Must-see hotels in Japan

  • Iwasō Ryokan

    Miyajima

    The Iwasō, open since 1854, offers a grand ryokan experience amid exquisite gardens. There are three wings; a stay in a lovely 'Hanare' cottage will set…

  • Apartment Hotel Mimaru Akasaka

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    Opened in 2018, Mimaru has beautifully designed rooms with fully equipped kitchens and proper bathrooms (no pokey unit baths!). Its apartment studios,…

  • Hōshi Onsen Chōjūkan

    Central Honshū

    Remote, rustic and supremely photogenic, this lodging is one of Japan's finest onsen ryokan, with a stunning 1896 wooden bathhouse. From Gokan Station …

  • Onomichi Guesthouse Anago no Nedoko

    Hiroshima Region

    Within a traditional old wooden house restored as part of an NPO project to give life to vacant dwellings, Anago is a budget option with character. As…

  • Daisetsuzan Shirakaba-sō

    Hokkaidō

    A cross between a youth hostel and a ryokan, this mountain lodge near the lower terminal of the ropeway offers comfortable Japanese- and Western-style…

  • Marukibune

    Hokkaidō

    This unique spot in the Ainu kotan at the southern end of Kussharo-ko is run by Ainu musician Atuy. It has just a handful of rooms decorated with…

  • Hotel Hifumi

    Matsumoto & the Northern Japan Alps

    This compact, family-run establishment extends the feeling of family to its guests and welcomes visitors from around the world. Beautifully designed and…

  • Ōmi-shima Ikoi-no-Ie

    Hiroshima Region

    As young people abandoned the island, an Ōmi-shima family converted a deserted schoolhouse into this boutique guesthouse under the guidance of famous…

  • Citan

    Tokyo

    The Bakurochō area has exploded with flashpacker hostels in the last few years – this is one of the biggest and the best. The trendy young staff are very…

  • Minamikan

    Western Honshū

    A refined inn on the edge of the lake, Minamikan has a choice of 'modern', 'retro' and 'classic' rooms, all with broad views across the water. The top-end…

  • Lamp no Yado

    Kanazawa & the Hokuriku Coast

    Remote Lamp no Yado is a place all its own: a 13-room wooden village beneath a cliff (busy with tour buses, a snack hall and a vast asphalt parking lot)…

  • Matsuya Ryokan

    Nagano Region

    Six generations of the Suzuki family have maintained this traditional inn just inside Zenkō-ji's Niō-mon gate. Look for the statue of Enmei Jizō and the…

  • Fujioto

    Tsumago

    The owner of this unpretentious, welcoming inn speaks some English, Italian and Spanish. It's a great place to have your first ryokan experience, as most…

  • Awanoyu Ryokan

    Matsumoto & the Northern Japan Alps

    Awanoyu Ryokan typifies mountain onsen ryokan (hot-spring inns). Uphill from Shirahone, it has been an inn since 1912 (the current building dates from…

  • Conrad Osaka

    Osaka

    Opened in 2017, the Conrad has injected some much-needed contemporary glamour into Osaka's hotel scene. Occupying floors 33 to 40 of the Festival Tower…

  • Mustard Hotel

    Shibuya & Shimo-Kitazawa

    Mustard is the most exciting of Shibuya's new crop of hotels. The glossy white interior is the work of design firm Tripstar, and there are a variety of…

  • Ryokan Kurashiki

    Western Honshū

    By the canal in the heart of the historic district, this is the best ryokan in town, incorporating several beautifully restored Edo-period buildings. The…

  • Ridge Hotel & Apartments

    Matsumoto & the Northern Japan Alps

    Sophisticated, sexy and stylish, this stunning property has it all, year-round: location, amenities, views. Room types range from the sublime (Western…

  • BnA STUDIO Akihabara

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    Five different artists and artist groups have brought their creative visions to the studio apartments here. Designs are influenced by colourful street art…

  • Hotel Pesquera

    Naha

    New in 2017, this lovable private hotel has simple polished concrete rooms with exceedingly comfortable full-sized beds, ample balconies, functional…

