The Incredible Onsens of Japan

Here’s how I would like to see Japan. I would go during the winter months and find myself between the cypress trees with powders of snow. Led by the sound of water, I make my way through the cobbled pathway and find myself at a clearing. 

A rocky pool between the trees seems to be warmed to the perfect temperature. The sweet fragrance of jasmine blossoms invites me to take a dip and soak up the sweeping view of mountains and white powdery snow as I lean back and feel my troubles melt away. 

Culturally, onsens are naturally occurring hot springs that have been used through generations to treat diseases and injuries. These days they usually refer to a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) with an attached or separate body of water that is heated and contain minerals. 

Luxury providers have traded traditional floor bedding for 5-star quality beds and fine linen. Here are some of our favourite contemporary ryokans in Japan that incorporate traditional Japanese values into world-class stays in Japan. 

Aman Kyoto

This retreat in Kyoto is all about relaxation. Located in a secret garden only a stroll away from Kinkaku-ji Temple, this luxury retreat provides seclusion in the heart of a forest. With private onsens that offer to heal in a tranquil space, detaching you from all things worldly, Aman Kyoto is the remedy for anyone who needs a dose of nature’s bounty. Complete isolation in the Kyoto forest to remedy all your worries. 

Onsen Kadensho – Kyoto Arashiyama 

A minute from the Hankyu Arashiyama Station lies an upscale ryokan that offers private open-air and indoor baths for travellers looking to unwind on the outskirts of Kyoto. Stay in the heart of Arashiyama in a ryokan that features hot spring baths, massages and restaurants. This hotel encapsulates the Kyoto atmosphere tastefully. With seasonal offerings on their menu, open-air communal spas and a location in central Kyoto, this is a stay that will check all your boxes. 

Chalet Ivy Jozankei

Dip into a hot spring during the winter months in Hokkaido. This traditional Japanese inn comes with a free Japanese breakfast, an indoor onsen and a lush garden. Chalet Ivy Jozankei is located a few steps from Jozankei Shrine and Jozankei Hot Spring. Located in Sapporo, Hokkaido, this chalet also provides full spa services allowing guests to pamper themselves in the comfort of their own hotel. Fitted with on-site restaurants, you will never have to leave the compound for anything. 


Labelling itself as an inn that provides “conscientious stays of sumptuous comfort”, Yagyu-no-Sho is inspired by the nature that surrounds the mountainside of Shuzenji Temple. With a mission to preserve the natural beauty emerges an incredible place that combines the best elements of traditional cuisine, baths, scenery and hospitality, all neatly wrapped in a sukiya-style architecture, tucked away in a bamboo forest. 

Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Hotel Konansou

This stay is all about Mt. Fuji and the private baths facing the majestic mountain. As one of the most iconic experiences in Japan, it is no surprise that this stay revolves around Mt. Fuji. Mt Fuji has been a part of so much literature; songs, poems, and art inspiring many to create and celebrate its beauty. It is also worth mentioning that Hotel Konansou comes with various facilities for convenience and leisure. There is a tea lounge, breakfast venue, a spa and most importantly a roof terrace with incredible views of Lake Kawaguchi and the picturesque mountains. 

Toya Sun Palace Resort & Spa

Imagine it is a cold winter in Hokkaido. You have checked in to your stylish stay on the shores of Lake Toya and as you look up, you see the open-air hot spring bubbling and steaming inviting you in for a dip. You slip off your silk robe, sit back in the warm water and take in the gorgeous view of Lake Toya. Mt. Usu, an active volcano in the area, borders the lake and makes you feel protected in its range. With tons of activities in the area, you are in for an unforgettable experience luxuriating under the Hokkaido clouds.

Bessho Sasa

This luxury ryokan is located on the foothills of Mt Fuji. At the courtyard, you can enjoy incredible views of the mountain from their four seasons garden with cherry blossom trees during spring, deep green summer trees, fall foliage and a snowy contrast to the mountains in winter. Some rooms come with private onsens but on the 10th floor, they have an open-air natural hot spring heated by Mt Fuji herself. You will find the rooms here extremely convenient as they range from Western-style bedrooms to the more traditional tatami-padded ryokans. Some rooms even come with private open-air baths and private gardens that allow you to indulge in the scenic views of the mountains from the comfort of your own space. 

Wanderprime offers luxury private tours and join-in tours to Japan. With Wanderprime, your safety and comfort come first. Personalise your travel plan and travel easier with us. Find out about our join-in dates or plan your exclusive private getaway. Contact us now and visit Japan with Wanderprime.

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