The Best Hotels to Book in Takayama, Japan

Edo-era merchants’ houses line the narrow streets of the Sanmachi Suji historic district in Takayama
Edo-era merchants’ houses line the narrow streets of the Sanmachi Suji historic district in Takayama | © Magdalena Bujak / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Joe Bindloss
21 August 2021

The Meiji and Edo periods cast a powerful spell in Takayama, an atmospheric town in central Honshū, Japan, where old-fashioned wooden homes line whole streets, and historic shrines and traditional inns dot the hills, dusted with snow in winter. The historic Sanmachi Suji district has the best Edo-era merchants’ houses, while other areas have more modern hotels. Here’s our pick – bookable on Culture Trip.


Independent Hotel
fe0bf39c - Wanosato
Courtesy of Wanosato / Expedia

There’s history to spare in downtown Takayama, but for added serenity, it’s hard to beat Wanosato, a secluded ryokan (traditional inn) in the forest near the Miyagawa River on the slopes of Mt Kurai. With wooden furniture, shōji screens and calligraphy scrolls, bedrooms seem plucked from another century, and there’s a gorgeous wood-lined traditional bathhouse and a 160-year-old irori (traditional open fireplace) where you can keep cosy in winter.

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eph Takayama

4.8/5 (36 Reviews)
cad74d2b - eph TAKAYAMA
Courtesy of eph Takayama / Expedia

Seconds from the station, perfect for easy arrivals and departures, the eph Takayama is small, boutique and modern. The compact, cosy rooms are full of soft upholstery and wood trim, with Japanese-style tubs, subtle lighting and downtown views. The big breakfast buffet includes Western, Japanese and Chinese treats (think muesli, egg rolls and bao buns). The hotel’s location is convenient for reaching everything in the centre.

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Hostel Fish in a River

Hotel, Guesthouse
4.9/5 (13 Reviews)
14978fa9 - Hostel Fish in a River
Courtesy of Hostel Fish in a River / Expedia

North of the train station in the residential Okamotomachi district, this intimate guesthouse has calming, Japanese-style rooms adorned with carved wood and filled with light. It’s small and friendly, and despite the name, accommodation is in three private rooms overlooking a small courtyard garden. There’s a simple, shared dining area (with a microwave and a fridge) and plenty of places to eat within easy sauntering distance.

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Auberge Hida no Mori

4.7/5 (113 Reviews)
6948bf66 - Auberge Hidanomori
Courtesy of Auberge Hida no Mori / Expedia

Set on the southern outskirts, where Takayama breaks down into fields and forested hills, this secluded guesthouse is hidden in a woodland copse, but a free shuttle bus can zip you here from downtown. Inside the tidy white cottage are uncluttered, wood-trimmed, Western-style rooms that create an instant sense of calm. There are relaxing shared spaces, and the hosts offer tasty home-cooked breakfasts and Italian dinners.

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Ichinomatsu Japanese Modern Hotel

4.4/5 (14 Reviews)
b7fc67bb - Ichinomatsu Japanese Modern Hotel
Courtesy of Ichinomatsu Japanese Modern Hotel / Expedia
Price Drop
Now from $98 per night

Don’t be misled by the name of this sleek suburban guesthouse, set in a residential neighbourhood near the Sunori River. The rooms are indeed modern in style, with wooden trim, flat-screen TVs and soft, sink-into-the-mattress beds, but they’re set in an old-fashioned house with a lovely courtyard rock garden that creates a cosseting sense of calm. There are tatami-style and Western-style rooms, so take your pick.

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  • Temple Hotel Takayama Zenkoji

    7b82ff66 - Temple Hotel Takayama Zenkoji
    Courtesy of Temple Hotel Takayama Zenkoji / Expedia

    Part of the working Zenkō-ji temple, this charming hotel invites you to exhale deeply, with Zen meditation and Buddhist rituals as part of the routine. Vast, open tatami rooms have Buddhist objects to set the appropriate mood and screen windows that slide open to reveal a central garden. At night, the light spilling through the screens into the garden is quite magical.

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    Wat Hotel and Spa Hida Takayama

    Hotel, Spa Hotel
    4.6/5 (847 Reviews)
    fa3c2251 - Wat Hotel & Spa Hida Takayama
    Courtesy of Wat Hotel and Spa Hida Takayama / Expedia

    The smart rooms almost take a backseat to the onsen (hot spring) at this spic-and-span spa hotel. Some of the alkaline-rich hot-spring waters of Takayama flow into indoor and outdoor public baths, and taking a dip is an integral part of a hotel stay. Rooms have tasteful colours, subtle lighting and blackout blinds, but some are definitely roomier than others. Indeed, the economy rooms take compactness to a whole new level.

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    Hida Takayama Futarishizuka Hakuun

    Map View
    178931035 - Hidatakayama Futarishizuka Hakuun
    Courtesy of Hida Takayama Futarishizuka Hakuun /

    The woodland ruins of Takayama’s 16th-century castle rise behind this graceful ryokan on the hillside, complete with a raised deck looking out over the city. It’s set in a lovely timbered house, with open-air wooden tubs where you can soak while admiring the views. Tatami-lined rooms have either cedar or ceramic bathtubs, low seating and great city or forest views – including from the bathrooms.

    These recommendations were updated on August 21, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh. This article is an updated version of a story created by Joe Bindloss

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