Staying in a ryokan is a great way to experience old-style Japanese hospitality. Ryokans can be hundreds of years old and very formal, although there are newer ryokans that offer modern facilities with the best of traditional hospitality. If you have limited time, staying in a ryokan is a great way to see a different side to Tokyo.
We’ve picked 10 great ryokans in Tokyo to get you started.
Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu
Overlooking the Sensoji Temple, this beautiful ryokan has both Japanese and Western style rooms. The real highlight are the communal baths on the top floor, that overlook the temples and the pagoda.
A hundred years ago, this building was home to the poet Takuboku Ishikawa. Situated just north of the Tokyo centre in the Bunkyo district, it’s convenient for sightseeing but in a quiet neighbourhood. With 52 rooms it’s larger than most ryokans, so it’s great for larger groups looking to stay in one place. There’s 2 communal baths with jets, as well as a lovely inner-courtyard complete with koi carp.
With just 12 Japanese style tatami rooms, this small English-speaking ryokan is located in Taito, just north of Ueno. It’s one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Tokyo and a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the centre. This ryokan has two private baths, including one wooden bath overlooking the garden. There’s also free wifi and rental bikes.
This ryokan has a main building as well as two nearby annexes. This is a quieter neighbourhood but still convenient for the city centre. The main building is listed by the government as a historic building, but each room has modern facilities such as TV and air conditioning. There are two communal baths in each ryokan, including a mineral bath in one of the annexes.
Hotel Ryumeikan is located just a few minutes walk from Tokyo station, making this a great choice if you will be arriving by train. The ryokan has been in business for over 100 years and now offers the best of a hotel stay alongside traditional Japanese hospitality – most of the rooms are now western style but there are some tatami rooms available. There is a tea ceremony room inside the hotel.
This medium sized ryokan is notable as all the staff speak English. The Japanese-style rooms have shared bathrooms but this is reflected in the price. There’s a private cypress bath as well as a rooftop terrace where guests are encouraged to socialise. There’s free wifi and a laundry on site.
Sukeroku No Yado Sadachiyo
Near the traditional neighbourhood of Asakusa, this ryokan specialises in recreating the atmosphere of old Edo. The front of the building is well kept and traditional, and this follows through to the rooms inside. It’s possible to enjoy a dinner of authentic Edo-era recipes, as well as two beautiful baths; one made of cypress and the other of black granite. There’s also a lounge with wifi and hot drinks.
This slick new ryokan is the perfect choice if you want modern comforts with great hospitality. All staff speak English and can help you with organising tours or dinner reservations. The ryokan is decorated with antiques, which contrast well with the modern building. Rooms are small but well equipped, and the ryokan has a private jacuzzi bath with an amazing pop art mural.
Bridging the gap between ryokans and hotels, the Sumisho Hotel has both western and Japanese style rooms available, all with an en-suite bathroom. There’s also several large baths that can be hired separately. The central location makes this convenient for sightseeing all over Tokyo.
Another ryokan/hotel crossover, the Kaminarimon has Japanese and western style guest rooms. The more expensive rooms have en-suite bathrooms, while the cheapest rooms share showers. There’s also a communal bath and a convenient location in the heart of Asakusa.