Just because the city has a reputation for being ultra-futuristic, it doesn’t mean that Tokyo is devoid of traditional charm. If you’ve ever stayed in a ryokan inn, then you’ll agree. If you don’t know what a ryokan is, then there’s no better time to find out than right now.
A ryokan is a small, traditional hotel and, despite urban development, Tokyo is still home to quite a few of them. Old-world charm, soothing public baths, classic Japanese hospitality and authentic local cuisine, you haven’t experienced Japanese culture until you’ve spent a night in a ryokan. Here are a few top picks of the best ryokan in Tokyo to choose from.
Ryokan Kamogawa | Courtesy of Ryokan Kamogawa/Hotels.com
Situated right in the centre of Asakusa, Tokyo’s most historic neighbourhood, is where you’ll find Ryokan Kamogawa. It’s just a two-minute walk from the famous Sensoji Temple (the city’s oldest temple) and a five-minute walk from Asakusa Subway Station. This ryokan inn blends modern comforts with traditional Japanese aesthetics; tatami-mat rooms are combined with Western beds, which is perfect for those not too excited about on sleeping on a futon. For authentic local cuisine, the on-site restaurant also features a grill restaurant called Kura.
Dubbed by the owner as Tokyo’s first designer ryokan, Andon Ryokan has quickly become one of the city’s most loved traditional accommodations, where modern convenience is married to classical Japanese design elements. A leisurely 20-minute stroll from Asakusa, the inn is a popular option for those who want to experience both the traditional and contemporary sides of Tokyo in luxury. The inn also hosts a number of cultural classes and activities like flower arranging, tea ceremonies and origami workshops.
One of the most talked about ryokans in Tokyo, Hoshinoya is a luxury, five-star accommodation option just 300 metres from the central Otemachi Station. This sleek inn features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, classic sliding shoji screens and incredible city views. Hoshinoya is walking distance to the Imperial Palace and to the well-connected Tokyo Station, making it an excellent choice for those who want to explore the more high-end side of the city.
Located in the northern pockets of inner-city Tokyo’s Adachi ward is Ryokan & Day Shizuku. It’s central enough to reach the city’s main tourist attractions like Tokyo Skytree and Sensoji Temple in 30 minutes by train, but far enough away from the manic energy of the city’s crowded central hubs. Nestled in a quaint neighbourhood, the ryokan features classic traditional Japanese design with familiar comforts like large Western beds, and open-plan rooms. Rooms also come with their own wooden bath and small private garden, an ideal retreat for those looking for somewhere to unwind after a long day exploring the city.
A classic inn positioned in the heart of the historic neighbourhood of Nihombashi, it doesn’t get much more quintessentially old-world Tokyo than Ito Ryokan. Walking distance from the Edo Tokyo Museum, Kachidoki Bridge and Imperial Palace, it’s an excellent place to stay if you’re planning to explore the city by foot. Although the rooms are very traditional in design, complete with futon bedding, the ryokan also features a modern bar, where you can meet fellow travellers while you sample some delicious sake.
A classic Japanese house turned ryokan, Chiyoda Inn is one of the cosiest accommodation options in Tokyo. Just three minutes from the well-connected Minami-Senju subway station and about 15 minutes from Asakusa by train, it’s easy to access by foot and public transport. A little more hostel in style than a luxury inn, it’s best suited to those who don’t mind communal accommodations. There are shared kitchen and bathing facilities and the option of Western or Japanese-style rooms.