Travel Economic News Releases 2009's Top Hot Spring Inns

Travel Economic News Releases 2009's Top Hot Spring Inns

Japan is full of hot spring inns, but these are the very best in five categories
Japanese ryokan
A small, quiet outdoor bath in the onsen city of Inatori, Izu Peninsula. (Photo by Flickr user machu.)

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.