Travel Inspiration

The Best Hotels in Japan — Including Splashy Newcomers and Tried-and-True

Fora Shella Zelenz Travel Agent wears grey rimmed glasses and brown shirt with ocean in the background

Travel Advisor

Shella Zelenz

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Image courtesy of Amanemu

The doors to Japan have swung open once more, making it no better time to plan your long-awaited trip to ​​the Land of the Rising Sun. The good news is, while we were all cooped up inside, several sublime Japanese hotels opened, adding to the country’s already impressive roster of luxury stays. 

From sleek resorts with on-site hot springs to architectural icons, Japanese hotels are known for their omotenashi – a colloquial term for warm, authentic hospitality. And the best hotels in Japan celebrate their region’s culture, food, heritage – or cherry blossoms – in their own special way. To aid in your search for where to stay in Japan, we have rounded up the best hotels that opened during the last two years (“while you were sleeping,” if you will) along with a few of our all-time favorites. Whether you're exploring the frenetic Shinjuku district of Tokyo or the serene mountainscapes of Niseko, these are the very best places to stay in Japan.

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Park Hyatt Kyoto (Opened November 2019)

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Image courtesy of Park Hyatt Kyoto

Check-in at the new Park Hyatt in the Higashiyama neighborhood, which is an iconic enclave of the ancient, storied city of Kyoto. This luxury hillside resort is a veritable sanctuary, with delightful wellness treatments and an unmissable tea experience. All in all, the Park Hyatt is a beautiful melange of Japanese culture and the Hyatt brand’s renowned five-star luxury.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Aman Kyoto (Opened November 2019) 

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Image courtesy of Aman Kyoto

Oh, do we love an Aman. If a secret garden with an onsen in the heart of a forest sounds like the epitome of paradise, that's because it absolutely is. In Kyoto, the Aman embraces the minimalist Ryokan aesthetic to a T, with all the markings of a traditional and utterly serene Japanese inn.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Park Hyatt Niseko (Opened January 2020)

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Image courtesy of Park Hyatt Niseko

Niseko, a mountain retreat in Hokkaido, is a skier's dream, and the Park Hyatt only adds to the region’s appeal. With out-of-this world views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains, the luxury Hyatt hotel offers top-notch outdoor adventures and an exceptional restaurant (led by a Michelin-starred chef, no less).

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort or hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Mesm Tokyo, Autograph Collection (Opened April 2020)

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Prepare to be ‘mesm’-erized by this creative and stylish Tokyo hotel. Mesm is an architectural wonder that is striking against its urban backdrop, and offers stunning views of Tokyo Bay (pictured above). Making the Mesm experience all the more unique are the digital pianos found in each of the hotel’s sophisticated rooms.

Ace Hotel Kyoto (Opened June 2020) 

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For those looking for a hip Japanese hotel, check in to the Ace Hotel Kyoto. Located in a converted building from the 1920s, this spot has an awesome retro feel, from its architecture to its artwork. The vibe is enhanced by the cool design pieces throughout the Ace Hotel Kyoto, all a result of collaborations with local artists.

The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko (Opened July 2020)

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Just north of Tokyo, Nikko is a region abundant with natural beauty and rich culture, but The Ritz-Carlton, in true fashion, finds ways to enhance the experience. The hotel is a true celebration of the region, and dutifully blends with its pristine natural setting. Don’t miss a dip in the on-site hot springs. 

Zentis Osaka (Opened July 2020)

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Image courtesy of Zentis Osaka

Nestled in the bustling port city of Osaka, Zentis is the first edition of the bespoke collection of Design Hotels. Featuring furniture and artwork by local artists, Zentis is for the design-conscious traveler. The interplay between the hotel’s warm, natural interior spaces and its own garden make the hotel feel like an urban oasis. Adding to its impressive design is UPSTAIRZ, the lounge, bar and restaurant – conceived by a team with a Michelin-star track record – featuring Japanese and French inspired dishes.

