Best Ryokan in Tokyo: What To Know Before You Book

The Best Ryokan in Tokyo is not that hard to find if you look in the right place. This traditional type of accommodation will add a touch of zen and culture to your travel experience. If it’s not on your international travel checklist right now… then what are you still waiting for? Tick-tock!

Ryokan Explained: What To Expect

So, what exactly does Ryokan mean? According to Japan Guide, a Ryokan is a Japanese-style inn defined by elements such as tatami (woven straws) flooring, Futon mattresses for beds, an alcove with beautiful traditional art or flower arrangement, paper sliding door and communal baths. 

Ryokan is, perhaps, one of the earliest forms of travel accommodation. After centuries, Ryokan embodies not only the best of Japan’s arts of hospitality but also years of the rich and mesmerising cultural heritage that set Japan apart from the rest of the world. 

Some may think any hotel room or homestay decorated with those iconic Japanese elements is considered Ryokan. The truth is that the magic of a Ryokan lies in the cultural experience one gets to enjoy during their stay. 

Arriving, you will be welcomed warmly and greeted with the first rule of entering the majority of Asian households - taking off your shoes. You will be given a set of Yukata (a casual version of the Kimono) to wear for the whole stay and served Japanese traditional dishes for breakfast and dinner. 

Best Ryokan In Tokyo: Why Not A Regular Hotel?

Best Ryokan In Tokyo Why Not A Regular Hotel
Staying at a Ryokan is a wonderful cultural experience. Photo by Colin Fearing on Pexels

Ryokan comes in different sizes and price ranges. There are extravagant Ryokans that offer exactly the commodities that you’d find at a 5-star hotel. As well as there are family-run, small-scale ones lying nestled in between the blocks of concrete that are Japan’s most important prefecture - Tokyo

Whichever you’re putting on your international travel checklist, here are a few things you need to consider before booking.

Zen Is Ryokan-Shaped

Zen Is Ryokan-Shaped
Zen is Ryokan-shaped. Photo by bhakpong -

A Ryokan is often humorously compared to a spa that allows you to eat and sleep in. This is quite true in a way because peace and relaxation are at the heart of a Ryokan.

A Ryokan tends to come with an onsen (a hot spring) or is located near one. Guests can dip themselves in the hot flowing water and let the heat circulate their entire body to wash away all the day’s exploring and sightseeing. Some Ryokans also have gardens for you to stroll in after a hearty meal. 

Beside those, foods served in Ryokan are traditional Japanese delicacies (Kaiseki). They are commonly served privately in your room, which can be a novel experience for those who are used to having breakfast or dinner in a hotel’s restaurant with other guests. If you travel during the right season, meals can also include local seasonal fruits. 

The point of things to do at a Ryokan is, in fact, not doing anything at all. One can just come and enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere, even if it means bathing, eating and sleeping again and again.

It’s very similar to Il dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing), an Italian philosophy of enjoying the simple things in life. So if you want to take a break from the party scene, Ryokan is what you are looking for.

You can imagine a Ryokan is where you come to recharge your energy after a long day of doing all the exciting activities out there. Think of it as the Japan version of wellness travel (which can be upgraded to luxury travel, if you have the yen for it).

But Not For Everyone!

When in Japan do as the Japanese do
When in Japan, do as the Japanese do. Photo by taiyosun -

A Ryokan is designed for a full cultural experience, so besides the delicious food and zen architecture, you can get to feel for yourself how the Japanese typically go about their daily life with their cultural etiquette (more on this later). This means that there are cultural practices you may have to follow to really get the most out of your stay.

For example, some Ryokans, especially family-owned, typically serve breakfast at a much earlier time. The staff will wake you up, if you haven’t already, to enjoy your meals. This might not be so ideal for the late risers. 

That, and there is also the fact that the majority of onsens are shared! Yes, you may have to get partially or fully naked and sit in steamy bubbling water with a stranger.

