Japan has a rich cultural heritage and ancient history as well as a number of exciting cities including Tokyo, which is by far the most populated city in the country, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo, Kobe, Fukuoka and Kyoto. For those who like more recent history, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima have all experienced catastrophic events and may also be of interest.
Unmissable sights in Japan include the monuments in the stunning imperial city of Kyoto and the neon city of Tokyo. The ultra-luxe Aman brand now has a number of hotels in Japan, as does the Ritz-Carlton and Andaz by Hyatt brands. Four Seasons Kyoto and The Chedi Tomokomai should also be on your bucket list.
In this review, I have detailed the top 10 best luxury hotels in Japan below. The listing is in no particular order as they’re all great hotels! If you want to book any luxury hotel in Japan or beyond, use our luxury travel concierge. Our agents offer exclusive free upgrades, free breakfasts, free hotel credit and VIP gifts at luxury hotels like Four Seasons, Aman, Belmond, Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, InterContinental and more… for the same price as the hotel’s own websites.
Typically, our free benefits* at luxury hotels if you book via our luxury travel concierge include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / Late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
1. The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka
Osaka is the gateway to western Japan, blending centuries-old history with modern architecture, nightlife and delicious street food. The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka is a stunning five-star hotel that combines the elegance of an English manor house with the subtle beauty of Japanese detail. This is definitely one of the very best luxury hotels in Japan.
Lying within Japan’s Water Capital, the hotel’s redesigned accommodations infuse urban design with 18th-century British style, while the dining experience spans the globe and includes the Michelin-starred French restaurant: La Baie and Tempura by Hanagatami.
The award-winning Ritz-Carlton, Osaka brings modern elegance to a city with more than 15 centuries of history. The hotel lies within the city center’s prestigious Umeda district, and offers a variety of rooms and suites with city views and spacious marble bathrooms; six dining venues including Japanese, Chinese, Italian restaurants and a luxury spa featuring treatments from ESPA & La Prairie.
The hotel also boasts a fitness center with heated indoor pool, spacious gym, outdoor and indoor whirlpool, steam and dry saunas, and personal training services; a private art and antiques collection; the 34th floor Club Lounge with nature-inspired décor and exclusive experiences; The Bar with more than 100 malt whiskies to choose from and nearly 27,000 sq. ft. of event space and meeting facilities.
Book a Club Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka and you will enjoy a “hotel within a hotel.” with access to their executive club lounge. These corner rooms feature large windows on two sides, affording spectacular views of the city of Osaka in both directions. A generously-proportioned desk and chair face the windows, allowing you to enjoy breakfast in the sunshine and the lights of the city at night. At more than 51 square meters in size, these rooms promise a truly exceptional stay.
On the 34th floor, there is an exclusive executive club lounge for the use of Club Level guests, that can be reached by a staircase from the guest rooms and offers spectacular views of the Osaka skyline.
Newly renovated The Club Lounge consists of five areas: the entrance, the living room area, the bar, the dining area and the food presentation area. Enjoy sweeping views of the city and a refined atmosphere reminiscent of an 18th-century aristocratic residence.
With five daily culinary presentations throughout the day, club guests are invited to enjoy refined cuisine, unique experiential activities or simply unwind.
Breakfast: 7 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Light Snacks: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Afternoon Tea: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres: 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Sweets and Cordials: 8 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Exceptional Benefits and Personalized Services
Club room and suite guests also enjoy personalized check-in and check-out service and a dedicated Club concierge service. In addition, there is a complimentary limousine drop-off service within the immediate JR Osaka station area.
Book your next stay here via our luxury travel concierge for extra free benefits.
2. Amanemu in Ise-Shima National Park
Opened in 2016, Amanemu by Aman, is a hot spring resort located in the idyllic setting of Ise Shima National Park on the shores of Ago Bay in Japan. I have already highlighted some wonderful pictures of Amanemu which shows how this incredible resort continues Aman’s journey within Japan.
A relaxed, peaceful and contemplative destination, Amanemu embraces ‘omotenashi’, the Japanese welcoming spirit blending with warmth and respect. Further illustrating Aman’s ethos of adopting the customs and heritage of the location in which it operates, Amanemu has also embraced one of the most important Japanese traditions relating to ryokan hospitality – which is that it is run by an ‘okami’, a female manager, whose role is central to the carefully honed art of Japanese hospitality which pays close attention to detail and is committed to anticipating the needs of the guest.
Designed by the same team behind Aman Tokyo, Kerry Hill Architects, which is also featured as one of the best luxury hotels in Japan, the architecture of the resort is based on a contemporary interpretation of Japanese Minka buildings.
This incorporates traditional low-slung tiled roofs and dark-stained Japanese cedar exterior walls, reflective of the simple nature-influenced design of ryokans, Japan’s traditional bathing retreats.
