Most Romantic Hotels in Japan

From modern takes on a ryokan to tiny boutique properties, there are plenty of intimate hotels for a romantic trip to Japan.

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If you’re planning a vacation with your partner, Japan offers plenty of romantic hotels for an unforgettable getaway. The country’s ryokans, or traditional inns, are a favorite among local couples for intimate trips. They’re beloved for their omotenashi, a term that means to wholeheartedly look after guests, and have historically been a place where weary travelers can slow down and rejuvenate. Such properties typically offer seasonal multicourse kaiseki dinners and, in some cases, onsen (hot spring) bathing facilities, where the mineral-rich waters have natural healing properties.

And if you’re looking to round out your time in Japan with an exceptional boutique hotel that offers well-appointed accommodations, curated experiences, or a full-service spa, we’ve got you covered there, too. So whether it’s for a honeymoon, anniversary, or just because, these are some of the best romantic hotels in Japan.

Most Romantic Hotels in Japan

Best Overall : The Shinmonzen


Shinmonzen Kyoto Japan

Courtesy of Shinmonzen

Why We Chose It

This new all-suite boutique hotel in Kyoto offers a great location and exceptional service.

Notable Amenities

Complimentary minibar, Dyson hair dryer, free transfers to/from Kyoto Station

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Prime location in Kyoto’s Gion district

  • Spacious, individually designed rooms

  • Beautiful riverside lounge with terrace

Cons
  • Expensive

  • No formal spa

Hotel Description

Kyoto has its fill of great hotels, but newcomer Shinmonzen is setting the standard for luxury. Located on a quiet street in Gion, the property is near popular attractions like Ninenzaka Street and Nishiki Market, yet feels worlds away from these tourist-laden destinations. Designed by world-renowned architect Tadao Ando, the building seamlessly blends in with the surrounding historic architecture, while its interiors combine traditional and modern elements. The nine individually designed suites feature large marble bathrooms and light, natural color palettes. They have either Western or Japanese-style bedding, and most come with hinoki cypress tubs. After a busy day exploring this temple-filled city, relax on your balcony with a bottle of wine from Villa La Coste, the Shinmonzen’s sister property in Provence, France, from the complimentary minibar.

A restaurant by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is set to open in early 2023, but for now, Western and Japanese breakfasts are served in the Riverside Lounge. For a truly romantic experience, ask the staff to set up a table on the terrace so you can enjoy your meal with serene views of the Shirakawa River.

Best Luxury : Amanemu


2017 Detox
Courtesy of Aman
Why We Chose It

Aman’s ryokan-inspired onsen resort in Mie Prefecture boasts sumptuous accommodations and one of the country’s most spectacular spas.

Notable Amenities

Complimentary afternoon tea, outdoor pool, complimentary Bianchi bikes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Spacious accommodations with private onsen

  • Breakfast included

  • Complimentary transportation from Kashikojima Station

Cons
  • High room rates

  • Limited activities and attractions in the vicinity

Hotel Description

Overlooking Ago Bay in Mie Prefecture, Amanemu has a serene ambiance and is the perfect escape for those looking to slow down after exploring happening destinations like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. This modern, luxurious take on a ryokan has just 28 accommodations that come in the form of spacious suites or two-bedroom villas. Each features a minimalist design, furnished decks, and soaking tubs with hot spring water on tap.

Guests are invited to bike around the sprawling grounds, have a drink in the lounge, and, most importantly, enjoy the spa. Recline on a daybed, soak in the mineral-rich waters, book some time at one of the two private onsen pavilions, and then head inside for a treatment of your choice. The property’s signature restaurant offers both à la carte and tasting menus, the latter of which highlights local delicacies, including Matsusaka wagyu beef. For a unique experience, ask the staff to arrange a lunch with an ama, a female free diver who scours the ocean for seaweed, lobster, and mollusks. She’ll grill her catch in an amagoya hut, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about this ancient culture.

Best for Skiers : Zaborin


Tub at Zaborin Ryokan, in Japan
Shouya Grigg/Courtesy of Zaborin
Why We Chose It

Arguably one of the best modern ryokans in Japan, Zaborin is also near the slopes of Hanazono ski resort.