While public baths are known, some travellers may find it uncomfortable. If this relaxing new style of skinny dipping is not your thing, you can rent a private bath. But they can be a little more on the expensive side and might not always be available for use.

Another thing is that since a Ryokan is about experiencing a tranquil atmosphere, it might not be suitable for travellers with little kids. Some Ryokans are kid-friendly; some are not, so before you book, it’s better to ask the staff in advance.

If none of these things concern you, you can scroll down to see our list of Top 6 Best Ryokan In Tokyo and, perhaps, pick one to put on your overseas travel checklist. 

Best Ryokan In Tokyo: From Luxury To Budget-Friendly

One of the charms of Tokyo is that you can always catch a glimpse of the golden remains of the long-gone years sheltered between breathtaking modernity. Amongst these tucked-away gems are some of the best Ryokan of Tokyo that we have combined into our list. 

Whether your international travel checklist falls on the grandiose side of the budget or modest, we’ve got you covered. 

Our selections are ranked from luxury to bud-friendly to help you decide more easily. We also include all the uniqueness and special charms for each place. 

Best Ryokan In Tokyo: Luxury

HOSHINOYA Tokyo - A Lovechild Of Two Worlds

HOSHINOYA Tokyo - A Lovechild Of Two Worlds
The HOSHINOYA Tokyo blends modernity and tradition. Photo courtesy of Hoshinoya Resorts

Located in Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, the great HOSHINOYA Tokyo captivates the hearts of those who seek the thrills of two different concepts - modern and traditional.

From afar, its sleek black facade tells the same story as any of its neighbouring skyscrapers, but each floor of the HOSHINOYA Tokyo honours the intimate ambience and customs of a Ryokan.   

At HOSHINOYA Tokyo, each floor is a Ryokan with a communal lounge with books and refreshments. There are private sleeping quarters that blend contemporary and classic Japanese furnishing comforts.

The hot spring is on the top floor where you can relax in the water with the beautiful Tokyo skyline as your company. The bath water is drawn from a hot spring that is 4,900 feet below the ground.

You might wonder whether a Ryokan that blends in so well with its modern surroundings would lose its ancient allure. To provide guests with a truly classic Japanese experience, HOSHINOYA Tokyo has gardens that are filled with traditional arts and crafts.

Your international travel checklist can be all about exploring ancient temples and roaming the city streets rich in local culture, but the indoor activities at HOSHINOYA Tokyo are nothing short of dull. 

You can enjoy morning Kenjutsu practices, tea ceremonies and theatrical Japanese dance and music performances. At a higher price range, HOSHINOYA Tokyo is a perfect choice for travellers who want to experience modern 5-star hotel standard services alongside traditional beauty.


1-9-1, Otemachi, Chiyoda 100-0004, Tokyo 

Book here

Price range/person/night

$800 - $1,200   

Nearby locations

Kanda Myojin Shrine, Imperial Palace, city centre, Narita airport

Takanawa Hanakohro At Grand Prince Hotel - A Grand Getaway

Takanawa Hanakohro
The Hanakohro's highlight is the Takanawa garden. Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re building your international travel checklist around the Tokyo Bay area, chances are you’ve probably heard of the Grand Prince Hotels group. They have been a giant in providing top-notch accommodations to travellers who enjoy things on the more luxurious side.

Now that a Ryokan with 16 rooms in total has been added to the property, you can enjoy those with an authentic touch of Japanese hospitality. 

In the Hanakuro, you can find yourself relaxing in the lounge and bedroom decorated in a gentle palette at night. The beds are low to the ground, so you don’t have to manoeuvre yourself too much, especially after climbing 600 steps of the iconic Tokyo Tower which is just 15 minutes away. 

The rooms smell like flowers thanks to the ikebana flower arrangements set in each. In the morning, you can take a walk in the Japanese garden designed by the same man who worked on the Imperial Palace.

