Travel Economic News Releases 2009's Top Hot Spring Inns
The hot bath-obsessed blogger behind Onsen Soaker recently summed up Travel Economic News' list of the top ten ryokan in Japan. The top tens were ranked by five different categories: cuisine, service, bath, establishment and atmosphere.
Many of these hot-spring inns are located in faraway places like Hokkaido or Kyushu's Kumamoto Prefecture. There are, however, a few that would make easy weekend trips from Tokyo.
For example, Suimeikan (tel. 0576 25 2800) in Gero, Gifu Prefecture took the #8 spot for cuisine, #5 for bath and #7 for establishment. Getting to Gero is a mere three-hours from Tokyo, with a particularly scenic leg from Nagoya to Gero. (Take the "Hida Wide View" train, if possible.) Night buses are also available to Gero from Shinjuku.
Another convenient high-ranking ryokan is Inatori Ginsuiso (tel. 0557 95 2211) on the Izu Peninsula, about two-and-a-half hours from Tokyo. Izu's ryokan are particularly pleasant in warmer months when trips to the beach are also possible.
We would love to hear any feedback about these nationally-ranking ryokan, so please let us know what you know in the comment section.