Where to experience a traditional Japanese ryokan

Lodging at a traditional Japanese ryokan hotel is one of the best ways to experience authentic Japanese heritage.

For those keen to understand the quintessential culture of Japan, a stay at any of the 50 properties within The Ryokan Collection allows travellers to experience traditional Japanese inns and small hotels known as ryokans. The ryokans within The Ryokan Collection portfolio fall into one of three categories – traditional, heritage and contemporary. Keep reading to discover some of the most beautiful ryokans in Japan.

Where to experience a traditional Japanese ryokan

What is a Japanese ryokan?

The history of Japanese ryokan dates back 1,300 years. From hot springs to Geisha, the small inns (many family-owned) provided visitors with premium experiences across Japan. Each ryokan is rigorously assessed before it can be incorporated into the collection to ensure it can provide exceptional service, attention to detail and a bespoke traditional experience unseen almost anywhere else in Japan.

A Ryokan usually offers two meals for each night’s stay, breakfast and dinner. Chefs source fresh local ingredients daily in order to serve meals as freshly as possible. Ryokans are usually located outside of the big cities, surrounded by nature and close to hot springs. At the Ryokan Collection, guests are able to tailor their stay, requesting western-style beds for example; or opting to dine outside of the ryokan so they can sample a variety of cuisine in the local area.

Where to experience a traditional Japanese ryokan

Where to experience a traditional Japanese ryokan

Atami Kaihourou

Atami Kaihourou is a contemporary ryokan offering private luxury with just four rooms. The all-glass Water Terrace boasts breathtaking views over Sagami Bay and Atami port while fine arts and designer furniture grace the interiors.


To experience one of Japan’s heritage-listed ryokans, stay a night at Wanosato in the heart of the forested Gifu prefecture. Inside the 160-year-old mink (house of the people), you’ll find exposed wooden beams and fine linen, while the lichen-covered roofs of the surrounding rooms offer an enchanting shelter for the night.

Migiwatei Ochi Kochi

Nestled on the eastern side of Hiroshima on the shores of the Seto Inland Sea, Migiwatei Ochi Kochi is an amazing base for exploring the quiet historical alleys and 18 temples of Tomonoura. All rooms in the property have an ocean view and open-air bath, and are designed in a traditional style with wooden panelling.

 Migiwatei Ochikochi suite dining room
Enjoy panoramic ocean views © Migiwatei Ochikochi

Tobira Onsen Myojinkan

Tobira Onsen Myojinkan is an elegant traditional Japanese ryokan surrounded by the stunning mountains and cedar forests of Yatsugatake National Park. Established in 1931, the property is designed with shoji screens and footpaths to local mountain shrines. The kitchen sources its ingredients from the inn’s organic farm.

Hakone Ginyu

This elegant ryokan exudes a strong connection to nature and sense of continuity with its long, low-lit corridors. Hakone Ginyu is situated at 420 metres in a valley within the Hakone mountain range and overlooks the Hayakawa River. Blending traditional Japanese concepts and, the hotel offers ultimate tranquillity.

Ryokan Kurashiki

Ryokan Kurashiki‘s surrounds are steeped in history and tradition, sitting on the banks of a willow-lined canal in the Bikan Historical Quarter. Originally home to an affluent sugar merchant, the property is decked out in fine antiques and elegant furnishings.


In the charming city of Kyoto, Hiiragiya is a graceful union of past and present heritage. Expansive contemporary spaces incorporate traditional natural materials, making the hotel one of the best Japanese ryokan’s to stay at.

Where to experience a traditional Japanese ryokan

Zenses, a joint-venture between The Ryokan Collection and H.I.S Co. Ltd (one of the largest travel agents in Japan) is a service that operates tailor-made itineraries for its customers. Guests staying at The Ryokan Collection can utilise the expertise of Zenses who can provide expert guides and escorts; luxury transportation; private admission to famous temples, shrines and gardens; dinners and events at World Heritage-listed sites; private meetings with local artisans; and private admission to galleries and museums. 

Find out more: ryokancollection.com

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