If you travel in the right season, you can actually see the 200 cherry trees in bloom in the surrounding Takanawa no Mori Park. If you’re in the mood, the property also comes with a bar. 

Although the Ryokan doesn’t have an onsen, you can still have an impressive stay because there are a lot of natural elements around the place - lots of beautiful trees, flowers, and a pond.

We recommend choosing the Hanakohro if you’re planning a two-day (or more) retreat. That’s how you can get the most out of your Ryokan experience at the Hanakohro. 


3-13-1 Takanawa, Minato-ku Tokyo

Book here

Price range/person/night

$900 - $,2000

Nearby locations

Tokyo Tower, Royal Tomb, Sony History Museum, Takanawa Park

Best Ryokan In Tokyo: Midrange

Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa - An Experience Inspired By Tea

Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa - An Experience Inspired By Tea
Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa emconpasses the spirits of the tea ceremony and the tea room. Photo by Federico Magonio -

Tea is an indispensable aspect of Japan. Its impact has inspired countless works of art throughout the country. The Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa is one of them. 

Praised on many popular booking sites, this Ryokan looks and feels just straight from a magazine press, with yellow ambient lighting, arched doors, and tatami-floored rooms. The whole place’s aesthetic is a tea room where people come together to enjoy one another’s company over a cup of aromatic tea. 

At Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa, you will find that even though the space is small, it seems to be endless as all the unnecessary details have been removed. This is true to the spirit of a tea ceremony in Japan - focusing only on the beverage and the experience. 

Besides that, you can enjoy a walk in the garden lined with a stone path or have a dip in the outdoor hot bath. Upon arriving, you can even get to soak your feet in flower water as a welcome gift from the staff.

Before writing the Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa down in your overseas travel checklist, you might need to consider the size of your luggage. There’s no dinner at the place, but hey! It’s Asakusa we’re talking about. You will never run out of food options here. There are also Western dishes served at the Ryokan, if that’s more to your taste. 


3-32-12 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo

Book here

Price range/person/night

$200 - $300

Nearby locations

Tokyo Skytree, Nintenmon Gate, Tokyo Origami Museum, Tobacco & Salt Museum

ONSEN RYOKAN Yuen Shinjuku - A Minimalist’s Safe Space

ONSEN RYOKAN Yuen Shinjuku - A Minimalist’s Safe Space
A minimalist Ryokan in energetic Shinjuku. Photo courtesy of ONSEN RYOKAN YUEN SHINJUKU | Nacasa & Partners

Who would’ve thought that in such a vibrant place like Shinjuku, there’d be a minimalistic Ryokan like the ONSEN RYOKAN Yuen Shinjuku? Amongst the corporate-looking buildings of Tokyo’s financial centre stands a city-style, simple but elegant 4-star Ryokan. It’s safe to say that the place is one of the best ryokan with onsen in Tokyo.

Unlike HOSHINO Tokyo that aims for artistic intricacies in its layout, the ONSEN RYOKAN Yuen Shinjuku has more of a laid-back style that reminds you of a local home. The concept of this Ryokan is to create a homely sense of peace that allows travellers to be more in touch with their five senses while still following the typical customs. 

The onsen at ONSEN RYOKAN Yuen Shinjuku is, perhaps, one of their greatest features. The Ryokan has both an indoor and outdoor hot bath, suitable for those who want to get soaked and enjoy- different views of the beautiful Shinjuku. Guests can also enjoy the wonderful Japanese local specialities along the serene scenery of the private yard in the open-kitchen restaurant. 

There’s no better choice if you’re looking for a well-placed Ryokan that is within walking distance of public transport stations to quickly get around Tokyo. If you happen to be a fan of minimalistic design, ONSEN RYOKAN Yuen Shinjuku is worth putting on your international travel checklist. As always, the price varies depending on the number of guests, so you should contact the Ryokan beforehand to budget better.


