Treat yourself to a traditional-style stay during your visit to Aomori Prefecture in the far north of Japan’s Honshu Island by opting for one of these 10 best ryokans. What better way to immerse yourself in a region known for its national parks and attractions like the colourful Juniko Lakes? So whether you plan to take in some sightseeing at the likes of Lake Towada caldera, visit the tallest seated Buddha in Japan, or wish to cosy up during a winter visit and watch the snow fall, these top ryokans offer plenty of accommodation options.
If beautiful coastal views are your thing, then the three-star Kaisenkaku in Ashamushi will tick a lot of boxes. Many rooms offer excellent views across to Yuno Island and Aomori Bay. And those who take advantage of the on-site hot baths will also be able to soak up not just the relaxing waters but the stunning seaside vistas as well. The beach is also a stone’s throw away. The ryokan also offers a mix of traditional Japanese-style and Western beds with private bathrooms. Free parking and Wi-Fi completes an attractive package.
Address: Hotarudani 31
Price: from 180 USD
Hot spring bath Non-smoking rooms Public Bath Screens or physical barriers placed between staff and guests in appropriate areas Use of cleaning chemicals that are effective against Coronavirus Air conditioning Fishing Smoke alarms
The two-star Kashiwagi Onsen is located in Hirakawa, not far from the Tohoku Expressway which runs through the prefecture. Its central inland location within the region and good road links make it a decent hub in which to base yourself if you plan to drive during your stay. The Hiraka railway station, just five minutes walk away, also connects to Hirosaki half-a-dozen miles (9.6 km) distant – ideal if you plan on a visit to the iconic Hirosaki Castle but don’t fancy taking the road. The hotel offers a mix of Japanese-style rooms, some of which can sleep up to seven people at a time, making it perfect for larger groups. Smaller rooms capable of sleeping up to five or three people are also available if your group is smaller. As the name would suggest, the Kashiwagi Onsen also features hot spring baths for relaxing in and, if you plan on uploading holiday snaps to the web, the hotel also offers free Wi-Fi.
Address: 036-0104 Aomori, Hirakawa, Kashiwagimachi Yanagida 227-2, Japan (see map)
Price: From 5,200 JPY (45.80 USD)
Star Rating: 3 stars
Travelers Review: Very good 8.1 (from 25 reviews)
Located in the heart of Aomori the two-star Iroha Ryokan has rated highly among its past guests for a number of factors – including its location. The JR Aomori Train Station is only two minutes away on foot, while the city’s port is also very close, making the hotel a great place to break a journey. The Aomori Prefecture Tourist Center is also just a couple of hundred metres away – perfect for picking up some useful tips on where to visit during your stay, such as the famous Sannai-Maruyama ruins. These date back thousands of years and are only two-and-a-half miles (4 km) distant.
The ryokan itself provides free parking – for those not arriving via boat or train. Fans of the country’s culture are also well catered for. The rooms are all in Japanese-style and all guests are provided with traditional yukata robes during the stay. And why not share a social media picture of yourself in the traditional garb? The ryokan provides free Wi-Fi, so you’ll be posting snapshots in double-quick time.
Located in Asamushi, some eight miles (12.9 km) from the heart of Aomori City, the three-star Tsubakikan has decent transport links. The Asamushi-Onsen rail station is located nearby. Those hoping to take in the sights will also enjoy the beach, just a 15 minute walk away. The mountain, which the town backs onto also provides great views across to Yuno Island and Mutsu Bay, for those who take the hiking trails to reach the vantage points. A nearby amusement park and the Asamushi Aquarium are also worth a trip. It being in an onsen town, a stay at Tsubakikan also gives guests a chance to soak in a traditional hot spring – perfect for unwinding after a busy day sightseeing and visiting local restaurants.
Those looking to really get away from it all will love the Lamp No Yado. Set on a mountain, the ryokan has no mobile phone reception and there are no TVs. Night-time lighting also comes via lamp light only. What it does have are beautiful river and mountain views and no fewer than four different public baths – including a hot spring and open-air bath. And, when the region’s heavy snows hit, the area transforms into a true winter wonderland. You’ll likely be so spellbound by your brush with nature you’ll not wish to leave but those who do venture out will find Nijino Lake is only a couple of miles away, while the much larger Lake Towada is only 11 or so miles (~17.7 km) off. The ryokan itself serves traditional local cuisine for breakfast and dinner.
