Luxury hotels in Japan are characterized by their blend of tradition and avant-garde. They are places that bring the visitor the Japanese customs of hospitality but that at the same time have been transformed following the latest trends. Japan has always been the most modern place and, at the same time, one of those that has best preserved its ancestral traditions. For this reason, in its luxury hotels, traditional onsen coexist with hot tubs, tatami mats and western beds. The traveler who arrives in Japan has the opportunity to discover the feudal customs and the current ones, in a completely balanced communion between the old and the new.
Japan, one of the best trips in the world for 2021 offers all kinds of possibilities. From luxury train travel to enjoying the Olympics or seeing the cherry blossoms. It is a country with high mountain peaks where you can ski on islands like Hokkaido and beautiful tropical islands like Okinawa, where you will feel like in the Caribbean or the Maldives. A place with medieval cities like Nara or Kyoto and ultramodern cities like Osaka and Tokyo. In short, a destination that adapts to what you are looking for. The luxury hotels in Japan have adapted perfectly to what the country entails. When you go, you will discover that Zen philosophy that permeates everything. A philosophy that encourages relaxation, enjoyment and harmony with oneself.
Without further ado, we leave you with the list of the 8 luxury hotels in Japan that we find the most interesting. Remember that we can propose many other options according to your tastes and the area of the country you want to visit.
1. Aman Tokyo – Tokyo
We highlighted it in our post about the best hotels with a spa and that is that Aman Tokyo has a fantastic spa with a thermal bath on the 33rd floor, making it one of the highest in the world. It is also the largest spa in Tokyo, with a 30-meter wide pool from which you can see the entire skyline of the Japanese capital. The views from its pools are completely spectacular.
As is usual in the Aman chain, which has some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the decoration is very functional and minimalist. The design of each element is designed to make the stay more pleasant. With only 84 rooms despite being in a large skyscraper, all rooms have all the comforts. They are spacious and offer great views of the city. Located in the financial center of Tokyo, the Shinjuku district, it allows you to see the Imperial Gardens and Mount Fuji from its vantage points.
2. Zaborin Niseko – Hokkaido
If we prefer something more rural for next winter, when the pandemic situation is under control, Zaborin is a ryokan to consider. Ryokan are their own accommodation that we can only find in Japan and that have their origin in feudal times. In addition, this type of accommodation includes full board, with food determined by Buddhist philosophy. We already told you about this 5-star ryokan in our entry about mountain ski resorts. It is a place in the middle of nature, next to the mountains of central Hokkaido.
Its name is inspired by Zen meditation and means “sit and forget.” Something very easy to achieve being located in nowhere, with beautiful views of the forest and the mountains. The rooms are either with a western bed or with a tatami, depending on what we prefer. They all have views and a fantastic bathroom. There is also a traditional onsen with an outdoor pool. Bathing in the warm water that comes from the center of the Earth with the snowy exterior is wonderful. In addition, it is a good place from which to practice skiing or other mountain sports. Of course, when the Zen philosophy returns it will permeate everything and we can relax and simply enjoy.
3. Halekulani – Okinawa
If what we are looking for is to enjoy the beach and luxury villas with pools, Halekulani Okinawa can be a fantastic option. This resort is located on the island of Okinawa, known as the Japanese Caribbean for its tropical temperatures and its white sand beaches and transparent waters. The name of this luxury resort means “home fit for heaven” in Hawaiian, and the entire experience is focused on delivering excellence to its guests. The hotel is located on the beachfront, in the Kaigan Cuasi National Park, one of the most spectacular in the archipelago.
Both the villas and all the rooms and suites of the hotel have views of the ocean and the National Park. In fact, even the lowest category rooms have a terrace and at least 50 square meters of space. With a large swimming pool in addition to private pools in the villas, the blue of the sea and the water contrasts with the whiteness of the hotel. Follow
Using the Seven Shades of White concept, it offers us a white decoration that reminds us of places like the beautiful Santorini. The restaurants, the spa, the swimming pools and all the facilities have this cosmovision of Casa del Cielo. In other words, the objective for the owners of this hotel is that you really feel in paradise. An objective that is well worth a visit.