160-0022 Tokyo-to, Shinjuku 5-3-18, Japan

Book here

Price range/room

Starting from $600 per person

Nearby locations

Tokyo Toy Museum, Samurai Museum

Best Ryokan In Tokyo: Budget-Friendly

Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa - Feeling The Local Beat

Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa - Feeling The Local Beat
Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa is a local gem. Photo courtesy of Ryokan Kamogawa

Home to one of Japan’s oldest Buddhist temples and amazing cultural festivals that attract millions of visitors a year, every corner of Asakusa holds a majestic piece of Japan’s bygone eras. 

What you’ll find in Asakusa is the irresistible charm of an ancient town, which contrasts with Tokyo’s other ever-upbeat areas, like Shinjuku or Harajuku. And besides the Cyashitsu Ryokan Asakusa, what Ryokan is better for feeling that vibe other than the Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa.

This Ryokan is just like one of the local houses. It’s simple, homely and cosy - just like the rest of the town. Despite that, it comes with full amenities. There’s a private hot bath on the 1st floor and a breakfast room available to guests as a lounge, where you can enjoy coffee, tea, and Japanese sweets for free. Surrounding the Ryokan are souvenir shops and local food stalls.

If you’re considering this Ryokan, you can participate in various activities for free in the lounge on the first floor. These include calligraphy, origami (Japanese paper craft), Japanese spinning tops, paper sumo match, to name just a few. It's not only a cutural stay, but also a chance to explore Japanese aativities and games with your kids. Kamogawa Asakusa is a family-friendly ryokan through and through!


1 Chome-30-10 Asakusa, Taito, Tokyo 

Book here

Price range/room

$90 - $200

Nearby locations

Tokyo Dome, Kaminarimon Gate, Tokyo Skytree, Drum Museum

Ito Ryokan - A Nostalgic Stay In Doll Town

A Nostalgic Stay In Doll Town
Ito Ryokan is located in Ningyocho district, a hidden gem in Tokyo. NingyochoGuilhem Vellut, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.

As a young, vibrant wanderlust, you’ve probably been wanting to visit aesthetic destinations like those Pinterest photos you’re absolutely in love with. Look no further than the antique Ningyocho district of Tokyo, hence the nickname “Doll Town”. It also happens to be the home of the 70-year-old Ito Ryokan.

This lovely inn is one of the remaining ones still preserving the original Ryokan architecture. After you’re done exploring all the poetic corners around the district, it’s good to come back to warm smiles, fluffy futons and aromatic tatami flooring.

It’s also a well-known spot amongst Western backpackers, so you can actually have someone to share the experience with during your stay if you’re a lone traveller. 

One of the highlights of Ito Ryokan is the colourful events offered exclusively only to guests. You can attend a calligraphy workshop or enjoy the comedic arts of a Rakugo night (similar to stand-up comedy). 


2 Chome-31-3 Nihonbashiningyocho, Chuo City, Tokyo

Book here

Price range/room

$38 - $105

Nearby locations

Genyadana Monument, Sankatsu Yukata Museum, Jisshi Park

One More Thing To Consider Before Booking The Best Ryokan In Tokyo

As we’ve said, some best Ryokan in Tokyo can be quite minimal in space, so you might need to check the sizes of your luggage and backpacks before booking.

CabinZero’s Classic Backpack to keep you comfy during your Ryokan stay

We recommend you keep things simple, hassle-free and lightweight with your international travel packing list by switching to CabinZero’s Classic Backpack. It’s easy to pack and unpack from the top or the front. It’s convenient. It’s safe. It’s perfect for your Ryokan stay!

Best Ryokan In Tokyo: Which One Is Your Choice?

Which Ryokan did you choose to put on your overseas travel checklist? Regardless of that, we believe every place on this list of Best Ryokan in Tokyo can give you the authentic Japanese culture you’re looking for. 

Don’t forget to tell us about your experience in the comments and share the article with your travel mate. If you’re still wondering how to bring the best out of your next trip to Japan, we recommend checking out our list of beautiful places to visit. 

Nguyen Tran Gia Khanh

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