Explore The 8 Best Onsen Ryokans Hot Springs In Japan 2023

Although Japan is known for its culinary delights, centuries-old architecture and kawaii culture, be sure to make time to visit an onsen (a hot spring, or a resort that has developed around a hot spring) no matter when you travel. Immersing yourself in a natural hot spring is a staple of Japanese culture and a deeply relaxing experience. 

Onsen Ryokan hotels take the best of hot spring bathing and transform it into a relaxing overnight experience similar to a Western spa resort. Tatami floors, futon mattresses and other traditional elements can be found in the ryokans, but the star of the show is always the warm, inviting hot springs. Ryokans are popular with locals and tourists alike, and while there’s never a bad time to visit, the colder months are a fantastic time to warm up.

Kiyomi Sanso Hanajukai, Takamatsu, Kagawa

Travelers will find the Kiyomi Sanso Hanajukai in Saihō Chō on the Seto Inland Sea, a modern 35-room ryokan with magnificent views of the ocean and nearby islands to the north and the city skyline to the south, which can be enjoyed in the spacious open-air public baths.

Kotohira Kadan, Nakatado, Kagawa

Kotohira Kadan is a traditional ryokan with a history of more than 400 years, located in the northwestern district of Nakatado in Kagawa Prefecture. The property has attracted locals, tourists, and renowned Japanese authors, including Ogai Mori, Hakushu Kitahara, and Akiko Yosano, since its opening, primarily because of the breathtaking views of Mount Sanuki-Fuji and the city of Kotohira, as well as the natural hot springs that flow into the public and private outdoor baths.

Oborozukiyo, Matsuyama, Ehime

Just a short distance from the Dogo Onsen, Oborozukiyo offers a more private experience. According to Japanese custom, most onsen (including onsen ryokans) have separate areas for men and women, and bathers must be completely nude. Oborozukiyo offers private open-air onsen filled with fresh spring water fed directly from the famous Dogo Onsen next door if you are very shy or prefer to bathe in privacy with your loved one.

Hotel Kazurabashi, Miyoshi, Tokushima

Visit Hotel Kazurabashi in Miyoshi, Tokushima Prefecture, and take a dip in the rooftop onsen. You’ll be delighted by the breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding nature. When the leaves begin to change color in autumn and are reflected on pastel-colored water, it’s a beautiful sight.

Funaya, Matsuyama, Ehime

This conveniently located hot spring resort in Ehime Prefecture is a good choice for those who want to enjoy soothing hot spring baths without sacrificing city amenities. It is just a short distance from Dogo Onsen Station. The 380-year-old onsen offers everything you’d want from a spa resort: multiple onsens, a tranquil Zen garden, a sauna, and optional massages – everything you’d want from a spa complex.

Dogo-Kan, Matsuyama, Ehime

One of the most famous and historic onsens in the area is this one. The Man’yōshū, written in 758, made reference to the Dogo Onsen, suggesting that they may be older than 1,000 years. Although the onsen is located in the center of Matsuyama, residents still enjoy it today and the area feels more like a resort than a busy Japanese city.

Wanoyado Hotel Iyaonsen, Miyoshi, Tokushima

This ryokan is the most sought-after property in Shikoku and is surrounded by stunning views of the famous Iya Valley. As soon as you step onto the tatami floor, futon mattresses, in-room massage chairs, and unobstructed views of the surrounding valley, you will immediately notice the soothing atmosphere. The private open-air baths at the foot of the valley, fed with hot spring water directly from the spring, can also be reached by funicular.

AoAwo Naruto Resort, Naruto, Tokushima

You could just check into the AoAwo Naruto Resort, located on the coast in Tokushima Prefecture, and then, well, never leave. The large resort offers a few ways to relax, such as a private beach, rooms with terraces and ocean views, swimming pools, hot tubs, and two onsens.

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