The resort’s winding driveway leads to the welcome pavilion, curves up a small hill lined with maple and cherry trees, setting the scene for the rest of the property, rich in greenery and Japanese foliage.
The warm interior spaces offer elegant simplicity and have been carefully crafted in light shades of Japanese timber. Each stand-alone suite encompasses floor to ceiling windows with woven textile and timber sliding shutters, stretching from one end of the suite to the other, allowing for unobstructed views of the national park surrounding the resort.
Bathrooms follow the design of traditional Japanese baths, with charcoal-coloured basalt stone tiles which draw the eye across the room to the private onsen with floor-to-ceiling windows and the vista out onto the private gardens. Sunken terraces constructed with basalt stone, located between the restaurant and bar, are the ideal spot for an aperitif and feature glass-covered fireplaces, whilst a 33-metre freshwater infinity pool close by, provides panoramic views over Ago Bay, dotted with pearl rafts floating on the calm sea.
At Amanemu, the holistic approach of the Aman Spa aims to promote wellbeing through the integration of treatments, relaxation, movement and nutrition. Heavily influenced by the abundance of natural hot springs and therapeutic powers of water, the 2000 square metre spa encompasses a large central onsen for communal bathing, plus two private spa pavilions each with their own indoor and outdoor onsen. There is also a state-of-the-art fitness centre, Watsu suites and an expansive glass-walled yoga studio with an outdoor deck overlooking a peaceful garden with a Tabunoki tree at its centre.
Japan’s most sacred Shinto Shrine, Ise Grand Shrine, also known simply as Jing?, is located just one hour from Amanemu. Covering approximately 5,500 hectares, Jing? is a collection of 125 Shinto shrines which include the two main shrines of Geku, an outdoor sanctuary shrouded in greenery, and Naiku, an inner shrine surrounded by Japanese cypress trees and located adjacent to the Uzi Bridge which stretches across the Isuzu River.
The Kumano Kodo, a series of five ancient pilgrimage routes which converge at the heart of the remote Kii Mountains in the southernmost region of Honshu, were recently named UNESCO World Heritage routes. They were hiked by Kyoto’s ancient emperors who travelled the same paths to purify themselves and pray to deities known as kami, said to be dwelling in the rocks and trees.
Amanemu has developed hiking routes which will lead guests through parts of the Kumano Kodo with an abundance of streams, rivers and waterfall-laced mountains, past cedar and cypress forests to sacred shrines such as Kumano Sanzan, Yohshino and Omine and Koyasan. Together these sites, the connecting pilgrimage routes, and surrounding forests form a cultural landscape that reflects the fusion of Shintoism with the ancient tradition of nature worship in Japan.
If all that weren’t enough, guests also have access to Nemu Golf Club, an 18-hole championship golf course overlooking Ago Bay.
Those who choose to continue their journey through Japan with Aman and travelling to Aman Tokyo will be presented with a Bento box for their journey, created by the Executive Chef of Amanemu. Amanemu lies approximately 300km southwest of Tokyo and is easily accessed via Japan’s high-speed rail network. Nagoya is a scenic two-hour train journey or 25-minute helicopter ride from the resort.
3. Aman Tokyo
If you visit Amanemu then surely you must stop by Aman Tokyo which sits in the top six floors of the Otemachi Tower. Of Japan’s many serene temples, the one you’ll appreciate most just might be your room at Aman Tokyo.
High above the city center, with views of the Imperial Palace Gardens and even Mount Fuji on a clear day, the hotel’s 84 accommodations, are inspired sanctuaries, created from stone, camphor wood and traditional washi paper.
Even more balanced bliss awaits at the Aman Spa, which integrates herbal therapies used in Kampo or classical Chinese medicine. The Restaurant features a 1,200-bottle wine cellar and five private dining rooms for an inviting dinner overlooking the city.
4. Four Seasons Kyoto
Kyoto remains one of Japan’s best-preserved historic cities, with intact palaces, gardens, 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 Shinto shrines and an incredible 17 World Heritage Sites.
Nestled in a 12th-century, Shakusuien ikeniwa (pond garden), just minutes from downtown and surrounded by centuries of history, is a modern oasis of serenity and style, the Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto.
At the foot of Higashiyama Mountain in the ancient capital’s temple district, Four Seasons is an intimate, contemporary sanctuary with double-height windows throughout that frame the surrounding beauty through every season, from spring’s cherry blossoms to swaying bamboo in summer, brilliant red autumn foliage and a soft blanket of winter snow.
Inspired by traditional design elements and motifs, the new Hotel encompasses the city’s most spacious guest rooms and suites; four dining venues including a beautiful sukiya (tea house) in the garden reached via a glass bridge; an exclusive spa and indoor pool; and a series of sophisticated meeting spaces, with a custom-designed chapel for weddings and other events.