  • Nohga Hotel

    Ueno & Yanesen

    Opened in November 2018, this super-stylish hotel ups the ante on midrange digs around Ueno. Fronted by attractive greenery and with a very pleasant…

  • Share Hotels Hachi

    Kanazawa

    Ecofriendly, communal, arty, funky – it's hard to tell what's hip and what's hype. Either way, this brilliantly located guesthouse will suit those who don…

  • Sanga Ryokan

    Kyūshū

    Deep in the gorge, this romantic riverside ryokan is worth the 1.5km trip from the town centre for peace and pampering. Seven atmospheric common baths (in…

  • Kochi Youth Hostel

    Shikoku

    Sitting along a canal near Engyōjiguchi (円行寺口) Station, this immaculate wood-panelled hostel has simple, comfortable rooms and a welcoming, homely vibe…

  • Prime Pod Ginza Tokyo

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    One of the cheapest places to sleep in chic Ginza is this capsule hotel, which is suitably contemporary in its stylings. For a bit more headroom than in…

  • Worldtrek Diner & Guesthouse Pise

    Nagano Region

    There's lots going on here on the main road up to Zenkō-ji, with mixed and female-only dorms, twin and family rooms, a super-cool cafe and a bar with a…

  • Ancient Hotel

    Nagano Region

    About 10km north of Karuizawa Station, deep in the forest (there's a free shuttle bus!), this beautifully designed hotel blends gracefully into its…

  • Hiroshima Inn Aioi

    Hiroshima

    At this fine traditional inn, kick back in a yukata (light cotton kimono) and enjoy city and park views from your tatami room, or while lazing in the…

  • Echigo-ya

    Central Honshū

    In business for more than 220 years, this charming, family-run ryokan is one of a kind. With only two guest rooms, Echigo-ya provides an opportunity to…

  • Arai Ryokan

    Izu Peninsula

    Long beloved by Japanese artists and writers, this gem of an inn was founded in 1872 and has kept its traditional, wood-crafted heritage. The main bath…

  • Shiraume Ryokan

    Southern Higashiyama

    Looking out over the Shirakawa Canal in Shimbashi, a lovely street in Gion, this ryokan offers excellent location, atmosphere and service. The decor is…

  • Richmond Hotel

    Shikoku

    Kōchi's top business hotel has the spotless, modern rooms and professional service expected for accommodation of this class, plus it's located just off…

  • Address Nozawa

    Nagano Region

    This innovative, centrally located boutique property occupies what was a traditional inn. The new owners have created a space combining Japanese and…

  • Hagi no Yado Tomoe

    Western Honshū

    The finest inn in Hagi, the historic Tomoe offers gorgeous Japanese rooms with garden views and luxurious baths, and beautifully prepared cuisine. Prices…

  • Backcountry Lodge Hakuba

    Matsumoto & the Northern Japan Alps

    Eric and Fumi's place is an extremely friendly spot to stay, away from the rush of resort-town Hakuba and north of most of the in-town action, near the…

  • Sumiyoshi Ryokan

    Takayama

    The kind owners of this delightfully antiquey inn, set in a Meiji-era merchant's house, have been welcoming guests from abroad for years. Some rooms have…

  • Tokusawa-en

    Matsumoto & the Northern Japan Alps

    This marvellously secluded place is in a wooded dell 7km northeast of Kappa-bashi. It's both a campground (¥700 per person) and a lodge, and has capsule…

  • Yanagi-ya

    Beppu

    In a former Meiji-period curative spa, this intimate, dark-wood ryokan makes great use of Beppu's healing waters. Rooms (some with beds, others with…

  • Earthworks Guesthouse & Gallery

    Nagano Region

    Run by Roberto and Rumi in a renovated old farmhouse behind their sensational Earthworks Gallery, this is a wonderful place to stay if you don't mind a…

  • Marunouchi Hotel

    Matsumoto

    It's hard to fault this impressive hotel, occupying a prime spot near the castle. Reasonably priced rooms are refreshingly stylish and comfortable. Deluxe…

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