15 Best Onsen Ryokan in Japan

Dip into Tradition: The Ultimate Onsen Ryokan Guide

There’s a unique allure to the Land of the Rising Sun, and it’s not just the sushi or the cherry blossoms. Imagine a tranquil retreat nestled amidst nature, where time seems to stand still, and the world’s worries melt away in steamy, mineral-rich waters. Welcome to the Best Onsen Ryokan in Japan – a world where tradition meets luxury, and every soak is a step back into history. These aren’t just places to stay; they’re experiences, each offering a glimpse into Japan’s rich heritage. Dive into this guide and let the wonders of Japan’s finest ryokans with hot springs captivate your senses.

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1. Takaragawa Onsen Ousenkaku (Gunma)

Takaragawa onsen
© Takaragawa onsen OUSENKAKU

Takaragawa Onsen Ousenkaku (宝川温泉汪泉閣), tucked away in Gunma, is not just an onsen; it’s a slice of paradise. This ryokan boasts one of the largest outdoor hot springs in Japan, and it’s mixed-gender, a nod to traditions of old. The Minakami mountains and the serene Takaragawa River envelop the ryokan, offering a picturesque view that’s a treat for the eyes and the soul. The onsen waters, rich in minerals, promise to rejuvenate your body and spirit. And if you’re a foodie, their traditional Japanese cuisine, made from local ingredients, is bound to tantalize your taste buds. Whether it’s the snow-draped landscape in winter or the lush greenery in summer, Takaragawa ensures a memorable experience year-round. So, if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle, this ryokan might just be your haven.

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Takaragawa Onsen: Wonderful Day Trip Onsen from Tokyo

2. Kadensho (Kyoto)

Kadensho onsen
© kyoritsugroup.co.jp

In the heart of Kyoto lies Kadensho (花伝抄), a ryokan that seamlessly blends tradition with modern luxury. As you step in, you’re greeted with an ambiance that whispers tales of ancient Japan. Their rooms, a mix of Japanese and Western styles, promise comfort and elegance. But the real star here is their onsen. With five public baths, including an open-air one, relaxation is guaranteed. And if you’re in the mood for some pampering, their spa treatments are a must-try. After a day of sightseeing in Kyoto, indulge in their culinary delights, a symphony of taste that celebrates seasonal ingredients. Kadensho isn’t just a stay; it’s an experience, one that lingers long after you’ve left.

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3. Ginzanso (Yamagata)

Ginzanso onsen room
©2009-2022 Ginzanso

Nestled just a hop away from the popular Ginzan onsen, Ginzanso (銀山荘) is the epitome of relaxation. Imagine soaking in an outdoor hot spring, with each season painting a different backdrop: spring’s greenery, autumn’s fiery hues, and winter’s pristine white blanket. And if you’re not outdoorsy, fret not! Their indoor baths are just as inviting. Hungry after your dip? Feast on their special Wagyu beef roast, a delicacy of the Yamagata prefecture. And for the cherry on top, each room faces the river and mountains, ensuring you’re always in sync with nature. But wait, there’s more! Fancy some foot massage or bed-rock bath? They’ve got you covered. And if you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, their lobby boasts a souvenir shop brimming with Japanese handicrafts.

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4. Osawa Onsen Sansuikaku (Iwate)

Osawa Onsen Sansuikaku room
© Osawa onsen

Osawa Onsen Sansuikaku (大沢温泉 山水閣), a gem in Iwate’s Hanamaki city, is a haven for those seeking solace in nature and tradition. With a history spanning over 1,200 years, this onsen offers a unique blend of rustic charm and modern comfort. The ryokan comprises three distinct buildings, each with its own character, allowing guests to embark on a delightful “onsen-hopping” journey. The ambiance is reminiscent of yesteryears, with well-preserved wooden interiors and artifacts that tell tales of a bygone era. The laughter of guests in the common areas adds to the warmth. And the culinary offerings? Pure, seasonal delights that narrate a story of their own. Whether you’re soaking in the therapeutic waters or simply lounging, Osawa Onsen promises a serene escape from the daily grind.