It is worth mentioning that this Four Seasons hotel does not have an executive club lounge. If you are looking for a club lounge in Kyoto you will be hard pushed to find a good one. One of the best executive club lounges in Japan is, in fact, at the Ritz-Carlton Osaka, as the Ritz-Carlton Kyoto does not have a club lounge either. Both simply offer lobby lounges.
5. The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
Perched along the famous Kamogawa river, in an enviable location favored by Japanese noblemen since the 17th century, The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto offers sublime views of the river, and walking proximity to Gion where shopping, dining and entertainment await.
The hotel is built on banks of the Kamagawa River on land that was gifted to the original owners in the early shogunate era five centuries ago. A highlight is the panoramic 180 degree views of the Higashiyama mountains in the East which turn a deep shade of imperial purple at sunset.
Blending centuries-old architecture with modern luxury, guests will feel right at home in the opulent 134-rooms boutique hotel after being awed by an intimate arrival experience.
Be pampered by oversized accommodation, fine gastronomic dining, immersive cultural experiences and meticulous attention to detail. It is no wonder that it won “Best Design” in Virtuoso’s 2015 Best of the Best Hotel Awards, a year after its opening.
6. St Regis Osaka
After the Ritz-Carlton hotels outlined above, the St. Regis Osaka is probably the best Marriott Bonvoy hotel in Japan. It is located along the famed street of Midosuji, also known as the Champs Elysées of Osaka.
Mixing comfort and refined Japanese aesthetics, this hotel is one of Osaka’s best, with its 160 rooms and suites elegantly appointed with refined furnishings and rich textures. Each room features opulent marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, walk in closets and picturesque city views.
Through grand walnut doors opening from the hotel’s 12th floor lobby, The St. Regis Bar welcomes guests to an enchanting environment. Try their signature Shogun Bloody Mary designed for St. Regis Osaka.
Experience the delectable dining at Rue d’Or or La Veduta. Discover the epitome of luxurious pampering at our exclusive IRIDIUM featuring SOTHYS Spa. Take in magnificent vistas of the Osaka skyline from the serenity of the 12th-floor terrace. Afternoon tea on the terrace is particularly pleasant.
7. Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo At Marunouchi
Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi is one of the best family-friendly hotels in Tokyo. The whole hotel is hugely luxury as you would expect and the service is excellent.
Location wise, the heart of Marunouchi couldn’t be better. You have upmarket shopping malls and the Tokyo Station on your doorstep which is the end of the line for the iconic Japanese bullet trains.
This is a boutique Four Seasons with just 57 rooms, modern, trendy interiors and lots of dark woods, muted lighting and beautiful but modern flower arrangements. The main restaurant is Motif Restaurant & Bar which overlooks Tokyo station and there is also a bar and lounge area, small spa but no pool.
Rooms are contemporary with light woods and deep pile carpets and extremely large bathrooms. Views are almost street level as this hotel, unlike many others in Tokyo, is not at the top of a skyscraper. You will be looking over the trains at the station or nearby streets via the floor-to-ceiling windows.
As usual, this Four Seasons is a winner with children and they provide fun bathroom amenities and presents on arrival. Don’t forget to book via our luxury travel concierge to get extra free benefits at all Four Seasons hotels for the same price as online.
8. Four Seasons Tokyo Otemachi
To be honest, as it isn’t open yet, the Four Seasons Tokyo Otemachi only comes in at number 8 in our listing. If it were open it may come up higher as one of the very best luxury hotels in Tokyo.
Four Seasons Tokyo Otemachi Will Open in July 2020, in Time for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. It is will be located at Otemachi 1-2, Chiyoda-ku, about a 5 minute walk from Aman Tokyo and about a 20 minute walk from the existing Four Seasons Tokyo at Marunouchi, which is close to Tokyo Train Station.
The Four Seasons is in Tower B of two adjacent towers, with a lobby on the 3rd floor and 190 rooms and suites on the top 6 floors, floors 34-39. It is really close to the Imperial Palace, so request a room with a view over the Imperial Gardens. The hotel will also have a restaurant, banquet rooms, spa, fitness center, and swimming pool.
Don’t forget to book via our luxury travel concierge to get extra free benefits at all Four Seasons hotels for the same price as online.
9. Andaz Tokyo
As you enter the Andaz Tokyo vestibule at ground level having alighted from your limo (or taxi) you’ll pass a line of hosts where you’ll find it hard to hang onto your luggage. Everyone is incredibly polite and welcoming.
Waft down a cool, dark corridor at the end of which the elevators whisk you up to the fifty-first floor of The Toranomon Hills Tower. You’ll be intrigued by the sculptures of shoals of fish adorning the elevators as you forget how far you’ve travelled.
