Beginning of main content

A stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan isn't just a bed for the night. It's also an immersive and interesting experience in its own right. If you're the kind of traveller who loves to feel the spirit of a destination, then choosing these centuries-old inns from ebookers is a wise way to go. They come in all shapes and sizes, range from high luxury to more budget-friendly, and always promise an encounter with the elegant, time-honoured ways of Japanese life. With their vernacular architecture and cuisine, carefully curated interiors and dedication to authentic Japanese hospitality, these accommodations offer a trip to remember.

The first thing you're likely to notice about a ryokan is the way it looks. These traditional lodgings still follow the aesthetic tone that was popular in feudal Japan. That means an abundance of timber walls and muted colours, pine-shaded courtyards and rock gardens, all adding up to create somewhere that seems to merge almost organically with the nature around it. The serenity outside only gives way to more inside, too. Delve into the rooms and you'll discover places with classic futon beds, straw-mat tatami floors and sliding walls of opaque paper – the sort of iconic Japanese home you've been waiting for.

But the looks are just the beginning of the experience in a ryokan. There's also a schedule of meals that'll have you munching on the famous haute cuisine of Japan. That means potent tipples of local sake to cleanse the palate and meticulously crafted platters of sashimi. It means seafood washed in vinegar dressings and wagyu steaks that are sure to get your mouth a-tingling. You'll also be living the traditional Japanese life – many rooms come with designated areas to remove shoes, and some trade off big central heating systems for traditional warmers. Most are minimalistic and simple, without the distracting tech of modern hotels.

Finding a Tokyo ryokan might be tricky because these age-old stays don't tend to nestle in the midst of big cities. That said, there is a range to pick from in the capital, while other urban destinations like Kyoto and Osaka also have their fair share. The upshot is that most Japanese ryokan offer an escape to the wilds. They sit in the shadow of Hokkaido's snow-doused peaks, between the swaying pine forests of the Gunma hills or right next to the bubbling hot springs and gushing rivers of Kobe. That makes them a great place to get a feel for the Japan of yesteryear, where rustic villages and breathtaking nature abounds.

Whether you're looking for a luxurious pad where bubbling hot springs sit outside the window or just a taste of classic Japanese hospitality, a ryokan can oblige. There are countless options to pick from on ebookers.com, ranging from classy ryokans that serve up haute cuisine to more bucolic stays with a charming rusticity to them. That not only means that no 2 trips to Japan will be the same, but also that there's plenty of scope to find the pad that's perfect for you. Just enter the dates you plan on travelling and we'll reveal all the top-rated stays around. You can even zoom in and out using our travel map to discover ryokans in hidden neighbourhoods and locations that you might not have considered visiting before.