The Best Hotels in Japan
Collected by Meg Alcazar , AFAR Local Expert
Even beyond the dizzying neon of Tokyo and historic temples of Kyoto, Japan holds a wealth of landscapes and environments. City lovers can find urban boutique hotels perched high in skyscrapers, while history buffs might feel at home in a traditional ryokan tucked along a mountain stream. Active travelers can ski the slopes in Hokkaido, surf on Okinawan beaches, or hike in volcanic valleys before relaxing in a natural onsen hot spring. Blending local customs and international standards of luxury, visitors can find a variety of experiences in Japanese hotels and resorts.
375 Hanaseharachichō, Sakyō-ku, Kyoto, 601-1102, Japan
You’ll feel zen from the moment you drive in from nearby Kyoto, along a narrow road through Japanese cedars and past temples and shrines, to the moment you sink into a hot bath at this intimate ryokan. Refreshed and relaxed, you’ll...
Shimizu, Toyako, Abuta District, Hokkaido 049-5722, Japan
A luxury resort on Hokkaido island, the Windsor Hotel Toya carries a certain cachet in Japan as the setting for the 2008 G8 summit. It continues to stay fit for world leaders and royalty, putting an emphasis on relaxation in nature and fine...
Japan, 〒048-1592 北海道Abuta-gun, 虻田郡ニセコ町Higashiyama, 東山温泉
Under the same management umbrella as the nearby Hilton, the Green Leaf has a more intimate boutique feel with the same conveniences as the larger resort. Built for the Hokkaido winter slopes—the Green Leaf is ski-in and ski-out—but...
温泉, 東山 ニセコ町 虻田郡 北海道 048-1592, Japan
A large resort at the base of the Niseko Village gondola, the Hilton combines a central location, breathtaking views, and convenient amenities. This is the choice for travelers who plan to spend their day on the ski slopes or golf links from...
Japan, 〒044-0081 HokkaidoAbuta-gun, 虻田郡Yamada, 倶知安町字山田70-150
Comprising nine modern and elegant apartments smack-dab in the middle of Niseko Village, Muse is for the skier who wants the option of cooking a meal in a kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances, or leaving it to the experts across the street at...
Japan, 〒044-0081 Hokkaidō, Abuta-gun, Kutchan-chō, Yamada, 字山田１６３
Niseko may be known as the Aspen of the East, but the Grandpapa Lodge feels decidedly Alpine, with a gingerbread exterior, Swiss fondue restaurant, and pension-style friendliness. Modest rooms are cozy and sparse (some with a shared bath), but so...
Japan, 〒401-0305 Yamanashi-ken, Minamitsuru-gun, Fujikawaguchiko-machi, Ōishi, 南都留郡富士河口湖町大石１４０８
The woodblock prints from ukiyo-e artist Hokusai first introduced me to Japan’s most iconic volcano. Between 1826 and 1833, Hokusai traveled to many provinces in Japan to see Mount Fuji from different vantage points as represented in his...
5 Chome Minami 1 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0061, Japan
The Okura is a midrange hotel with well-sized rooms (a rarity in Japan) and a few niceties like kimonos and a tea ceremony room. The Okura is situated a few minutes’ walk of Sapporo's wooden Clock Tower and the tree-lined and...
Japan, 〒060-0005 Hokkaidō, Sapporo-shi, Chūō-ku, Kita 5 Jōnishi, 2 Chome−5−番地
The hotel of choice for Sapporo visitors who want stellar city views and easy access to shopping and food, the Hotel Nikko Sapporo is located on floors 23-34 of the JR Tower, the tallest building on the island of Hokkaido. The Tower tops the main...
1270-48 Yufuinchō Kawakami, Yufu-shi, Ōita-ken 879-5102, Japan
On Japan’s smaller island of Kyushu, the towns of Yufuin and Beppu are known for their hot springs, or onsen. The Sansou Murata blends traditional and modern elements for those seeking a unique onsen experience, with old Japanese houses...
４３７６番地 Hayatochō Kareigawa, Kirishima-shi, Kagoshima-ken 899-5113, Japan
Hot springs are a Japanese institution for relaxation and healing, and the Myoken Ishiharaso is an exemplary natural spa experience. The inn sits on the Amorigawa River in a volcanic valley that feeds abundant, free-flowing springs....
3-60 Ōfukachō, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 530-0011, Japan
A luxury hotel befitting the massive Grand Front commercial complex, the Intercontinental Osaka has all the bells and whistles of a five-star property. Amply sized rooms include Bose speakers, soaking tubs with separate rain showers, and bath...
2 Chome-5-２５ Umeda, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 530-0001, Japan
Upholding the brand’s five-star standard, the Ritz-Carlton Osaka is an opulent city hotel with all the expected amenities. The decor feels more 18th-century England than modern-day Japan, but the location,in the central Nishi-Umeda district,...
Taketomi, Yaeyama District, Okinawa Prefecture 907-1101, Japan
The understated and modest villas at the Hoshinoya Taketomi Island resort are a far cry from the characterless concrete and stucco of many beach resorts, but then again, this is Japan, where tradition and elegant simplicity are standard. The...
1343-1, 喜瀬 名護市 沖縄県 905-0026, Japan
The island of Okinawa has long been a favorite beach and golf getaway destination for the Japanese, and the Ritz-Carlton opened their first luxury resort in the country here in 2013, blending island style with the hotel brand’s warm...
3 Chome-6-１２ Honmachi, Chūō-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 541-0053, Japan
Bordering Midosuji Avenue, a north-south city artery brimming with businesses and gingko trees, the St. Regis Osaka inhabits a 27-story building that required special permits in its predominantly mid-rise environs. The property prides itself on...
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