Putting the reception floor above the guest room levels may increase security but it certainly maximises the “wow factor” when you enter and first see the view. Toranomon Hills is in one of the oldest and most prestigious districts in Tokyo between the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Tower and ANdAZ occupies the 47th to 52nd floors, with Spa and leisure facilities at AO Club on the 37th.
The views from AO Spa are simply stunning. Even better are the personalised treatments. Fresh herbs grow on the consultation table in reception. After a discussion of your aims, your therapist picks some leaves and grinds them in front of you. These are then added to your footbath which precedes the massage. Simply delightful and unique in my experience.
The guestrooms are all large by Tokyo standards, ranging from 50 sqm to the 125 sqm ANdAZ suites. Try to get one of the ANdAZ large king rooms. All located in the corners, they are very comfortable at 65 sqm and the views are panoramic. Every modern convenience has been provided, there is a spectacular rain shower as well as a deep circular soaking tub, the curtains, blinds and lights can all be controlled from the bedside console and there is a large desk with two chairs so no need to fight over who gets to sit and pretend to work whilst admiring the view.
For evening delights, the hotel offers a wide range including an 8 seat sushi restaurant on the roof terrace (make sure to book in advance), ANdAZ Tavern on the 51st floor offering all-day European-style dining with a Japanese twist, the casual Bebu restaurant offering simple snacks and grill items, the pastry shop with its éclair, cookie and chocolate menu and, lastly, the rooftop bar with its summer picnic menu and breathtaking views from the 52nd floor.
ANdAZ is also very well located a short walk or taxi hop from Ginza, one of the main shopping areas. The side streets are filled with restaurants and bars and there are numerous subway stations with connections to everywhere within walking distance. Tokyo though is vast. Simply overwhelming if you’re not familiar with it.
With two major international airports within forty minutes by the incredibly efficient train system, it was recently rated the safest city in the world with its pedestrian-friendly walkways and low crime rate. That it is simultaneously rated the riskiest city on account of the ever-present risk of earthquake and the likelihood of very high casualties if and when it next happens tells you a lot about Tokyo.
If you’re here for leisure, the city is simply bewildering but the views of Tokyo Bay from ANdAZ are inspiring. There is a rooftop sushi bar to go with their jazz bar. It’s hard to think of a better place in Tokyo to spend the evening and yes We’ve tried the New York Bar and Grill at Park Hyatt Tokyo. Speak it softly but the views are better and so is the service at ANdAZ.
10. ANA InterContinental Tokyo
ANA InterContinental Tokyo prides itself with its theme of “When Tradition meets Luxury”. The 37 storey hotel has 844 guest rooms (including 43 suites) and 11 restaurant and bars – including the 2 Michelin star restaurant Pierre Gagnaire. The hotel also has 24 banquet rooms of varying sizes for corporate functions.
Location wise, the hotel is within walking distance to other parts of Akasaka, the government offices in Kasumigaseki, and the bustling nightlife of Roppongi. There are 2 subway stations at the doorstep of the hotel as well as Tameike-sanno (Ginza line) and Roppongi-itchome (Namboku line). The hotel is also amongst the list of hotels which the Airport Limousine stops at, so you can go directly to and from both Haneda and Narita airport.
The rooms you want to pick here are the Club Rooms on level 33. Renovated in November 2017, they are inspired by the Japanese design concept of “Kintsugi”, using the centuries-old art of restoring functionality. The art involves using a special lacquer, dusted with powdered gold, silver or platinum to repair broken objects. The restored pieces are unique, and in line with the Japanese philosophy of ‘wabi-sabi’, which means to find beauty in imperfection.
The design philosophy is apparent immediately upon stepping into your room, the carpet has a gold streak running through. The gold streak is also apparent in the new artwork hanging in the bedroom and bathroom. For the rest of the room, the colour scheme is a warm and classy hue of grey and brown. The minimalist design and soft furnishing exude a sense of calm and sophistication.
In the centre of the room is my large and comfortable king bed, while a long sofa lines the wall against the window. My room looks towards Roppongi. On a clear day, Mount Fuji is also visible!
Facing the bed is a flat-screen TV, and a Nespresso coffee machine and mini-fridge. The bathroom and shower space is separated from the main room by glass. Upon walking into the bathroom, the glass immediately becomes opaque using motion sensor technology, coupled with the electro-chromatic glazing technology of the glass. There is a smart Japanese toilet, with multiple special functions, including a massage function..
The Club Room comes with access to the great Club Lounge, which I have separately reviewed. Other facilities available in the hotel include a fully equipped gym, a pool with views of the Tokyo Tower, and a sauna in the changing rooms.
If you decide to book any of the above hotels, it is worth doing so via our luxury travel concierge. We offer benefits such as complimentary upgrades, breakfasts, room credit and more at most luxury hotels.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.