10 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 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.


Beniya Mukayu, Kanazawa, Japan

Culturally speaking, Kanazawa is one of the richest places in Japan but it is short on great hotels. The Beniya Mukayu in historic Yamashiro Onsen is less than an hour...


Hanafubuki, Izu Peninsula, Japan

Halfway down the east side of the Izu Peninsula are the jagged bays of Jogosaki, where walking trails and a suspension bridge allow visitors to admire this stretch of coastline....


Hanaougi Bettei Iiyama, Takayama, Japan

This is the newer, more secluded and arguably more romantic venture by Hanaougi. It is built from the same cedar and zelkova woods with their soft tones adding to the...


Hoshinoya Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan

Reached in style by riverboat in the scenic hillside area of Arashiyama just west of Kyoto, this is one of Japan’s leading hideaway retreats. The Hoshinoya team have successfully accomplished...


Iwaso, Hiroshima and Miyajima, Japan

The shrine area on Miyajima can get pretty busy during the day, but by staying at the Iwaso one can experience it after nightfall when it quietens down and the...


Kayotei, Kaga Onsen, Japan

Nestled in the forested hills on the fringe of picturesque Yamanaka hot spring town, the Kayotei is one of Japan’s finest ryokan. From the ‘ikebana’ flower arrangements to the warm...


Notonosho, Noto, Japan

Meaning ‘the waters of Noto’, the clue to this ryokan’s success is in the title. Nearly a century ago, the founder  noticed the high pH of the hot spring waters...


Sekitei, Hiroshima and Miyajima, Japan

Although it is a ten minute shuttle bus ride from Miayjiama port, the drive is worth it for the sheer tranquility of the Sekitei looking out over the inland sea...