Ryokan are traditional Japanese inns. Rooms measured in tatami, futons instead of stationary beds, sliding doors and traditional baths are just some of the features people love about old-school ryokan, and the peace and quiet are another. For many visitors to Japan
, a ryokan is the simplest and easiest way to have a uniquely Japanese experience, and as you slip on your yukata after bathing in the cypress and earthenware baths, we promise it will be one you will never forget. Here are some of the best ryokan Tokyo has to offer.
This family-owned ryokan takes hospitality to new heights. The owner was once awarded the title of Ambassador for Tourism by the Japanese government, and has published a book in both Japanese and English on Japanese culture and customs. Today, his son is learning the ropes and hopes to continue running Sawanoya Ryokan in a way that will make his dad proud. Some standout features are the cypress baths, along with the small details that go into making a stay at Sawanoya special, such as paper cranes on the pillows and the polished wooden detailing of the entire inn. They accept most major credit cards.
Rates: 12,000 for two people and up.
2-3-11 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo 110-0001, Japan, +81 3 3822 2251
Homeikan Honkan Ryokan
Homeikan Honkan Ryokan has been operating for half a century and has been designated as a Listed Tangible Cultural Property. They operate two other ryokan houses on the property, Daimachi, and Morikawa, which each have different types of baths available. The ryokan is situated in a quiet neighborhood away from any businesses that might operate at night, so it’s a unique, quiet and comfortable place to enjoy traditional Japanese ryokan culture. Like most ryokan, Homeikan is able to accommodate large groups in their tatami rooms. Check-in is from 3:00PM to 10PM, and check-out is 10:00AM.
Rates: 6,500-8,500 per person.
113-0033, 10-5.5-Chome, Hongo Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Japan, +81 3 3811 1187
In this small and cozy boutique hotel, the tatami floors, sliding doors, futons and minimalist décor give these modest accommodations the look and feel of a true ryokan. Hotel Fukudaya is situated in the upscale neighborhood of Daikanyama, near Yoyogi Park and Meiji Shrine. Rooms come with or without private baths, and communal bathing is available for those who didn’t splurge on the upgrade. Check-in is from 1:00PM to 11:00PM, and check-out is at 10:00AM.
Rates: 12,100 for two with private bath.
4-5-9 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0042, Japan, +81 3 3467 5833
Kimi Ryokan claims to be the best place for budget travelers to stay while in Tokyo. It has everything you could want in a ryokan, from wooden baths and tatami floors to polished wooden doors and traditional décor. However, Kimi Ryokan also prides itself on its blending of old and new: the structure was built in the 1980s and contains an elevator, wifi services (many ryokans do not) and coin laundry services. It’s a great stepping stone to ryokan living since you can enjoy traditional Japanese hospitality with the modern conveniences you’re used to. As a bonus, Kimi Ryokan has both an indoor and rooftop lounge for patrons to enjoy.
Rates: 6,500 for two people, 14,000 for four.
2-36-8 Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo 171-0014, Japan, +81 3 3971 3766
The small and cozy Ryokan Sansuisō lets visitors experience a little bit of old Japan right here in fast-paced, ultramodern Tokyo. The ryokan is run by a friendly old couple who’ve owned the business for decades, and truth be told, it could do with a little updating. However, room rates are reasonable and they accept most major credit cards, making this a convenient and sensible choice for the busy traveler. Prices are charged per person and you can have as many as five in one room.
Rates: 6,000 for one person, 9,400 and up for two.
2-9-5 Higashigotanda Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0022, Japan, +81 3 3441 7475