The four-star Oirase Mori no Hotel is well-placed for those looking to visit the crater lake of Lake Towada, which is just over 10 miles (16 km) away. This popular tourist spot, which is a flooded volcanic caldera, is crossed by recreational excursion boats and is noted for the rich blue colour of its waters – an effect of its depth. Other nearby attractions include the Tsuta hot spring just three miles (4.8 km) from the ryokan, although the hotel also has its own open air baths to tempt bone-weary travelers.
Guests can stay in a mix of Japanese-style and double or twin rooms – providing plenty of options depending on your party. Although there is no Internet access on site, guests can access a shared computer in the lobby for no charge. And food and drink are covered by the in-house a la carte restaurant and bar, which serves a mix of Japanese and European dishes.
Oirase Mori no Hotel
Address: Horyo Yakeyama 36-20
Price: from 133 USD
Breathtaking views await those guests who stay at the Hotel Tappi, which sits on a hillside above the coast on the Tsugaru Peninsula. Located in the north of the Aomori Prefecture, this peninsula shares its name with the Tsugaru Strait which separates the Japanese islands of Hokkaidō and Honshū.
As well as striking sea views, this three-star ryokan also has hot spring baths with which to entice its guests. Rooms can accommodate between one and five people and have a mix of traditional futon and western style beds. There is free Wi-Fi and parking, and those who don’t bring their car will find the shuttle bus service very useful.
This two-star ryoken is located in the town of Ōwani, roughly 23 miles (37 km) from the prefecture’s capital of Aomori. Those craving the true ryokan experience will be pleased to note that the rooms are all in Japanese style only, while the restaurant serves Asian food. The Owani and Owanionsen rail stations are just a few hundred metres away, for those looking to take the train to get around. And those who prefer the car are well catered for, as the hotel boasts a free car park.
Popular 17th century fortification Hirosaki Castle is only seven miles (11 km) away in Hirosaki, and is one of the most popular spots in the whole of the country to enjoy Japan’s famous cherry blossoms thanks to the sheer volume of trees in its grounds. But if you’d rather stay in and relax, the ryokan also has an onsen – hot spring bath – and sauna, which will help ease away the stresses of everyday life.
Address: Kuradate Kawarada 63
Price: from 174 USD
This is another ryokan in Asamushi that makes full use of the town’s location on the coast and its close association with onsen – indeed the ryokan itself boasts no fewer than five outdoor and indoor hot-spring baths. One of the outdoor baths overlooks the hotel gardens, and some can be reserved for private use. So if you’re a fan of onsen, you are more than well catered for. The hotel is also just a nine minute walk from the beach, perfect for those fans of sand and surf. Travel links are good, with Asamushi-Onsen train station situated just five minutes away – and those lugging about heavy bags can also make use of the hotel’s free pick-up service from the station.
Yanagi No Yu
Address: Asamushi Yamashita 236
Price: from 273 USD
The three-star Ishiba Ryokan is perfectly located for those looking to take in the sights of Hirosaki Castle just a 10-minute walk away. But while you may come for the visit to the striking 400-year-old castle and its beautiful grounds, you’ll stay for the friendly ryokan hosts, and their home-cooked meals – both of which have enchanted past guests. Indeed the glowing reviews have labelled this traditional Japanese inn as fabulous.
Its various Japanese-style rooms offer a mix of shared and private bathrooms, for those who may value their privacy. Active outdoors enthusiasts may also wish to consider this ryokan, for there is a range of hiking and fishing opportunities in the area and the hotel is even home to its own ski school. Free Wi-Fi and parking are also noted perks.
Address: Mototera-machi 55
Price: from 46 USD
Fall in love with Aomori
Explore everything the Aomori Prefecture has to offer with a stay in one of these top ryokans. From beautiful coastlines and stunning mountains to natural cherry blossom wonders and striking historic buildings, Aomori has it all.
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