Onsen Ryokan Near Tokyo – Looking for the perfect ryokan getaway? Just want to experience a slice of the traditional Japanese life without traveling halfway across the country? If so, then we have the perfect suggestions for four areas to relax in a Japanese traditional inn nearby.
There are certainly plenty of ryokan-style accommodation options in and around the big city. However, nothing compares to staying in an actual onsen town. Areas like Hakone and Kusatsu onsen, famed for their beautiful natural hot springs, draw visitors from all over the world throughout the year.
Yes, even in summer!
Being tucked away in Japan’s beautiful countryside landscape means fresh air, stunning views, and a tranquillity that you won’t get if you stay at a ryokan in Tokyo.
All past ryokan guests in these areas will agree that the experience is second to none. Everything from the traditional build of the ryokan to the delicious seasonal meals served is surprisingly and yet not so surprisingly perfect.
Below are suggestions of four areas where you can relax in a Japanese traditional inn near Tokyo.
Most people who have visited Japan before or are currently living in Japan will have heard of Hakone. It’s almost always amongst the top suggestions for day trips from Tokyo. Anyone who is looking for a ryokan experience or a quiet getaway from Tokyo will find that Hakone ticks many boxes. It’s cheap, accessible and a fun getaway.
Amongst the most popular activities to do in Hakone would be, of course, to stay in a ryokan. There are limitless options here and most offer their own onsite hot spring baths for guests. There are certain ryokans that provide rooms with their own private baths so you can experience it in a more comfortable setting.
Perfect for those who are not ready to go full-monty!
Note that cost of staying at a ryokan is certainly not cheap. Most people would argue that the premium price you pay is totally worth the experience though.
Aside from the ryokans, there are plenty of other attractions in Hakone that draw crowds from Tokyo. They include Owakudani, a smoky sulfuric mountain landscape, Lake Ashinoko, where you can take beautiful pictures and even spot Mount Fuji if you’re lucky, and the Open-Air Museum.
If you’d like to learn more about the beautiful ryokans in Hakone, check out our article: Best Ryokan in Hakone with Private Onsen >>
2. Mount Fuji
Mount Fuji is arguably one of the world’s most beautiful mountains and thus people from all over Japan every year. Its most popular period is from late autumn until the end of spring. This is when the mountain is more than likely to be visible and you can capture some stunning photos framed with cherry blossoms or fiery-coloured leaves. It’s also during this period that you’ll be fighting for the best photo spots!
Mount Fuji is home to some of the most impressive ryokans. Maybe it’s purely for the fact that it offers beautiful uninterrupted views of Mount Fuji itself. This alone makes it a popular area for those looking for a traditional Japanese inn experience. It’s also easily accessible from Tokyo as well. It’s a great option for those who are conscious about time.
Because of the massive area around Mount Fuji that offer viewpoints of the mountain, you’ll find that many ryokans are spread out and private. When you’re booking, remember to book one with a mountain view!
We’ve curated an impressive list of some of the best Mount Fuji ryokans with a view, check out the article here: Mt Fuji Ryokan with Private Onsen >>
3. Kusatsu Onsen
Kusatsu Onsen is a bit of a hidden treat for foreign visitors in Japan. Whilst highly popular amongst domestic travellers, it’s only recently begun to land on the itineraries of international travellers.
It’s considered one of the best hot spring resorts across Japan due to its premium water quality and rich history. An interesting fact about Kusatsu Onsen is that it draws its water from not one, but six different water sources. Each apparently offers their own unique quality and effect on the skin. Because of this, it is suggested that you onsen-hop through the town during your stay.
Whilst it’s completely do-able as a day trip, it is highly recommended that you stay overnight in one of the luxurious ryokans. Many of them have long and rich histories, and have been operating for a long time. You’ll be able to witness the traditional Japanese elements from the moment you arrive.
If you absolutely cannot stay overnight, there are plenty of standalone hot springs and onsen baths within ryokans that accept day visitors.
If you are looking for the premium ryokan experience, we suggest you check out our article here of the seven best Japanese ryokan you just cannot miss whilst at Kusatsu Onsen: Best Kusatsu Onsen Ryokan >>
4. Takaragawa Onsen (Gunma)
If you thought Kusatsu Onsen was a hidden gem, then Takaragawa Onsen is completely off the map!
This onsen town is considered to be one of the most romantic getaways. It is often one of the top choices for couples looking for a relaxing weekend trip in a ryokan. You’ll find that plenty of ryokans here are actually located on the mountainside which present some indescribable scenery. It is located in the mountainous region of Gunma, after all!
The authenticity of the ryokans here really shines through. Some have been operating for a number of years and have developed an ambient that’s irreplaceable. From their structural beauty to the minimalist decor of the rooms, it’s wholly Japanese.
The best time to visit this magical hot spring town would have to be peak autumn. This is due to its location in the deep in the mountains. It is surrounded by nature, and when the trees change their leaf colour, it’s simply breathtaking.
Note that Takaragawa Onsen is a little further away than the aforementioned onsen towns. It’s still a relatively short distance away from Tokyo. It takes roughly three hours to get to via train.
To find out more about this dreamy onsen town tucked away in Japan’s countryside, have a read of our dedicated article here: Takaragawa Onsen Osenkaku >>
Relaxing in a traditional Japanese inn may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re planning your Japan trip. In fact, for the adventure-seekers, this may seem like the opposite of what you’re looking for. However, hear us out because experiencing a stay at a ryokan is an adventure in itself.
Nowhere else in the world will you be able to admire the structural beauty of an authentic ryokan, possibly built hundreds of years ago.
The Japanese adhere to the philosophy of “omotenashi”, which means to provide the best service as possible without expecting anything in return. Therefore, nowhere else will you be attended to by the most accommodating staff members you’ll ever experience.
Lastly, there’s nothing like appreciating the natural beauty of Japan’s landscape through the comfort of your own traditional Japanese room. Complete with quality tatami mat flooring, beautiful Japanese furniture, and a steaming pot of green tea, and you’ve got yourself a winner.