Today, TripAdvisor announces Japan’s ten best rated Ryokans (traditional Japanese inn), ahead of the world famous cherry blossom season, according to reviews1 from its global travel community.
February to early May in Japan marks the season of Hanami, the celebration of the iconic sakura (cherry blossom) bloom. During this time, the pink flowers blanket the country and Japanese people gather in great numbers wherever the flowering trees are found. Thousands of people fill the parks to hold feasts under the trees, with parties sometimes going on well into the night.
Travellers looking for the most authentic Japanese experience when planning a trip to go and see the famous sakura bloom should consider staying in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style inn. Unique to Japan, Ryokans are known for their distinctive cultural hospitality experience, featuring tatami floors, futon beds, Japanese style hot spring baths and exquisite local cuisine.
“A stay at a Ryokan can provide a window into age old traditions that the Japanese take a huge amount of pride in,” said Hayley Coleman, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Although Hanami is about to start, there are still deals to be had on ryokans available to book on TripAdvisor and travellers looking for a truly cultural experience should take advantage of this,” Hayley continued.
1. Shiraume, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture (331 reviews, 5 out of 5 bubble rating2)
Shiraume is located in one of Kyoto City’s most historic areas, Gion. Tomoko, the Okami (a female Manager for a Ryokan) here pampers her guests with personalised services to glowing reviews. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “From speaking with Tomoko via email to make our booking through to the day we left every single thing about Shiraume is outstanding. It’s everything a westerner could ever hope for in experiencing traditional Japanese hospitality.”
2. Ryokan Fujioto, Nagiso-machi, Nagano Prefecture (228 reviews, 5 out of 5 bubble rating)
The Nakasendo, part of a network of ancient highways connecting Kyoto and Tokyo, is known as being a popular hiking route that passes several small villages with historical structures and waterfalls. Ryokan Fujioto is located in Tsumago, a town on the Nakasendo route and is popular amongst travellers for its friendly staff and local cuisine. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “The hosts were welcoming, helpful and spoke excellent English. The room had amazing views of their beautiful gardens. The highlight was the outstanding meals, both dinner and breakfast which were prepared lovingly using local ingredients and beautifully presented. Memorable stay.”
3. Gero Onsen Fugaku, Gero City, Gifu Prefecture (233 reviews, 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating)
Surrounded by rich nature, the Gero Onsen is a well-known hot spring resort in Japan and has been since the 10th century. Gero Onsen Fugaku is a popular ryokan and has a reputation for its great views and food. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “We stayed there for 1 night and it was definitely one of the best Ryokan experiences I've ever had. The room was spacious and perfectly clean with good modern amenities. The kaiseki dinner was high quality. The onsen at the top floor overlook the river which is a great view even at night. We all managed to get some good sleep with the very comfy tatami bed.”
4. Ryokan Sawanoya, Taito, Tokyo Prefecture (403 reviews, 5 out of 5 bubble rating)
Located near Ueno Park, Ryokan Sawanoya is a traditional family-run inn. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “This was our first experience with Japanese style rooms and it did not disappoint. A lovely authentic experience in a quiet but convenient location.”
5. Ohanabo, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture (163 reviews, 5 out of 5 bubble rating)
Ohanabo is located in a convenient area of Kyoto which is a five-minute walk from the main Kyoto Station. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Ohanabo was a wonderful experience for us. It was my first time in a ryokan, and I have to say it was nothing short of superb, among the best hotels and inns I have stayed in.”
6. Mutsumikan, Gero City, Gifu Prefecture (114 reviews, 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating)
Mutsumikan is also located near Gero Onsen, a hot spring resort. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Great location just beside train station with views facing the mountains, caring service and superb onsen meals. Definitely would return to this inn if I visit Gero again. Very helpful staff who made sure we were comfortable throughout our stay there.”
· Nearby attractions: Gero Onsen Gasshomura
7. Hidatei Hanougi, Takayama, Gifu Prefecture (126 reviews, 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating)
Hidatei Hanaougi is situated amongst a quiet, rich and natural environment where guests are able to take in the famous seasonal views of Japan. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “From the moment you arrive you are greeted with traditional warm Japanese hospitality. Very beautiful setting with beautiful old woodwork and amazing hot springs.”
8. Family Inn Saiko, Toshima, Tokyo Prefecture (389 reviews, 5 out of 5 bubble rating)
Family Inn Saiko is a traditional inn with modern facilities – it is located in Tokyo. A TripAdvisor review commented, “I don't think I have ever received such a lovely welcome to a hotel or inn. The family who run this place are so friendly and helpful. They could not have done more. They will have a chat with you over breakfast and make you feel at home.
9. Yokikan, Ito, Shizuoka Prefecture (138 reviews, 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating)
A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “This ryokan is absolutely fantastic. It was the perfect place to relax after hiking Mt. Fuji. The staff speaks great English and were extremely welcoming to us. The facilities were clean and full of convenient accommodations such as tea, water, massage chairs, and of course the onsen (public bath). The onsen is outdoors and the water comes from actual hot springs. All in all the room, onsen, and facilities were perfect.”
10.Hakuba Onsen Ryokan Shiroumaso, Hakuba-mura, Nagano Prefecture (96 reviews, 5 out of 5 bubble rating)
This ryokan is in Hakuba, which is known to be the Japanese version of the Alps, with its multitudinous ski resorts. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented, “Recommended by a friend, this ryokan was a great experience! We got everything we expected from good ryokan plus genuine great local food and unbelievable landscapes of Hakuba. Service was flawless too.”
Note to editors:
1The ranking of the top 10 Ryokans in Japan is based on the quantity and quality of reviews on Ryokans during the period of October 2014 to September 2015.
2 The number of reviews and bubble rating for each Ryokan are correct as of 23 February 2016
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