1. Ochiairo
    Photo: Ochiairo
  2. Hoshinoya Fuji
    Photo: Hoshinoya FujiHoshinoya Fuji
  3. Hakone Honbako
    Photo: Kei SugimotoHakone Honbako
  4. Hotel Gajoen
    Photo: Takaaki ItoHotel Gajoen Tokyo

10 of the most beautiful hotels and resorts in Japan

From historical Kyoto to the art island of Naoshima, these cool hotels, resorts and ryokan will have you dreaming of a Japan holiday

Emma Steen
Written by
Emma Steen

Travel accommodation, for some, is merely a convenient location to sleep and store their belongings while they’re off on grand adventures. For others, the hotel is a part of the journey itself, a place to relax and experience the mood of the local area, free from the everyday stresses of life. 

If you’re looking for a place to stay that’s a destination in itself, Japan has you covered. From sleek modern mountain escapes to traditional ryokan with natural hot springs, these Japanese resorts, hotels and ryokan are so stunning they might just be the highlight of your next trip.

RECOMMENDED: See the most beautiful destinations in Japan

Note: the room rates listed are rough estimates and may differ according to season and occupany

Japan’s most beautiful hotels

These geometric cabins boast a view that few of Japan’s finest hotels can offer: a clear and unobstructed panorama of Japan’s most sacred mountain. Tucked in the pine-covered mountains of Lake Kawaguchiko in Yamanashi prefecture, Hoshinoya Fuji takes glamping up several notches, providing guests with the ultimate digital detox. 

Mealtimes come with a choice between a picnic basket on your private balcony overlooking Mt Fuji, an outdoor wood-fired pizza workshop or a feast of local game including wild boar and venison. When you’re not luxuriating in a hammock, you can explore the scenic mountains, book guided hikes, enjoy early-morning canoeing on the nearby Lake Kawaguchi or get in the saddle and go horse riding along the lake shore. The secluded rural area is also a fantastic spot for stargazing.

Packages start from  ¥31,437 per person per night

  • Hotels
  • Boutique hotels
  • Hakone

An idyllic place for booklovers, Hakone Honbako instills the kind of peaceful, uninterrupted bliss that you get when perusing your favourite bookstore. The hotel is warm and cosy, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in space. The main lobby is a grand, double-height library with small nooks for reading built into the shelves themselves.

There are roughly 12,000 books in the hotel, many of which can also be found in the guest rooms. To help curate the collection, Hakone Honbako collaborated with a group of prominent Japanese photographers, architects, novelists and even chefs, and the library features some of their personal favourite reads. 

While you could spend all day lounging on the hotel’s pillowy duvets pouring over a good book, the hotel also boasts a few other amenities to add some variety to your stay. There’s a cushy cinema, where a different selection of films from the Short Shorts Film Festival is screened every month, as well as outdoor baths made of hinoki for a leisurely dip with a mountain view. 

Packages start from ¥33,218


Art lovers who make the pilgrimage to the art island of Naoshima often make a point of staying at Benesse House, a hotel that is an art installation in its own right. The hotel was constructed in 1992, and was designed by famed architect Tadao Ando.

The hotel is just a ten-minute walk from Naoshima’s iconic Yellow Pumpkin made by Yayoi Kusama, but every aspect of the complex gives guests the opportunity to experience art and design up close. From the furniture to the sea views, everything here is like a work of art. After a long day of exploring the island on foot , consider taking part in the hotel’s Cultural Melting Bath ritual, held every Sunday, where you can have a soak in a traditional Japanese bath in a serene garden overlooking the sea. 

Packages from ¥42,000

Nestled in the serene mountains of Izu, Shizuoka prefecture, the Ochiairo Hotel is a special retreat, steeped in history and culture. This charming ryokan was founded in 1874 during the early Meiji period, and was named after the two rivers that converge at its location, using the Japanese term ‘Ochiau’, which means ‘rendezvous’. 

As a Registered Tangible Cultural Property of Japan, Ochiairo boasts exceptional craftsmanship and stunning architecture, with the main wing constructed from rare woods such as black persimmon and ebony, and the sub wing crafted using Sukiya-style techniques from classical tea ceremony houses. The guest rooms, staircases, and corridors are adorned with intricate designs and precise workmanship, making every corner of the property a sight to behold.

Beyond its impressive cultural heritage, Ochiairo offers guests the chance to fully unwind and relax in the midst of nature, surrounded by the soothing sounds of the river. Cultural asset tours are also available for those keen to delve deeper into the history and artistry of this remarkable ryokan. 