Notable Amenities

Complimentary tea ceremony and matcha, heated floors, library, cigar lounge

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Indoor and outdoor onsen tubs in rooms

  • On-site kaiseki restaurant highlighting local ingredients

  • Complimentary shuttle to and from Hanazono ski resort

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Two hours from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport

Hotel Description

Nestled in the woods of Hanazono on Hokkaido, Zaborin is the epitome of tranquility. Accommodations look out to rolling meadows or a birch forest, while the bar and lounge provide a front-row seat to Mount Yotei. All facilities at this exclusive property are reserved strictly for hotel guests, and there are just 15 accommodations. The villas are split between Japanese and Western-style sleeping arrangements, but all of the sumptuous digs have both indoor and outdoor hot spring-fed tubs that provide a private onsen experience.

Travelers looking to explore should visit the neighboring town of Kutchan, and anyone here in winter should hit the slopes of Hanazono ski resort. After a busy day, make your way to the internal garden and treat yourself to a footbath or relax with a book, DVD, or board game in the library. In the evening, prepare for an extraordinary dinner at the on-site kaiseki restaurant, helmed by Yoshihiro Seno. The talented chef spotlights Hokkaido’s exemplary ingredients in his seasonal multicourse menus.

Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts : Zenagi


Zenagi Zen Resorts Japan Exterior

Courtesy of Zen Resorts

Why We Chose It

This hotel on the historic Nakasendo route is perfect for couples who revel in adventure.

Notable Amenities

Complimentary minibar, two meals included with stay, free transfers between select nearby train stations

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Expert guides for outdoor activities, including a former Olympian

  • Tailor-made experiences

  • Exclusive-use property for an intimate stay

Cons
  • High room rates

  • Rooms only offer futon-style bedding

Hotel Description

The historic Nakasendo route connected Kyoto with what’s now known as Tokyo during the Edo period. Accommodations along the trail largely consist of no-frills inns for hikers, but with the arrival of Zenagi in 2019, there’s finally a high-end option. The exclusive-use hotel can accommodate a maximum of 12 guests split between three large rooms, each with a spacious bathroom with its own hinoki cypress tub.

What truly sets the property apart, though, is its crew of expert guides, which includes a former Olympian. Outdoor enthusiasts have a range of activities to choose from, including “shower climbing” waterfalls in the Kiso River, paragliding along the Japanese Alps, and hiking well-preserved post towns like Magome-juku and Tsumago-juku. But if wellness or crafts is more your speed, the hotel can also arrange experiences like sessions with lacquerware artisans or mindfulness retreats with a Zen master. One activity is included with your stay, with the option to add more, and so are two meals prepared by your private chef that showcase the best in local gastronomy.

Best Ryokan : Beniya Mukayu


Why We Chose It

This elegant ryokan tucked amid the trees offers well-appointed accommodations and onsen facilities.

Notable Amenities

Public and private onsen, daily yoga, complimentary shuttle service to JR Kaga Onsen Station

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Rooms all have private outdoor onsen

  • Near the onsen resort town of Yamashiro

  • Spacious accommodations

Cons
  • Expensive

Hotel Description

Just over an hour from the city of Kanazawa, Beniya Mukayu is the perfect retreat for anyone looking to relax in a serene environment. Shrouded by forest, each of the 16 accommodations looks out on manicured gardens, creating a zen atmosphere. The posh digs are a delightful combination of time-honored craftsmanship and contemporary furnishings, and each one comes with its own open-air bath. In addition to your private onsen, you can spend time in the spa’s communal facilities or visit the nearby hot spring resort town of Yamashiro.

This ryokan celebrates a slower, more idle way of life. Embrace the pace in its library, where you can curl up with a book or admire the flowers and trees through its expansive windows. Breakfast and dinner are included with your stay; the latter is a multicourse kaiseki experience featuring dishes made with the finest local ingredients.

Best for Nature : Gôra Kadan


Gora Kadan bathroom
Kazuyoshi Miyoshi/Courtesy of Gora Kadan
Why We Chose It

Hakone’s most famous ryokan is surrounded by lush landscapes.

Notable Amenities

Private and public onsen, indoor pool, complimentary transfer between hotel and Gora Station

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Outdoor baths in some accommodations

  • Private onsen with a steam room

  • Beautiful views

Cons
  • Expensive

Hotel Description

Less than a two-hour train ride from Tokyo Station is the hot spring resort town of Hakone, beloved for its mineral-rich waters, mountainous landscape, and soothing atmosphere. There are plenty of ryokans in the area to choose from, but Gôra Kadan has built a name for itself with its exemplary service and welcoming, multilingual staff.

