6 Beautiful Traditional Ryokan Inns to Stay at in Tokyo
Often wonderful examples of Japanese hospitality, ryokans are usually independent family-run inns that place an emphasis on traditional values and appearance. Much different to the modern hotel, these time-honored lodgings offer a unique experience most visitors tend to miss out on. While often associated with more rural towns and mountain villages, however for those without time to head out of the city, Tokyo offers a number of ryokans to stay at for you to get a feel for the traditional side to Japan.
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Housed in an old building that's registered as a 'Tangible Cultural Property', Homeikan oozes with traditional Japanese charm. The ryokan actually features three different buildings, each as beautiful as the other for walking around and soaking in the old-world atmosphere complete with Japanese gardens and koi pond.
Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo
In the backstreets of Tokyo's traditional Asakusa neighborhood, Sadachiyo is one of the best places in the city for those wanting a typical ryokan stay without any modern influences. Unlike most ryokans in Tokyo, Sadachiyo offers traditional breakfast and kaiseki dinner sets, something which is commonplace for these inns outside of the cities. Prices start from 14,400 yen for a small room for one person or 20,000 for two.
Offering a wonderful blend of modern luxury and traditional values, Hoshinoya is for those who are looking for a traditional stay without compromising on modern amenities and extravagant decor. Located just next to the Imperial Palace in bustling Otemachi, Hoshinoya has everything you'd normally expect at a ryokan including hot spring baths and tatami flooring. Luxury and innovative rooms don't come cheap however, expect a cost of from at least 40,000 yen per room.
Tucked away in a traditional suburb of Tokyo near to Ueno Park, the quaint family-run Sawanoya has been operating for over 70 years. Featuring onsen baths, Japanese gardens and traditional tatami-floored rooms, the real charm to Sawanoya however is the Sawa family and their warm hospitality, a key aspect of traditional ryokans which shines here. Rooms run from 5,830 yen for a single room and 11,000 for a double.
Yuen Shinjuku Onsen Ryokan
Modern and luxury at a much more affordable price point than Hoshinoya, Yuen is located right at the heart of Shinjuku. Opening earlier this year, the facilities are new and mixes popular hotel aspects such as western style beds combined with traditional Japanese details, decor and service. Apart from the beautiful design and reasonable room rates, this ryokan's real draw is its onsen, traditional Japanese hot spring baths which has water brought directly from a hot spring source in Hakone. You'll even find an open-air bath on the 18th floor, something which is quite a rarity in Tokyo. Room rates are from 11,000 for a double room.
Don't let its name fool you, Hotel Edoya is distinctly Japanese. Although there are a few western-style rooms at the inn for those looking for some familiar comforts, the style and service here is of a traditional ryokan without any modern frills. In a fairly quiet area near Ueno, Edoya allows guests to relax in rooftop hot springs and gardens while in close vicinity to the city center. Prices are quite reasonable too from just 12,000 yen for a room for two.
With Tokyo having long since developed into a bustling modern metropolis it can difficult to get a glimpse and feel for the traditional side to Japan which is often idolized by foreigners. While many ryokan inns have made way for modern hotels and hostels, you'll still find some of these traditional inns dotted around the city, creating a window into the city's old roots and culture.