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5. Noboribetsu Onsen Dai-ichi Takimotokan (Hokkaido)

Dai-ichi Takimotokan onsen
© Dai-ichi Takimotokan

Nestled in the heart of Hokkaido, Noboribetsu Onsen Dai-ichi Takimotokan (第一滝本館) is more than just a ryokan; it’s an experience. This establishment beckons travelers with the promise of rejuvenating onsens and delectable cuisine. The hot spring baths are a highlight, with the Sulphur Hot Spring Baths standing out for their therapeutic properties. But it’s not just about relaxation; adventure awaits too, with various activities in Noboribetsu to keep the adrenaline pumping. And as the day winds down, the ryokan’s bar lounge offers a perfect setting to gaze at the starry night. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning guest, Takimotokan ensures a memorable Hokkaido experience.

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6. Iyashi-no-Sato Kiyashiki (Kumamoto)

Iyashi-no-Sato Kiyashiki onsen
© 2022 黒川温泉 いやしの里 樹やしき

Welcome to Iyashi-no-Sato Kiyashiki (いやしの里 樹やしき), where every moment is a deep breath for the soul. Located in Kumamoto’s picturesque Aso region, this ryokan is a harmonious blend of nature’s beauty and Japanese hospitality. The name “Kiyashiki” translates to “tree mansion,” and true to its name, the establishment is surrounded by lush greenery, offering guests a tranquil retreat. The onsen baths are a treat, promising relaxation and rejuvenation. The culinary offerings are a celebration of seasonal flavors, ensuring a delightful gastronomic journey. And if you’re in the mood for some exploration, the ryokan’s proximity to various attractions in Kumamoto makes it an ideal base. So, if you’re seeking a place where the heart finds peace, Iyashi-no-Sato Kiyashiki awaits.

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7. Bessho Sasa (Yamanashi)

Bessho Sasa onsen with Mt. Fuji view

This is a realm where serenity meets elegance. Bessho Sasa (別墅然然), nestled in the heart of Yamanashi, offers an experience that’s a blend of tranquility and sophistication. Here, guests can indulge in the “SASA Speciality” – a hospitality experience that’s as natural as it is luxurious. Whether you’re seeking solitude or vibrant energy, Bessho Sasa caters to both desires. The rooms are designed to be your personal sanctuary, where you can soak in the hot springs while gazing at Mount Fuji. And when it comes to dining, every dish speaks a story, a tale of seasonal flavors and local ingredients. Dive into the embrace of nature with their hot springs, sourced directly from the blessings of Mount Fuji.

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8. Hakone Kowakien Tenyu (Kanagawa)

Hakone Kowakien Tenyu

Hakone Kowakien Tenyu (箱根小涌園 天悠) is where time seems to stand still, offering moments of pure relaxation. Located in the scenic region of Hakone, this establishment promises an experience that tantalizes all five senses. The highlight? Every room boasts its own open-air onsen, allowing guests to immerse themselves in nature’s embrace. The culinary journey here is just as sensory, with dishes that celebrate the season, the land, and the essence of flavors. Whether you’re seeking a retreat into nature or a luxurious escape, Tenyu offers a slice of Hakone that’s both rejuvenating and unforgettable.

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9. La Vista Fuji Kawaguchiko (Yamanashi)

La Vista Fuji Kawaguchik
© kyoritsugroup.co.jp

La Vista Fuji Kawaguchiko (ラビスタ富士河口湖) has a bit of a unique proposal, where the charm of Southern France meets the beauty of Japan. Located in the picturesque region of Yamanashi, it draws inspiration from Provençal elegance and masterfully blends it with  Japanese hospitality, creating a space where the essence of the place is clear: a retreat that promises relaxation, luxury, and moments that will make you forget the passage of time. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply seeking a getaway, La Vista promises an experience that’s both memorable and enchanting.

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At AMANE RESORT SEIKAI (潮騒の宿 晴海), the whispers of the sea waves meet unparalleled hospitality. Located in the scenic Beppu city of Oita, this resort is an ode to luxury and relaxation. Every room here boasts an ocean view, ensuring that the horizon is always within sight. And what’s a stay without a dip in their onsen? With hot springs that are a direct flow from the source, relaxation is just a step away. But it’s not just about the views and the baths; the culinary journey here is equally mesmerizing. Whether you’re indulging in traditional Japanese cuisine at “Gen” or savoring the flavors of the sea at their seafood restaurant, every bite is a celebration. So, if you’re seeking an escape where the ocean serenades you, AMANE RESORT SEIKAI is the place to be.

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11. Gero Onsen Suimeikan (Gifu)

Gero Onsen Suimeikan
© 2017 SUIMEIKAN inc.

