The Best Luxury Hotels in Japan

Luxury options range from traditional ryokan to contemporary spas
Luxury options range from traditional ryokan to contemporary spas | Courtesy of InterContinental Osaka / Expedia
Photo of Jessica Esa
29 December 2020

With Japan so often celebrated as a destination of hospitality and style, it makes sense to find so many innovative luxury hotels here. For the well-heeled traveller, accommodations are as varied as they are ground-breaking, ranging from private suites in a Tokyo skyscraper to a blissful resort spa with steaming outdoor onsens. Here are the best luxury hotels in Japan.

Aman Tokyo

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Aman Tokyo
Courtesy of Aman Tokyo / Expedia
The 38-storey Otemachi Tower is one of the most iconic skyscrapers in Tokyo – Aman occupies the final six floors. That brings views encompassing the largest city in the world, the Imperial Gardens and Mount Fuji. Enjoy them from your spacious private suite, which offers a stylised idyll of traditional Japanese design – think light woods and washi paper. And if the serene cityscapes don’t make you feel completely relaxed, the in-house spa with Japanese-style hot baths and a modern strip-lit lap pool certainly will.
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Courtesy of Sowaka / Expedia
In the historic Gion district of Kyoto, where geisha walk in pairs down the cobbled streets, Sowaka represents the pinnacle of luxury. Once a Japanese restaurant, it’s now a 23-room boutique hotel with a bliss-inducing private courtyard. The spacious suites boast a traditional design, featuring shoji screens and tatami mats, as well as carved-wood furnishings and garden views. Tranquillity abounds.
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Hotel, Ryokan, Luxury
Courtesy of Zaborin / Expedia
The traditional Japanese travellers’ inn, known as a ryokan, lives on in the form of Zaborin: a contemporary approach to the iconic formula. This Hokkaido resort provides guests with private villas, in which forest views change dramatically with the seasons. Enjoy them from your private open-air bath, filled with hot volcanic spring water. After your soak, visit the in-house restaurant, which serves a northern version of kaiseki, a multi-course meal meticulously prepared and beautifully presented.
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Hoshinoya Tokyo

Boutique Hotel, Ryokan
Hoshinoya Tokyo
Courtesy of Hoshinoya Tokyo /
Disguised as another sleek tower in the financial district of Tokyo, Hoshinoya hides in plain sight. But this is a retreat that combines the intimate hospitality of ryokan with the amenities and attention to detail of a luxury hotel. The flashy facade belies a hotel of tranquillity; the top floor includes two gendered bath halls that are supplied with hot-spring waters drawn from 1,500m (4,921ft) below. Rooms are equally tranquil, with a classic yet contemporary Japanese design.
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Jozankei Tsuruga Resort Spa MORI no UTA

Resort, Spa Hotel, Luxury
Jozankei Tsuruga Resort Spa MORI no UTA-f9ed2c96
Courtesy of Jozankei Tsuruga Resort Spa MORI no UTA / Expedia
Mori no Uta translates to “tales of the forest,” perfectly encapsulating the splendour of this resort spa in snowy Hokkaido. With steaming outdoor onsen for bathing, and views of the forest that can be enjoyed from the warmth of the lounge, Mori no Uta represents the height of serenity. The private cottages also come with their own onsen for guests to enjoy as they see fit.
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InterContinental Osaka

Hotel, Luxury
Courtesy of InterContinental Osaka / Expedia
InterContinental hotels are so often a byword for sophistication, and the Osaka branch offers guests that luxury experience in one of the most vibrant metropolises in Japan. Outstanding city views can be enjoyed from the contemporary guestrooms; upgrade to an executive room or suite for complimentary Louis Roederer Champagne and a stocked minibar. During your stay, make sure to visit signature restaurant Pierre, which serves French-style cuisine with a “delicate Japanese touch”.
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  • RIHGA Royal Hotel Hiroshima

    Boutique Hotel, Luxury
    RIHGA Royal Hotel Hiroshima-7aa983d3
    Courtesy of RIHGA Royal Hotel Hiroshima / Expedia
    The most luxurious hotel in Hiroshima is a place for complete relaxation; providing guests with an impressive indoor pool, a fully equipped gym, and a spa for soothing away aches and stresses. The rooms and suites provide guests with exceptional city views as well as a calming interior of wood panelling and beautiful fixtures.
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    Hotel Marinoa Resort Fukuoka

    Resort, Luxury
    Hotel Marinoa Resort Fukuoka-a913ac54
    Courtesy of Hotel Marinoa Resort Fukuoka / Expedia
    Located in the warm southern town of Fukuoka, Hotel Marinoa Resort sits next to Hakata Bay and a yacht-filled harbour. Views over the waters can be enjoyed from the contemporary rooms, which come with floor-to-ceiling glass doors leading out to private balconies. A day of shopping in the neighbouring Marinoa City Fukuoka outlet mall is capped with a visit to Bleu Ciel, the French-inspired restaurant in the hotel, which uses locally sourced ingredients including fresh fish from the Genkai Sea.
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    Nagoya Prince Hotel Sky Tower

    nagoya prince hotel-b555e56f
    Courtesy of Nagoya Prince Hotel Sky Tower / Expedia
    Unbroken views of the Nagoya cityscape are the crowning glory of this luxury hotel based within a contemporary monolith. Vistas can be enjoyed from all the guestrooms, which begin on the 32nd floor. In the evening, tear yourself away from the twinkling lights of the city and head to the Club Lounge for cocktail hour, before a buffet-style dinner on the 31st-floor restaurant. During the day, take advantage of the plum location and visit nearby Nagoya Castle or the Science Museum.
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    Suiran, A Marriott Luxury Collection Hotel

    Courtesy of Suiran / Expedia
    Suiran Hotel embodies the soul and vibe of Kyoto, especially the aesthetics and atmosphere of the Edo period. This is achieved by emphasising open space and a tangible link to nature; with the hotel hidden among mountains and bamboo forests on the banks of Hozu River. The collection of luxurious rooms embrace a traditional Japanese aesthetic, while many come with balconies and mountain views.
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    These recommendations were updated on December 29, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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