The Best Ryokans in Tokyo, Japan

You havent experienced traditional Japanese culture until youve stayed in a ryokan
You haven't experienced traditional Japanese culture until you've stayed in a ryokan | Courtesy of Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku / Expedia
Lucy Dayman

Tokyo may have a reputation for being ultra-futuristic, but it’s not devoid of traditional charm. Despite urban development, the Japanese capital is still home to plenty of ryokan – small, traditional inns that vary in shape and style, but hallmarks include the Japanese aesthetic (think futons and tatami mats), public baths and authentic local cuisine. Here’s our guide to the best.

1. Homeikan Morikawa Annex

Inn, Hotel

An outside pathway with trees leading to the entrance at Homeikan Morikawa Annex
Courtesy of Homeikan Morikawa Annex / Expedia

Perfect for a taste of traditional Tokyo, Homeikan Morikawa Annex is a cosy ryokan in north Tokyo, home to what the locals call shitamachi (the downtown area, where old-world vibes ring true). Spend the nights strolling the lantern-lit streets before retreating to this intimate historic home for a deep soak in the public bath and some authentic Japanese hospitality.

2. Hotel Ryumeikan

Hotel

With a boutique charm that’s as understated as it is elegant, Hotel Ryumeikan is the type of place that doesn’t feel the need for flashy gimmicks. Quiet consideration for artful design and excellent hospitality is the reason why Hotel Ryumeikan has long been favoured as an “almost secret” luxury. Combining western comforts with Japanese traditions such as tatami mat floors and meticulously prepared traditional and modern Japanese cuisine offered in the Hanagoyomi kitchen, the hotel strikes the perfect balance.

3. Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku

Inn, Hotel

A light room at Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku, with a table, modern chair and bench, a TV and windows
Courtesy of Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku / Expedia

A fresh contrast with the neon-drenched streets of Shinjuku’s main thoroughfares, Onsen Ryokan Yuen Shinjuku is a picture of tranquillity, with bamboo walkways decorated by ikebana installations and, as the name alludes, hot springs galore. Ryokan-level hospitality and modern interior design share the spotlight to create a hotel that best embodies the essence of Tokyo. It’s fresh and exciting, yet embedded with an appreciation of traditionalism.

4. Sawanoya

Inn, Hotel

As close to time travel as you can get, Sawanoya is a family-run ryokan in the heart of Nezu, a neighbourhood much loved for its retro ambience. Trading slick design for charm and warmth, Sawanoya is one of the most genuine ryokans still running in Tokyo, currently under the watchful gaze of the third generation of owners.

5. The Edo Sakura

Inn, Hotel

A cosy room at The Edo Sakura, with a table, chairs, and large windows
Courtesy of the Edo Sakura / Expedia

An architect clearly owns the Edo Sakura, as every inch of this ryokan has been carefully considered, from the classic almost castle-like exterior to the garden views from the bath. According to the designers, the hotel is built around the spirit of Kyoto and of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, offering you a chance to slow down in one of the most bustling metropolises on the planet.

6. Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu

Inn, Hotel

An outside view of Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu, with trees
Courtesy of Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu / Expedia

When exploring Tokyo, it’s impossible to overlook Asakusa, home to the Sensoji Temple (the city’s oldest) and an area regarded (at least unofficially) as the historic capital of the city. Staying in Asakusa should be as traditional as the area itself; at least, that’s what Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu believes. A hotel with magnificent traditional interior design, with a cypress wooden bath with views of Tokyo Tower, it’s Asakusa and traditional Tokyo at their best.

7. Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten

Inn, Hotel

A modern room at Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten, with sofas, carpet, desk, table and two beds
Courtesy of Hotel Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten / Expedia

With a European-style reading corner in the lobby area, Ryumeikan Ochanomizu Honten isn’t your regular ryokan; it’s a meeting point between western luxuries and eastern charm. Situated in a neighbourhood known for plenty of local eateries and cafés, it’s a hotspot for the hungry. But if you’d prefer to stay in, the fusion-style Japanese cuisine along with selected green tea at the on-site 1899 Ochanomizu restaurant is nothing short of delightful.

8. Ryokan Kamogawa

Ryokan

Right in the centre of Asakusa, the most historic neighbourhood in Tokyo, is Ryokan Kamogawa. It’s a two-minute walk from Sensoji Temple and a five-minute walk from Asakusa Subway Station. It blends modern comforts with traditional Japanese aesthetics; tatami-mat rooms are combined with Western beds, perfect if you’re not too excited about sleeping on a futon. For authentic local cuisine, the on-site cuisine features a grill restaurant called Kura.

9. Andon Ryokan

Ryokan

Japanese style sitting area in Andon Ryokan with colourful tiles and flowers
Courtesy of Andon Ryokan / Expedia
Dubbed by the owner as the first designer ryokan in Tokyo, Andon Ryokan marries modern convenience with classical Japanese design. A leisurely 20-minute stroll from Asakusa, the inn is a popular option if you want to experience both the traditional and contemporary sides of Tokyo in luxury. It also hosts a number of cultural classes and activities such as flower arranging, tea ceremonies and origami workshops.

10. Hoshinoya Tokyo

Boutique Hotel, Ryokan

A woman walks behind a screen past a stylish dining room with a large wood table and shelves with dishes at Hoshinoya Tokyo
Courtesy of Hoshinoya Tokyo / Expedia

One of the most talked about ryokans in Tokyo, Hoshinoya is a five-star accommodation just 300m (1,000ft) from the central Otemachi Station. This sleek inn features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, classic sliding shoji screens and incredible city views. It’s within walking distance of 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.

11. Ryokan and Day Shizuku

Boutique Hotel, Ryokan

Sliding doors opening to a garden area at Ryokan and Day Shizuku
Courtesy of Ryokan and Day Shizuku / Expedia

Located in the northern pockets of inner-city Tokyo’s Adachi ward is Ryokan & Day Shizuku. It’s central enough to reach the main tourist attractions such as the Tokyo Skytree and Sensoji Temple, but far enough from the manic energy of the crowded central hubs. Sitting in a quaint neighbourhood, it features classic traditional Japanese design with familiar comforts such as large Western beds. Rooms also come with a wooden bath and small private garden, an ideal retreat if you’re looking to unwind after exploring Tokyo.

12. Ito Ryokan

Boutique Hotel, Ryokan

A classic inn positioned in the heart of the historic Nihombashi neighbourhood, it doesn’t get much more quintessentially old-world Tokyo than Ito Ryokan. Walking distance from the Edo Tokyo Museum, Kachidoki Bridge and the Imperial Palace, it’s an excellent place to stay if you’re planning to explore the city on foot. Although the rooms are traditional in design, complete with futon bedding, it also features a modern bar, where you can chat to fellow travellers while you sip sake.

13. Chiyoda Inn

Boutique Hotel, Ryokan

A classic Japanese house turned ryokan, Chiyoda Inn is one of the cosiest accommodations 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 on foot and via public transport. A little more hostel in style than a luxury inn, it’s best suited to those who don’t mind communal lodgings. There are shared kitchen and bathing facilities and the option of western- or Japanese-style rooms.

Want to splash the cash on more opulent accommodation? Book one of the best luxury hotels in Tokyo or check out our guide to the best hotels in Shibuya, Tokyo. For those inclined to save their yen, discover the best cheap hotels in Tokyo, now bookable via Culture Trip.

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