Gero Onsen Suimeikan (水明館), nestled in the heart of Gifu, is where tradition meets modern luxury. This ryokan, with its rich history, promises an experience that’s both rejuvenating and memorable. The onsen baths here are the highlight, offering a therapeutic escape from the daily hustle. But it’s not just about relaxation; the culinary journey at Suimeikan is a sensory delight. With dishes that celebrate the season and the region, every meal is a gastronomic adventure. And as the day winds down, the ryokan’s serene ambiance ensures a peaceful night’s sleep. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning guest, Gero Onsen Suimeikan promises a slice of Japan that’s both authentic and luxurious.

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12. Dogo Miyu (Ehime)

Dogo Miyu
© 2021 (株)宝荘ホテル

Step into Dogo Miyu (道後御湯), a realm where relaxation is the only agenda. Located in the picturesque region of Ehime, this establishment promises an experience that’s both serene and luxurious. The onsen baths here are a treat, offering a therapeutic escape from the daily grind. And when it comes to dining, Dogo Miyu doesn’t disappoint. With a menu that celebrates local flavors and seasonal ingredients, every meal is a culinary delight. The rooms, with their elegant design and modern amenities, ensure a comfortable stay. And with its proximity to various attractions in Ehime, Dogo Miyu is the perfect base for exploration. So, if you’re seeking a retreat that’s both relaxing and enriching, Dogo Miyu awaits.

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13. Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto (Hiroshima)

Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto
© 2023 Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto

Grand Hotel Arimoto (宮島グランドホテル 有もと) is not just a stay; it’s a journey through Japan’s rich history. Located a stone’s throw away from the iconic Itsukushima Shrine, this hotel offers a blend of traditional aesthetics and modern comforts. The rooms, with their classic wooden interiors, offer breathtaking views of the Seto Inland Sea, making every sunrise and sunset an event. And if you’re a foodie, their cuisine, which is a delightful mix of Hiroshima’s local flavors and international dishes, will leave you craving for more. But what truly sets them apart is their warm hospitality, ensuring that every guest feels like royalty. Whether you’re exploring the nearby attractions or just soaking in the ambiance of the hotel, Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto promises an experience that’s nothing short of grand.

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14. Biwako Ryokusuitei (Shiga)

Biwako Ryokusuitei
© 2023 びわこ緑水亭

Nestled on the shores of Lake Biwa, Japan’s largest freshwater lake, Ogoto Onsen Biwako Ryokusuitei (おごと温泉 びわこ緑水亭) offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The ryokan’s architecture is a nod to Japan’s traditional design, with tatami rooms offering panoramic views of the lake. But it’s not just about the views; the ryokan promises a holistic experience. Their on-site onsen, fed by natural hot springs, is the perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. And if you’re a gastronome, their kaiseki meals, which are a visual and culinary delight, are a must-try. With seasonal events and activities, every visit to Biwako Ryokusuitei offers a new experience, making it a favorite among both locals and tourists.

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15. Ryokan Matsusaki (Ishikawa)

Ryokan Matsusaki
© 2016 Matsusaki-Ryokan

Ryokan Matsusaki (まつさき), in the heart of Ishikawa, offers rooms that are not just rooms, but experiences. The “Phenix” rooms, or “鳳凰” as they’re locally called, come with their very own onsen baths, both indoor and outdoor. Talk about bathing in style! And it’s not just any onsen water; it’s sourced directly from their garden, boasting of its weak alkaline properties that are said to be beneficial for a myriad of health concerns. Hungry after that dip? Their cuisine is a symphony of flavors, freshly prepared from two dedicated kitchens, ensuring that every bite is as fresh as the morning dew. And if you’re thinking of the local produce of Kanazawa, they’ve got that covered too. So, if you’re looking for a blend of traditional aesthetics with modern luxury, Ryokan Matsusaki is your go-to destination. Just remember to leave your strong perfumes at home; they like to keep the ambiance pure and authentic!

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Japan’s ryokans offer more than just a place to rest; they’re a gateway to the nation’s rich history, traditions, and unmatched hospitality. Whether nestled in bustling cities or serene countryside, these establishments promise rejuvenation, culinary delights, and a genuine taste of Japan’s timeless charm. Dive in, and let the journey begin.

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Written by

Photographer, journalist, and avid urban cyclist, making sense of Japan since 2017. I was born in Caracas and lived for 14 years in Barcelona before moving to Tokyo. Currently working towards my goal of visiting every prefecture in Japan, I hope to share with readers the everlasting joy of discovery and the neverending urge to keep exploring.