Must-see hotels in Japan

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Lower East 9 Hostel

    Kyoto Station & South Kyoto

    LE9 is a design-savvy hostel in a quiet spot south of Kyoto Station. Dorms come with thoughtful details, while the private twin rooms are a little pricey…

  • 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…

  • Hana-no-ki

    Niigata Prefecture

    If you make it this far, you'll need to find somewhere worthwhile to rest your weary head. Luckily this 150-year-old former farmhouse has been relocated…

  • 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…

  • AYA Niseko

    Niseko

    Not for the budget minded, the AYA Niseko is there when you need to splurge and pamper yourself. Parents will love the kiddie playroom, and heck, they'll…

  • Hotel Iya Onsen

    Shikoku

    If you've got the funds, this is the place to stay. Extremely foreigner-friendly with a multilingual website, a mix of tatami and Western-style rooms,…

  • Shimanto-no-yado Iyashi-no-sato

    Shikoku

    Describing itself as a 'resort-type ecology hotel', this lovely spot out on a hill near Shimoda Port at the mouth of Shimanto-gawa features beautiful,…

  • The Okura Tokyo

    Roppongi, Akasaka & Around

    While the beloved original 1962 hotel has been demolished to make way for a new building (set to open in September 2019), the Ōkura's elegant South Wing…

  • Hinoyama Youth Hostel

    Western Honshū

    Amazing views of the straits and welcoming service make this one of the best youth hostels in western Honshū. You can take a bus from the station to the…

  • Komatsukan Kofu-tei

    Northern Honshū (Tōhoku)

    This classy seaside ryokan has inimitable, understated Japanese style. Elegant rooms are furnished sparingly with high-quality art and homewares. The…

  • New Tomakomai Prince Hotel "Wa~Nagomi~"

    Hokkaidō

    With a Zen-inspired entry and a breakfast that is worthy of spots several times the price, the Prince Nagomi is a true find. Though it has business hotel…

  • Nunoya Ryokan

    Matsumoto

    Few inns have more heart than this simple, traditional charmer, meticulously kept by its friendly owner. The spotless lodgings have shiny dark-wood floors…

  • Kayōtei

    Kanazawa & the Hokuriku Coast

    This opulent ryokan along the scenic Kakusenkei Gorge has only 10 rooms, centred on a delicate garden courtyard. Some rooms have views over the gorge and…

  • Kamikōchi Nishi-itoya Sansō

    Matsumoto & the Northern Japan Alps

    This friendly lodge, west of Kappa-bashi, dates from the early 20th century. The main-building rooms are a mix of Japanese and Western styles. The dorm…

  • Chūō-kan Shimizuya Ryokan

    Nagano Region

    On Chūō-dōri a few blocks south of Zenkō-ji, this ryokan has been in the family for 130 years and offers a friendly welcome to foreigners. The rustic,…

  • Book Tea Bed

    Around Tokyo

    A few steps south of Motomachi port, this hip hang-out has sunny capsule dorms with partial sea views, and smart private rooms with a fridge, safe and TV …

  • Park Hotel Tokyo

    Ginza & Tsukiji

    Kudos to the Park Hotel for commissioning 31 artists to decorate 31 of its 31st-floor rooms. The results are very impressive with all-Japanese themes…

  • Oyado koto no Yume

    Takayama

    You'll be impressed by the friendly, professional staff at this wonderful hybrid of a boutique hotel and a traditional ryokan, whose all-tatami rooms are…

  • Masuichi Kyakuden

    Nagano Region

    Delightful, original, stylish and enchanting: all describe this gem in the heart of Obuse. Twelve rooms – huge by Japanese standards – beautifully…

  • Unplan Kagurazaka

    Kōrakuen & Akihabara

    A standout among Tokyo's new breed of flashpacker digs, Unplan offers comfy dorms in Scandinavian wood tones. The private rooms are very pleasant, and a…

  • Kotobuki Ryokan

    Kagawa Prefecture

    This welcoming ryokan, which has comfortable tatami rooms and warm hospitality, is conveniently situated by the riverside, only a few minutes' walk from…

  • Guesthouse Maruya

    Izu Peninsula

    A terrific budget choice just three minutes from the beach, Maruya rocks a hip open-plan lounge-kitchen fronting a corridor of lockable sleeping capsules,…

  • Mura-no-hoteru Sumiyoshi-ya

    Nagano Region

    This wonderful ryokan, the oldest in town, has a wide range of inviting traditional room types, many with private bathrooms and great views. The communal…

  • Villa Ichinose

    Nagano Region

    In a great spot in front of the Ichinose bus stop, and with English-speaking staff and a friendly atmosphere, this inn is popular with overseas guests…

  • Seikōrō

    Southern Higashiyama

    The Seikōrō is a classic ryokan with a grandly decorated and homey lobby. It’s spacious, with excellent, comfortable rooms, attentive service and a fairly…

  • Hakone Tent

    Hakone

    A sociable hostel run by a team of friendly young staff, Tent offers Japanese-style futon dorms and private rooms in a stylishly renovated ryokan that has…

  • Cottage Inn Log Cabin

    Nagano Region

    As the name suggests, these fully self-contained cabins, in a forested setting five minutes' walk from Naka-Karuizawa Station, have rustic appeal. This is…

  • TOMAR Hostel

    Hokkaidō

    This new hostel offers great service, friendly staff, and dorm bunks that have solid privacy curtains and still smell like fresh cut wood. It's got a big…

  • Magome-Chaya

    Magome

    This popular minshuku (guesthouse) is almost halfway up the hill, just before the Tourist Information Office. Room-only plans are available and English is…

  • Ryokan Marumo

    Matsumoto

    Between Nakamachi and the river, this creaky wooden ryokan dates from 1868 and has lots of traditional charm, including a bamboo garden and a coffee shop…

  • Yufu-no-Oyado Hotaru

    Kyūshū

    This lovely, family-run traditional ryokan is nestled among cypress and bamboo. A variety of onsen make it a lovely spot for dippers, and one of the…

  • Beppu Hotel Umine

    Beppu

    In-room onsen with water views, gorgeous common baths, savvy contemporary design, excellent restaurants and oodles of personal service make this Beppu's…

  • Daisetsu Kōgen Sansō

    Hokkaidō

    Make the most of your foray into the mountains: this inn, only open 123 days each year, is like staying at a mountain hut without having to walk five…

  • Fukuzumirō

    Hakone

    Established in 1890 and lovingly maintained, Fukuzumirō embodies the aesthetics and spirit of a traditional inn. There's intricately carved, original…

  • Hotel Nampūrō

    Kyūshū

    This cheerful, busy resort is the place to stay, especially with kids in tow. English-speaking staff are welcoming, and there's a large family-friendly…

  • Soraniwa

    Okinawa & the Southwest Islands

    For a secluded and romantic experience, head to Soraniwa on the south coast. This small, stylish cafe-hotel is run by a young couple transplanted from the…

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