Top Four Luxury Ryokans in Japan

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If you want to experience blissful relaxation while in Japan, heading to a ryokan should be the first thing on your mind. The ryokan inn has been a popular destination for rest and relaxation since the 8th century. Many traditional features are still in use to this day, such as tatami mat flooring, shoji screens, yukata robes, and classic Japanese architecture, all designed to bring comfort. There are a growing number of modern ryokans that have more contemporary designs too.

Ryokans are more than a hotel—they are an experience. You are treated to impeccable hospitality, a multi-course kaiseki dinner (the Japanese equivalent of haute cuisine), and unfettered access to natural hot springs (onsen). At these high-end resorts, you can roam at your pleasure and embrace nature while sipping champagne, or perhaps some fine Japanese sake. Here are four of the most luxurious ryokans in Japan, from modern to traditional.

4. Hoshinoya, Tokyo

image via Hoshinoya

Hoshinoya is not your typical ryokan. That's because it's housed in a 17-story skyscraper, surrounded by a bustling metropolis. It's the first luxury ryokan in Tokyo, with rooms starting at around $750 per night. This luxury ryokan features soothing hot spring baths and exquisite cuisine, some of which are lesser-known delicacies. With each floor being accessible only to the guests staying on them, you'll be immersed in a world that makes you oblivious to the Tokyo bustle beyond its walls.

3. Atami Kaihourou, Atami

image via Atami Kaihourou

This exclusive ryokan is as luxurious as it is aesthetically impressive. There are elaborate installations of contemporary glass art throughout, giving the interior a sophisticated and modern feel. Through the glass walls you can see breath-taking views of Sagami Bay, with mountains on either side. In addition to the gorgeous décor and views, this ryokan is known for the quality of its services—there are only four rooms in Atami Kaihourou, allowing the highly trained staff to offer highly attentive services that are said to be unrivaled.

Japan's Most Luxurious Onsens

2. Nishimuraya Honkan, Yushima

image via Nishimuraya Honkan

At Nishimuraya Honkan, you'll feel at one with nature. The authentic Sukiya-style architecture and design offers a rich and traditional experience that is quintessentially Japanese. Outside, you'll be surrounded by beautiful gardens that show unique beauty throughout the four seasons. The cuisine is the real highlight though, being perfected by the culinary artisans of Nishimuraya for over 150 years. You can expect a truly memorable dining experience, with the menu including Tajima beef, Matsuba crab, and more, served by head chef of 20 years, Etsunobu Takahashi.

1. Sekitei, Miyajima

image via Sekitei

Sekitei is a traditional ryokan surrounded by beautiful gardens. It's a place that embodies the traditional Japanese ryokan experience. You can relax in the hot springs by the gardens while sipping champagne, then head indoors for sake tasting, followed by delicious seasonal cuisine. If you love nature and peaceful scenic views, Sekitei is a ryokan you must consider.

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