4. Mandarin Oriental – Tokyo
If you want another recommendation for Tokyo, one of the fashion capitals of the world, we cannot forget the Mandarin Oriental. Located in Nihonbashi, very close to the Central Station and Ginza, where the luxury shops are, it is a large skyscraper that will take your breath away. This luxury complex has 134 rooms and suites that surprise you with their views of the city, and you can even see Mount Fuji in the distance.
It is a huge hotel with eight different restaurants and two cafes, both Japanese and international food to make you feel at home. Also its spa and its technological equipment have made it one of the luxury hotels in Japan that are a reference in the Japanese capital.
5. The Ritz Carlton – Kyoto
It was named the best hotel in Japan by Condé Nast in 2017 and since then The Ritz Carlton, Kyoto has maintained those quality standards by being the greatest benchmark for luxury in the former imperial capital. The hotel is located on the banks of the Kamogawa River, which separates the oldest and most historic part of Kyoto from other more contemporary neighborhoods. From its rooms you can not only see the river bed but also the Higashiyama mountain where some of the most important temples of the city are located.
In total, it has 134 rooms and suites that take Japanese luxury to a new level. With terraces and bathrooms in which every detail is taken care of, this is a more western-style hotel that preserves the Japanese charm in its architecture and location. With four different restaurants and one of the best spas in the city, this hotel makes you transcend the Kyoto experience, turning your visit into an unforgettable experience. The purest Japan with Gion and Higashiyama in the vicinity awaits us. The place where real geishas live just a few meters from our accommodation.
6. Gora Kadan – Hakone
Gora Kadan is another ryokan that is really worth visiting. Associated with the Relais & Chateaux brand, it is an example of what a luxury ryokan is in Japan. In fact, the building was the residence of the imperial family Kanin-no-Miya, converted into a five-star hotel. One of its secrets is its location, in the heart of Hakone National Park. This area is known for its onsen and thermal baths thanks to the volcanic activity of Fuji. In addition, the hotel plunges directly into nature.
All the suites have a minimalist Japanese design, in which the nature of the environment is also the protagonist. The trees of the Natural Park almost enter the accommodation creating an eco-sustainable atmosphere. Likewise, Gora Kadan stands out for her passion for water. It has a large indoor pool and spa, in addition to its onsen. Not only is there a beautiful public outdoor onsen (we can buy the ticket just for this traditional bath) but some rooms also have their own private outdoor onsen.
Its restaurant with traditional kaiseki cuisine, the usual in ryokan, is also a marvel at the disposal of guests. It is a type of food based on small plates in the style of tasting menus in which aesthetics are as important as taste.
7. Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Bessou AO no ZA – Hokkaido
Lake Shikotsu Tsuruga Bessou AO no ZA ryokan is another of the best luxury hotels in Japan. Like Zaborin, this ryokan is located on the island of Hokkaido, within the Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Opened in May 2019, it is a very recent ryokan with different suites and villas overlooking Lake Shikotsu, one of the most beautiful in all of Japan. In the middle of the forest, it is an ideal area to go all year round, also for winter sports.
The very name of the hotel Ao no Za mixes the concepts of blue and green of the color of the water and the forest with meeting. For this reason, the ryokan is designed as a place where you can interact with the lake and the forest, as well as with the underground hot springs in its onsen. The inspiration for the ryokan centers on two traditional Hokkaido cultures, the Jomon culture and the Ainu culture. Intertwined with the Modern age, they create a very spiritual place in which respect for the ante Past is united with the search for well-being and harmony with nature and water.
8. Setouchi Retreat Aonagi – Matsuyama
We couldn’t finish this list without talking about the Setouchi Retreat Aonagi. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, his design is the first thing that catches your eye. Ruled by Zen minimalism, simplicity and spirituality are used as the basis for achieving mental and physical well-being. This hotel located on the island of Shikoku, little known to foreign visitors, hides great secrets in this quest for enlightenment.
One of them is your pool, which we already highlighted in our article on luxury pools. It is a pool practically in the middle of nature and outdoors, with concrete walls except at one end. This makes all the attention go to the end, in the direction of the sea. Of course, this hotel has an onsen and also an indoor pool. In total it only has 7 wonder suites so staying here is very complicated.