the star of the show in every dish.

18. ONSENJI YUMEDONO NEAR MT. FUJI

Luxurious ryokan Fuji Onsenji Yumedono is situated 500 meters away from Lake Kawaguchiko. The main features of this hotel are the traditional Japanese cuisine that you get served in the dining area, the suites that have hot springs in the rooms, and, of course, the garden.

When it comes to travel to and from the hotel, it is situations just 15 minutes away from Kawaguchiko Train Station. Both Oishi Park and Nagasaki Park are 10 minutes away via taxi. They offer incredible views of the beauty of Mount Fuji. Karaoke facilities are also available for guests and are about 5 minutes away.

With private hot-spring baths (onsen) outdoors, suites here are fitted with flat-screen cable TVs as well as DVD players. One can even find hairdryers and a luxurious bathtub in the private bathroom.

Massages can be requested for an extra cost.

Served at the dining area, a Japanese breakfast and a multi-course dinner of local specialties are served to guests with a meal plan.

19. ASAMA ONSEN KIKUNOYU IN MATSUMOTO

The Asama Onsen Hotel is a huge part of the history of the Shinshu Matsumoto. The Kikunoyu is a wooden inn that still holds a lot of the traditional structures of the main building that was built in 1884.

The Kaiseki food has seasonal, fresh ingredients that envelop you with the unique taste of Japanese cuisine. The meals are created to pay homage to the different flavors of the four seasons. You will be able to enjoy true delicacies of the land such as horse sashimi and river or sea fish. The hot springs in the hotel offer a chance to relax like no other in the area. It has alkaline water that is really great for the skin and can be used by children and elders, too, without worries about irritation.

20. RYOKAN ASUNARO IN TAKAYAMA

The Asunaro Inn is a 200-year old building made with timber wood in Keyaki style. They offer a cozy, welcoming environment with warm hospitability that is the mark of Japanese culture. Ryokan Asunaro is built on a preserved property with traditional Japanese architecture techniques such as no use of nails.

The rooms are comfortable, elegant, and full of amenities. If you go for the Deluxe room, you will even be able to use the Irori, which is a traditional Japanese heater.

The Asunaro offers Hida regional cuisine with traditional Hida beef, steamed dishes, grilled fish, rice, tempura, sashimi, and dessert. Depending on the seasonal ingredients that are being used, the menu can change frequently.

The hot springs are designed to heal the body from inside. It provides relief from fatigue and uses aromatherapy through Japanese cypress scents for the bath.

21. HONJIN HIRANOYA KACHOAN IN TAKAYAMA

The classic tatami mats in the rooms offer a relaxing comfort to all guests at the Honjin Hiranoya Kachoan hotel. You will have plenty of amenities to take advantage of, as well as great tourist places nearby like the Takayama Monumentam, Jinya Morning Market, and even the Honoki Daira Ski Resort. You can see the beautiful Hida mountains in the daytime and gaze at the millions of stars at night.

The hot springs indoors provide refreshing steams and soothing vibes. The sauna also offers the chance to let out all the toxins in the body. The meals offered are specially designed by the head chef to bring you high-quality taste with seasonal seafood.

22. KANAZAWA SAINONIWA HOTEL IN KANAZAWA

The Kanazawa has a rich 400-year-old history of prosperity, elegance and beauty; the Kanazawa Sainoniwa Hotel is inspired by all these rich qualities. They have luxurious rooms with private kitchenettes that are the best rooms for longer stays.

They have four different Japanese gardens that truly capture the outstanding beauty of the Kanazawa area. With soothing water sounds and beautiful trees around you, you can’t help but relax. There are also open-air baths with a view of the garden to please you. The water comes from the natural tap of Mt. Hakusan basins.

23. KOKARIAN IN KANAZAWA

The Kokarian hotel has 4 types of hotel rooms: wood rice, Kutani, Yoshidaya, and Red painting. They have open-air baths where you can enjoy the fresh air as you let all your fatigue wash out in hot water.