The 39 accommodations at this Relais & Châteaux property differ in size and style, and the most prized rooms (especially for romantic vacations) feature open-air baths with views of landscaped gardens. If you don’t have your own onsen, you can use the spa’s communal bathing facilities and even book its private oasis for no additional charge. Like at any traditional ryokan, breakfast is brought to your room at a prearranged time, while dinner is served at the on-site kaiseki restaurant, which is housed in an Elizabethan-style building that served as the Kanin-no-miya imperial family’s summer villa in the 1900s.

Best Ryokan in Tokyo : Hoshinoya Tokyo


Hoshinoya Tokyo Guest Room
Courtesy of HOSHINOYA Tokyo
Why We Chose It

Meshing tradition with contemporary elements, this is the only true luxury ryokan in Tokyo.

Notable Amenities

Complimentary snacks and beverages, communal onsen, medical insurance included with bookings for foreign guests

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Modern ryokan experience in an urban setting

  • All accommodations have a bathtub

  • Located just blocks from Tokyo Station

Cons
  • High room rates

  • Unlike most ryokans, meals aren’t included

Hotel Description

Guests at Hoshinoya Tokyo store their shoes in a chestnut and bamboo cubby before entering this peaceful retreat. Tatami mats are everywhere, even in the elevators, and there’s low-lying furniture with striking frames and windows adorned with metal lattices in komon patterns. The overall effect is a traditional ambiance with a contemporary flair. There are only six rooms on each floor, meaning you’ll rarely bump into fellow guests. Mimicking an intimate ryokan experience, each level also has its own ochanoma lounge that’s stocked with complimentary snacks and beverages. Inside your quiet quarters, you’ll find more tatami matting and shoji sliding screens, along with tubs that are ideal for a relaxing soak after a busy day exploring the city.

The property has communal indoor and outdoor onsen facilities on the top floor, while further pampering can be scheduled at the spa. And though there are certainly plenty of restaurants to dine at in Tokyo, the hotel’s on-site, seafood-focused establishment, helmed by venerated chef Noriyuki Hamada, combines Japanese cuisine with French techniques and is well worth a visit.

Best for Privacy : The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Kashikojima


The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Kashikojima

The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Kashikojima

Why We Chose It

This eight-key hotel boasts facilities designed for intimate moments.

Notable Amenities

Spa with outdoor pool, restaurant with private dining rooms, private onsen in some rooms

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Gorgeous natural setting

  • Spacious rooms

  • Transportation from Kashikojima Station

Cons
  • High room rates

  • Nearly three hours from Osaka Namba Station

Hotel Description

For couples who appreciate art, love food, and are in search of a scenic escape, The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Kashikojima may be just what they’re looking for. Set on a bluff overlooking Ago Bay in Mie Prefecture, the walls of this intimate hotel are lined with works by world-renowned artist Yayoi Kusama. While all eight of the accommodations feature a bathtub, try to get a room in the annex for your romantic getaway. Not only are they more spacious than those in the main building, they’re also outfitted with a hot spring-fed stone basin and a furnished balcony looking out over the bay.

For some additional relaxation, head over to the spa, where you’ll find a saltwater pool and a private open-air onsen that can be booked for one-on-one time. The hotel’s French-focused restaurant has also seemingly been designed for special occasions, providing guests with the option of skipping the main dining space in favor of one of six private rooms. Both breakfast and dinner are included in your stay, but the latter is particularly remarkable. You’ll dine on regional delicacies like rock oysters, spiny lobster, and puffer fish.

Final Verdict

Whether it’s a buzzy metropolis like Tokyo or an off-the-beaten-path destination, there are plenty of opportunities in Japan for a romantic getaway. The country has some stellar boutique hotels with less than a dozen rooms, including our top pick, Kyoto’s Shinmonzen, an exemplary property setting the city’s new standard for luxury. Ryokans are some of the best lodging options for those seeking an intimate trip, and standout modern takes on these traditional inns can be found up north in Hokkaido at Zaborin, in Mie Prefecture at Amanemu, and even in the heart of the country’s capital at Hoshinoya Tokyo. Meanwhile, outdoor-loving couples should immediately book a stay at Zenagi, the country’s first expedition hotel on the historic Nakasendo route.

Methodology

We evaluated more than two dozen hotels in Japan before settling on some of the most romantic in the country. Notable amenities, quality of service, design, location, ambiance, and recent openings were all taken into consideration. In determining this list, we evaluated countless customer reviews and considered whether the property has collected any accolades in recent years.

Shinmonzen Japan

Courtesy of Shinmonzen