Packages start from ¥53,850


Peaceful, secluded and elegant, this exclusive ryokan in Hokkaido is a seamless combination of old and new. Modern architectural styles are accentuated with themes of wabi sabi, where sleek wooden tables are adorned with traditional Japanese artwork.

A highlight of Zaborin ryokan is its onsen baths, which are filled with naturally sourced volcanic spring water. Each room  has its own outdoor bath, so you can enjoy the classic onsen experience in peace. Zaborin’s restaurant, headed by award-winning chef Yoshihiro Seno, specialises in kaiseki cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. 

Packages start from ¥57,000 per person

  • Hotels
  • Meguro

Gajoen, one of Japan’s most ornate and elaborately decorated hotels, is located in the heart of Tokyo. With lavish restaurants, a Japanese garden featuring a koi-filled pond, and frequent exhibitions, it's not uncommon for Hotel Gajoen to be visited by Tokyo art lovers who don’t have plans to stay the night. Ever since its completion in 1931, when Tokyo was recovering from a devastating earthquake, the hotel has been both a beacon of hope and a byword for opulence. 

With so many pieces of 20th century Japanese art on display, it can be a challenge to take it all in at once, so it’s lucky the hotel offers guests free guided tours, allowing you to see the most treasured pieces and learn about them in depth. 

Packages start from ¥42,000


Just 30 minutes from Kyoto Station, the Roku Kyoto offers a unique blend of traditional Japanese hospitality and contemporary luxury. With its sleek and stylish design, this luxury hotel is an ideal retreat for travellers seeking a refined and sophisticated experience in the cultural capital of Japan.

Each of the 114 guest rooms is elegantly appointed with modern furnishings and traditional Japanese accents, such as sliding shoji doors and tatami mats. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the city from their private balconies and indulge in the hotel's exceptional amenities, including a serene onsen hot spring and a tranquil garden courtyard.

The hotel's central location provides easy access to Kyoto's most iconic attractions, such as the Fushimi Inari Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. And with its exceptional dining options, including the French-inspired restaurant Tenjin, Hotel Roku Kyoto is the perfect base for exploring the city's vibrant culinary scene.

Packages start from ¥83,853

Floating hotel Guntû in Setouchi is anything but your average cruise. Combining the warm hospitality of a ryokan with the high-end amenities of a top-class cruise liner, Guntû offers a range of traditional Japanese-style luxuries that are second to none. The 81.2-metre ship only accommodates a small group of passengers with its 14 minimalist cabins designed by architect Yasushi Horibe. Some of the guest rooms even have their own private hinoki baths.

During their stay, guests can indulge in exquisite omakase-style sushi dinners, sit in a tearoom specialising in wagashi (Japanese sweets), practise yoga on the deck or book a massage. Though you could easily spend your entire stay staring out at the ocean view, going from the spa facilities to the open deck for a cocktail, the ship also takes guests on different routes to explore the best of the Setouchi region.

Cruises follow one of seven different routes on the temperate Seto Inland Sea, ranging between three and four days. Take a route eastbound to visit the island of Shodoshima, tour public art installations and a sake brewery, or travel west to tour the fishing island of Iwashima and see Miyajima's stunning floating torii gate.

Three night two day voyages start from ¥550,000 per person


Amanemu in Mie prefecture is a true gem of a retreat, perched atop a verdant hill and overlooking the majestic Ago Bay. This tranquil haven features contemporary Japanese architecture that blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, creating a serene and calming atmosphere that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and at peace.

The hotel's 24 suites and four villas boast a minimalist design that draws inspiration from Japanese aesthetics and offer stunning views of the bay. Amanemu's wellness facilities are a true highlight, with a large outdoor infinity pool that appears to merge seamlessly with the bay, a serene indoor onsen fed by the region's natural hot springs, and an array of bespoke spa treatments inspired by the surrounding forests and their healing properties.

The hotel's culinary offerings are equally impressive, with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients and traditional Japanese cuisine. Guests can savour these exquisite dishes in elegant surroundings that showcase the bay's stunning vistas.

Packages start from ¥180,000

Built in 1936, Kanaguya is a long-standing traditional ryokan in Shibu Onsen, a mountain town with a rich hot spring history. Its unique red-walled interior is similar to the fictional bathhouse from the Studio Ghibli film ‘Spirited Away’, meaning it attracts many fans of the illustrious anime house.

Kanaguya features eight baths in total, five of which are private ones you can book. The three communal baths consist of the Ryurui open-air bath, a Roman bath with stained glass windows and the cloudy white Kamakura bath, which combines the natural hot spring water from Shibu Onsen and Jigokudani Araigawara. 

Packages start from ¥25,000

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