They are known for their delicious food that people from all over come to taste. They celebrate the Sea of Japan by highlighting the best of seafood, such as yellowtails and Hokuriku crabs. These delicate snow crabs of Japan are truly a delicious item that will be worth the trip.

24. KYOTO GRANBELL HOTEL IN KYOTO

The Kyoto Granbell hotel blends modern style with traditional, transforming the location with Gion style. Top craftsmen of traditional Kyoto have designed rooms that exude the unique beauty and traditions of Kyoto and Gion. You can take advantage of the free fresh coffee and Wi-Fi to relax and just enjoy the architecture of the hotel.

Start your day the right way with the Western and Japanese breakfast buffet with unique dishes such as the Obanzai. There is also a public bath in the Japanese garden where you can just breathe in the gardens and relax.

25. NAZUNA KYOTO NIJO-JO IN KYOTO

The Nazuna Kyoto Nijo-jo hotel is named after the Nijo Castle in the neighborhood. This Ryokan inn is known for its soothing tea and authentic Japanese rooms that have modern comforts too. They have five suites, each with its own tea theme, private open-air baths, and comfy futons. You can enjoy a delicious breakfast every morning at Nazuna, where the focus is to highlight the local cuisine made in Iroris.

26. WUZ KAMOGAWA IN KYOTO

Right at the entrance, you will see the weeping red cherry trees that will definitely turn your vacation around to relaxation. The Wuz House is built in a quintessential townhouse that overlooks the beautiful Kamo river. They have an amazing courtyard with fresh flowers and plants that are the best place to meditate. The best part is that there are thousands of shrines and temples in the area that you can explore.

27. LA VIOLA IN KYOTO

The La Viola hotel brings Kyoto’s culture to each guest and offers private luxurious rooms. They have a delicate system by which they have selected the furniture of each room so that it feels more like a showroom for elegant, fancy furniture. They feature light meals and sake in the lounge that you can enjoy or even have a party at the bar in the hotel. You can take advantage of the free beer and ice cream offered to all guests staying in the hotel!

28. KYOTO SHIJO TAKAKURA HOTEL GRANDEREVERIE IN KYOTO

The Kyoto Shijo hotel offers high hospitality and grand experiences of the city. There are only 16 rooms in the hotel, but each has an impeccable design that offers comfort, rich colors, and elegant Japanese architecture.

29. KYOKOYADO MUROMACHI YUTONE IN KYOTO

The Kyokoyado Muromachi Yutone hotel is built on a street that was created in the Muromachi period and still retains the same level of historic elegance as it once did. The small Kyoto townhouse is the best place for a getaway because it offers calmness and luxury in one go. Enjoy the delicious Kaiseki dishes by their head chef, Yamada, who has devoted his life to creating aromatic, fresh food with local ingredients.

30. HOTEL KANRA IN KYOTO

The name “Kanra” means an “experience of Kyoto,” so it’s no wonder we have it on our list as one of the best boutique hotels in Japan. The hotel is inspired by the Machiya style that makes use of wood, iron, and stone in the unique technique and style of Kyoto. They are known for their expert dishes of Wagyu beef with local sake from the Kyoto breweries. They also make over 150 kinds of pizzas and dishes in the built-in kiln.

31. HOTEL MUME IN KYOTO

The Mume hotel is a beautiful boutique hotel built along the Shirakawa River. Each of the seven rooms has been decorated with antique furniture from all over the world. All rooms are made with Karakami paper directly from the famous 400-year-old Karacho shop that is known to be the only one who makes authentic Karakami paper anymore.

32. THE GENERAL KYOTO IN KYOTO

The General Kyoto has 5 buildings, each with its own features, functions, and style: Bukkoji Fuyacho, Takatsuji Fuyacho, Bukkoji Tominokoji, Takatsuji Takatsuji, and Yamatooji. They also have two bars where guests can enjoy sake, cocktails, and Japanese whiskey.