Hyatt Centric Kanazawa (Opened August 2020)

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With a prime location, the new Hyatt Centric is just steps from the famed Geisha and Samurai districts of Kanazawa. Though this hotel doesn’t necessarily have the glitz of the others on this list, it is a reliable option, and makes a great stop for travelers bound for destinations surrounding Kyoto (including Osaka).

Tokyo Toranomon EDITION (Opened October 2020) 

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Image courtesy of Tokyo Toranomon EDITION

Find yourself perched in a nest of luxury above Tokyo’s sprawling urban space, in the marvelous Ian-Schrager-directed, Kengo-Kuma-designed, Edition skyscraper. Favorite elements include the scenic terrace, the specialty restaurant and the luxe spa.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Mitsui Kyoto (Opened November 2020)

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The Mitsui Kyoto is directly adjacent to Nijo-jo Castle, the famed safeguard of the ancient city. As a modern take on traditional Japanese tea rooms, this hotel offers a thermal spring spa, gastronomic restaurant and gorgeously authentic guest rooms.

Azumi Setoda (Opened March 2021)

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Located on the exceptionally beautiful, 140-year-old Horiuchi-tei estate in Hiroshima, this hotel is beloved by travelers and locals alike for its unique lemon baths and spa experiences. This is a ryokan to write home about.

Roku Kyoto (Opened September 2021)

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Image courtesy of Roku Kyoto

Nestled in the foothills of Kyoto, Roku provides ultimate views of the Takagamine mountains and offers a polished and minimalist luxury experience. Guests can unwind in the thermal pool, or explore the scenic grounds by the river.

Okura Tokyo (Opened September 2019)

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At this luxe Tokyo hotel set in sublime glass towers, the mere act of checking in is an experience. The original lobby was an icon of Japanese-style modernism, and when the lobby was rebuilt, the result was an exact replica. What’s more: the restaurants on site are true culinary gems, offering expertly crafted French, Japanese and Chinese fares.

Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi  (Opened September 2020)

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Illustrious and elegant, this new Four Seasons is sure to cement itself as one of Tokyo's must-stays. The hotel is coveted for its enviable views of the Imperial Palace Gardens, from guest rooms or the rooftop terrace. Plus, it’s a short walk to the bullet train in Tokyo Station – meaning cities like Yokohama and Osaka are extra accessible.

Tried and True: Fora’s Favorite Japan Hotels

Palace Hotel Tokyo

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Image courtesy of Palace Hotel Tokyo

Looking for a comfortable, luxurious escape in the frenetic Japanese capital? The Palace Tokyo has you covered, between its delightfully contemporary interiors, sleek bars and restaurants and enviable spa experience. The floor-to-ceiling windows guarantee fantastic views of Tokyo and the nearby Imperial Palace gardens.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Aman Tokyo

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Image courtesy of Aman Tokyo

Traditional Japanese design meets exquisite modernity in this special Aman, comprised of ryokan-style rooms. The spa on-site offers tailored therapeutic herbal concoctions and relaxing massages. As if there wasn't enough to convince us, the Edomae-style sushi restaurant, Musashi, seats just eight and provides an authentic Japanese omakase fine dining experience.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

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Image courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto

On the shores of the Kamogawa River and with views of the Higashiyama mountains, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto offers understated luxury with a dutiful homage to Japanese wellness. Here, guests indulge in massages that use locally harvested green tea leaves and bamboo.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto 

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Image courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

This serene sanctuary is nestled in the temple district of Kyoto, in an ancient 800-year-old garden – a testament to the hotel’s deep roots in both history and culture. The Four Seasons is picturesque to the point where you’ll want to stay here forever and watch the seasons change through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Amanemu

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Image courtesy of Amanemu

Southeast of Kyoto, sitting high on Ago bay, Amanemu encapsulates everything you might want from a nature resort, with its sparkling scenery of both land and sea. This Aman is one of the best, and the opportunities to interact with the ama (female freedivers) are truly unlike anything else.

Fora Perks:

  • $100 resort / hotel credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.


Looking for more travel inspiration? Find more guides on traveling to Japan for your next trip.

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