The official top ten
Luxury Ryokans

A luxury holiday in Japan wouldn’t be complete without a stay at a boutique ryokan. These traditional inns are Japan’s version of the spa hotel – exquisite multi-course kaiseki Japanese meals, renowned omotenashi hospitality and even luxurious hot spring baths on your own private balcony. A ryokan stay is also a great opportunity to fully immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture and to see more than most visitors to Japan do, as the best ones tend to be off the beaten track in small historic towns or charming rural areas - the perfect city escape.

Japanese ryokans are typically much smaller than your usual hotel, they tend to be family run and have been passed down through the generations. Upon entering your ryokan, you'll firstly remove your shoes in a particular assigned area and replace with the slippers that have been provided for you. The check-in process is pleasantly much quicker and simpler than in a hotel, the nakai-san (personal room assistant) will guide you to your room and show you everything you need to know, whilst preparing your first cup of green tea to help you relax into this experience Japan has to offer. 

Here, we've narrowed down our top ten luxury ryokan's, in order to help you choose however many you wish to include during your visit to Japan.


Beniya Mukayu

  Beniya Mukayu is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. Culturally speaking, Kanazawa is one of the richest places in Japan, but it is short on great hotels. The Beniya Mukayu,...


Gora Kadan

  Gora Kadan is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans and Top 10 Hotel Spas. One of the finest 'ryokans' (traditional inns) to be found in Japan, this property perfects the concept of a ‘luxury...


Ryokan Kurashiki

  Ryokan Kurashiki is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Secret Gems and Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. This ryokan is halfway along the idyllic willow-lined canal in Kurashiki, and shares a 300-year history with the converted...


Hoshinoya Kyoto

  Hoshinoya Kyoto is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. Reached in style by riverboat in the scenic hillside area of Arashiyama just west of Kyoto, this is one of Japan’s...


Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama

  Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. This is the newer, more secluded and arguably more romantic venture by Hanaougi. It is a pretty traditional Japanese ryokan built...



  Hanafubuki is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. Halfway down the east side of the Izu Peninsula are the jagged bays of Jogosaki, where walking trails and a suspension bridge...



  Kayotei is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. Nestled in the forested hills on the fringe of picturesque Yamanaka hot spring town, the Kayotei is one of Japan’s finest 'ryokan'...



  Notonosho is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans and Top 10 Hotel Spas. Meaning ‘the waters of Noto’, the clue to this ryokan’s success is in the title. Nearly a century ago, the...



  Sekitei is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. Although it is a ten minute shuttle bus ride from Miyajiama port, the drive is worth it for the sheer tranquillity of the...



  Iwaso is one of Ampersand's Top 10 Luxury Ryokans. The shrine area on Miyajima can get pretty busy during the day, but by staying at the Iwaso one can experience it...


Client Testimonials

Ampersand provided a bespoke and flexible holiday, tailored to my every whim. Their highly professional staff had only one goal which was to arrange an exceptional holiday and some unforgettable experiences in India. I have no hesitation in fully recommending them and they will be the first company I approach in the future - 10/10
- Anonymous, India
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
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I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
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Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
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