How Do Modern Ryokans Redefine Japanese Luxury?


Japan, a country renowned for its rich cultural tapestry and meticulous attention to hospitality, beckons travelers to immerse themselves in the epitome of Japanese luxury—the ryokan. The age-old travel rule suggests that when in Japan, a stay at a ryokan is a must, offering a profound dive into the nation’s culture through rejuvenating hot spring baths and exquisite kaiseki meals.

Garrya Nijo Castle: Wellness Oasis in Kyoto
Nestled near the historic Nijo Castle, Garrya Nijo Castle is a 25-room gem, representing one of the two Kyoto properties by the esteemed Singapore-based Banyan Tree hospitality firm. At the heart of the Garrya brand lies a commitment to wellness, evident in its modern minimalist design. The hotel boasts a sprawling landscaped courtyard strategically designed to optimize views of the garden and Nijo Castle. The rugged stone façade pays homage to the architectural legacy of the historical castle complex.

Kai Poroto: Autumn Bliss in Hokkaido
Hokkaido, synonymous with winter wonderlands, unveils its autumn charm at Kai Poroto, a contemporary hot spring ryokan on the shores of Lake Poroto, just over an hour from Sapporo and Niseko. Inspired by and paying homage to the Ainu people of Hokkaido, the hotel’s distinctive cone-shaped architecture captures the essence of the region. Kai Poroto becomes an ideal hub for indulging in momijigari—the revered Japanese tradition of autumn leaves hunting.

Hoshinoya Tokyo: Tranquil Ryokan Essence in the Metropolis
Standing tall in Tokyo’s bustling business district, Hoshinoya Tokyo is a testament to modern luxury with a profound nod to the ryokan heritage. Beyond its contemporary façade lies an authentic ryokan experience. Guests are welcomed by a genkan, inviting them to slip off their shoes and feel the tatami mats beneath. Each floor features an ochanoma lounge—a communal haven equipped with books, snacks, and tea, evoking a sense of homely tranquility.

Maana Kiyomizu: Crafting Modern Elegance in Kyoto
The brainchild of Maana Homes co-founders Irene Chang and Hana Tsukamoto, Maana Kiyomizu transcends the realm of a mere luxurious stay. Set against the backdrop of four former teahouse buildings, the architects retained the original structural elements while infusing a modern minimalist style. The result is a captivating blend of airy spaces that offer breathtaking views of an open field and a nearby temple, fostering a sense of community through a curated space for exhibitions and craft-making workshops.

Explore Japan’s contemporary ryokans and set off on a voyage that defies time and convention. These hotels reinvent the travel experience by combining luxury and cultural immersion, resulting in a seamless fusion of modern and classic elements at every turn. Allow your trip to Japan to become more than simply a holiday; let it become an enthralling journey through the spirit of a country that eloquently blends the past and present.

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