33. HARMONIE EMBRASSEE OSAKA IN OSAKA

The Harmonie Embrassee Osaka hotel is focused on uplifting their neighborhood to make sure that the entire community benefits from their hotel. They offer 4 concept rooms that are inspired by different themes where you can surely relax. The Rayon restaurant has dishes by some of the best chefs in the country, while the Charmant is a fun party room with a sophisticated and elegant atmosphere.

34. NIPPONIA HOTEL NARA MACHI IN NARA

The Nipponia Hotel has all the charm of surrounding Nara city and truly celebrates the birthplace of the delicious sake with gusto. It is built in the old brewery house and still has the same charm that leaves you feeling relaxed enough to enjoy the moment. They have 8 rooms with their own design and themes with high ceilings, exposed beams, and fun alcoves. The Luang restaurant offers a true gastronomical experience that allows you to enjoy the sake.

35. NOBORIOJI HOTEL NARA IN NARA, JAPAN

The Noborioji hotel in Nara is a luxury hotel with 14 rooms where guests can truly unwind. The elegant boutique is nestled among the World Heritage Sites of Nara and blends in well with the greenery in the area. It is known for the picturesque meals it offers with fresh seasonal ingredients and special desserts inspired by French and Japanese cuisine.

36. SHIKITEI IN NARA

The Shikitei hotel was built 100 years ago and has established itself as an amazing hotel in Nara. The building maintains the shrine/temple style that looks amazing in the calm and beautiful landscape. The cuisine of the hotel is inspired by the Kaiseki tea and makes use of the Akahada ware from the 7 Enshu kilns.

37. BENESSE HOUSE IN NAOSHIMA

The Benesse house is definitely built in a unique way on the beautiful island of Naoshima. It offers a full experience of art, nature, gentle sleep, and museums. You can stay in one of the four different locations, each with a different style: Oval, Museum, Park, and Beach. Museum and Park have their own restaurants that offer delicious food made from Setouchi local ingredients

38. GUNTû IN SETO INLAND SEA

The guntû restaurant is a beautiful floating hotel on the Seto Sea. The name comes from the indigenous blue crab of the region and is a subtle delight on the sea. It has 19 cabins that offer cozy spaces built by the famous Yasushi Horibe. The gentle sounds of the waves with the simple yet elegant built of the ship is a true wonder. They also have 5 restaurants that have different specialties: Washoku, Yashoku, Sushi, Lounge, Café and Bar.

39. THE CHELSEA BREATH IN TAKAMATSU

The Chelsea Breath restaurant in Takamatsu offers open air and breeze with a gentle environment to warm your heart. Each of the 33 rooms offers healing in a stylish space. They have a healing room, lounge, library, and spa as well as hot springs for ultimate comfort. While all their meals are fantastic, you will be talking about the hearty breakfast for years to come.

40. IWASO IN MIYAJIMA

The Iwaso celebrates the 1400-year history of the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima. It has four hotel room types that celebrate Japanese architecture and design: Kimputei, Shukintei, Ryumontei, and Senshintei. Their meals are also quite exquisite with master techniques and fresh ingredients that utilize all 5 senses.

41. WITH THE STYLE FUKUOKA IN FUKUOKA

The Style Fukuoka hotel offers an extraordinary stay right in the center of the city but away from the hustle and bustle. There are 16 different luxury stays where you can relax and rewind. The restaurant has an open kitchen where you can see the chefs creating beautiful Italian dishes.

42. SANKARA HOTEL & SPA IN YAKUSHIMA

The Sankara Hotel and Spa has the relaxing vibe of the island and the ancient rainforest in the surroundings to set you off on vacation the right way. It is built on a hill that overlooks the sea and is truly the perfect place to refresh yourself in a modern, chic-styled hotel.

CONCLUSION

We hope our list of best boutique hotels and ryokans in Japan will help you the next time you are planning a vacation. Any of the hotels above will delight, refresh, and calm you!


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