Once a sleepy fishing village, now a huge metropolis ranging from a densely packed core to sprawling intimate neighborhoods.
1-3-18 Chuo-cho, Meguroku
T: +81 03 3719 8121 9 rooms. US$ 220-.
A favorite of designers, this arty hotel is located in a residential area away from the bustle of high-rise Tokyo. Large rooms and friendly staff. English spoken here.
T: +81 3-3248-4432. 18 rooms. US$ 200-
Here you can have a peaceful ryokan experience in Tokyo, albeit a modern uptake on that traditional style of inn. Bamboo floors, organic linens, tatami mats, slippers and robes. Located in the Ginzu district.
For over 1,000 years Kyoto was the capital of imperial
Japan and the center of Japanese culture, religious architecture,
and gardening arts.
T: +81 75 221 1136. US$ 825-
One of the most famous ryokans in Japan, this luxurious 19th century romantic hotel has spacious tatami rooms and fine cuisine. Located in Central Kyoto.
T: +81 75 252 1113. 13 rooms. US$ 480-
The first design boutique hotel in Kyoto, the look is youthfully bold and beautiful. Located in a village-like area, with bakeries, cafes, bookstores and the Imperial Gardens nearby.
11-2 Genrokuzan-cho, Arashiyama, Nishikyo-ku
T: +8175 871 0001. 77 villas. US$ 671.
These newly built riverside villas within one-half hour of Kyoto's attractions are a stylish modern uptake on a traditional ryokan. Arrive by a fragrant cedar river boat. All rooms have river views. Hoshinoya has a sleek looking restaurant with a special soba noodle chef.
Japan's oldest existing city, its first permanent capital
and the end point on the Silk Route. Buddhism entered Japan
Nara City, Nara
T: +81 742 26 2662 F: +81 742 26 2663. 11 huts. US$ 300, incl.
www.edosan.jp (Website in Japanese only). Email: email@example.com
11 Meijo-period huts, all of different architectural style,
set in a sacred Nara deer park. Built in 1907 the original
owner - accompanied by geishas - used it as an setting for entertainment
and amusements. Like many ryokans, most rooms are Japanese-style,
meaning no private baths; bathing is done communally in a
separate hut. One hut is Western-style, containing a private
The staff apologies for their poor English - if emailing them in English, keep it simple.
Nara City, Nara Japan
T: +81 742 26 1128, US$ 275-, incl. 2meals.
Elegant ryokan with beautiful garden located near the park and Todai-ji main gate.
Capital of feudal Japan from 1192 to 1333, Kamakura contains
an impressive amount of Buddhist temples and Shinto Shrines.
The city is enveloped by forested mountains on three sides
and Sagami Bay - popular with surfers - on the other. A favorite Tokyo day trip for
visitors, spend the night here and enjoy the early mornings
and evenings without the crowds.
T: +81 467 22 0960. F: +81 467 25 6324. 24 rooms, all w/bath.
US$ 325-, incl. 2 meals.
Built by a baron in the 1920's in an exclusive residential
district. It is a two minute walk to the beach. The style
combines Japanese and Western architecture; one wing and room
is western-style; several others have western-style beds but
a tatami area for eating; the remainder are all Japanese-stylefuton
beds and tatami mats.
A north-south ridge of granite
peaks. Many are volcanic, some topping 10,000 feet and some are sacred.
The most famous is Mt. Fuji, 55 miles outside of Tokyo. They
are heavily forested, full of hot springs, and are particularly
attractive in the northern range.
Takayama, Japanese Alps
Museums, antique shops, and quaint old buildings
are found in this mountain village where
history seems alive.
10 Kami Nino-machi
T: +81 577 32 0068. F: +81 577 1068. 11 rooms. US$ 130-
Elegant 250 year old merchant house known for its formal Kyoto
cuisine. Each guestroom has a black lacquered viewing table
looking out onto a small private garden featuring a miniature
waterfall and stream.
Shirakawa-go and Gokayama villages, Japanese Alps
Awarded world heritage site status because
of their 800 year old style "praying
hands" farmhousesthree or four story A-frame thatched
roofed farmhouses that were skillfully
built without nails. The upper levels
housed silkworms, the farmer's source of income during the snowy winter months. No ryokans here,
but some simple "praying house"
456 Shirakawa-mura, Ono-gun, Gifu
T: +81 576 96 1446. F: +81 576 96 1748. 5 room b&b. US$- 100,
incl. 2 meals.
Homemade meals at this guesthouse near the Myozenji temple
and Shirakawa Haciman shrine. Rooms are Japanese-style, without
private baths. Two communal baths, one women's, one men's.
Ainokura, Taira, Higashi, Tonami-gun, Toyama
T: +81 763 66 2206. F: +81 763 66 2206. 5 room b&b. US$-
100, incl. 2 meals.
Thatched roof guesthouse with homemade meals. Japanese-style
rooms, no baths. Alternating communal bath.
Hakone, Japanese Alps
Come here for a close-up view of Japan's sacred volcano, Mt. Fuji. Hakone is located an hour's drive southwest of Tokyo and is the gateway to Fuji-Kahone-Izu National Park.
T: +81 35 368 0790. US$ 575-
Multiple traditional-style bathing pools - including an outdoor hot spring-fed stone pool and a hot tub overlooking the Haya River - await guests. Hakone Ginyu is a little less formal than most ryokans and therefore is a popular choice with young urbans from Tokyo.
T: +81 46 023 331. US$ 980-
Former summer home of an imperial clan, this luxurious traditional ryokan contains priceless antiques, scrolls, and a series of outdoor pools and lounges.
Take a ferry ride
from Hiroshima to the sacred and scenic island of Miyajima,
home of the famous floating Tori shrine.
T: +81 829 44 2233 F: +81 829 99 44 2230. US$ 350-, incl.
Lovely maple tree gardens and wonderful food at this elegant
and centrally located ryokan.