Ditch your westernised definition of luxury that is reduced to size and ornamentation; when it comes to Japanese hotel design, luxury is embodied by elegance and sleek minimalism. Found in Tokyo, Kyoto, Niseko and beyond, these are 12 of Japan’s best luxury hotels.

From high-rise hotels to quaint ryokans, these are the best places to stay in Japan…

Park Hyatt Tokyo, Tokyo

Park Hyatt is one of Tokyo’s original luxury hotels, whose frills cascade from the grandeur of the lobby to each of the en suites’ Aesop amenities. Impeccably attentive staff and views of Mount Fuji add extra pizazz. Thought you recognised the hotel? Scarlett Johanssen and Bill Murray graced the hotel when filming Lost in Translation.

  • +81 3 5322 1234
  • Go to Website
  • 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku
    Shinjuku-Ku
    Tokyo
    163-1055

The Celestine Kyoto Gion, Kyoto

A delicate balance of time-honoured and contemporary Japanese design features occupies the interior of The Celestine Kyoto Gion. Peppered with conscientious details such as gift-wrapped cloths and yukata robes, the hotel exudes unassuming luxury. Guests are even presented with (incredibly) Handy mobile phones, so the complications of data roaming will not prevail.

  • +81 75 532 3111
  • Go to Website
  • 572 Komatsu-cho
    Higashioji-nishiiru
    Yasaka-dori
    Higashiyama-ku
    Kyoto
    605-0933

Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima, Yakushima

On the idyllic Unesco World Heritage Site of Yakushima island, Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima is perfectly placed for nature lovers. Here nature is a theme that permeates hotel, with locally grown botanicals and Thai herbal treatments being used in the spa. The hotel’s finer dining provides a French-Japanese fusion cuisine, which is prepared for guests in a sleek open kitchen.

  • +81 997 47 3488
  • Go to Website
  • 553 Haginoue
    Mugio
    Yakushima-cho
    Kumage-gun
    Kagoshima
    891-4402

Amanemu, Mie Prefecture

Another hotel from the Aman family is this collection of spacious villas amid the arboraceous landscape of Mie Prefecture. Low-hanging tiled roofs and shōjis (Japanese sliding doors) nod to traditional Japanese design while its spa, with treatments such as hot-stone therapies and reiki, bring the extra touches of Zen. Indulge in the outdoor hot-spring onsen or perfect your downward dog in the hotel’s yoga studio.

  • +81 599 52 5000
  • Go to Website
  • 2165 Hazako Hamajima-cho
    Shima-shi
    Mie
    517-0403

Palace Hotel, Tokyo

The historic Palace Hotel offers guests a lavish stay with views over the gardens and skyscrapers of Tokyo. Hotels in the Japanese capital seldom offer guests balconies, so the addition of these adds a rare luxury to the white and pale-green rooms. Forget wading through dossiers of leaflets about local activities: Palace Hotel offers its own carefully curated selection of experiences and activities, including sumo-wrestler lunches and expert-led tours of local architecture.

  • +81 3 3211 5211
  • Go to Website
  • 1-1-1 Marunouchi
    Chiyoda-ku
    Tokyo
    100-0005

Zaborin, Niseko

The purpose of a visit to Zaborin is to do absolutely nothing other than relax. The resort is comprised of 15 secluded detached villas set around an onsen in a small forest. Our favourite touch is the library, stacked with best-selling books and films waiting to be taken back to your room.

  • +81 136 23 0003
  • Go to Website
  • 76-4 Hanazono Kutchan-cho
    Abuta-gun
    Niseko
    Hokkaido
    044-0084

Aman Tokyo, Tokyo

The preservation of Aman’s signature serenity is flawless in its first city location of Tokyo. The incredible use of space in each bedroom makes you forget that you’re in a hotel; the airy rooms designed by the Australian architect Kerry Hill are filled with natural wood, stone and paper, echoing traditional, sleek Japanese homes. Enjoy the sweeping views of Tokyo while honing your folding skills with the delightful origami paper provided in each room.

  • +81 03 5224 3333
  • Go to Website
  • The Otemachi Tower
    1-5-6 Otemachi
    Chiyoda-ku
    Tokyo
    100-0004

Gôra Kadan, Hakone

Gôra Kadan is one of Japan’s most elegant and chic ryokans (a traditional Japanese inn), situated in Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. Each room is a retreat of tranquility with minimal design and a palette of warm wood which exudes natural comfort. Private dinners are served in your room, and your dinner wardrobe is provided for you in the form of a comfortable kimono.

  • +81 460 82 3331
  • Go to Website
  • 1300 Gora
    Hakone-machi
    Ashigarashimo-gun
    Kanagawa
    250-0408

HOSHINOYA Tokyo, Tokyo

Cosy ryokan inn vibes meet luxury hotel at the 18-storey HOSHINOYA Tokyo, which benefits from a hot-spring onsen. The overall feel here falls somewhere between peaceful traditions and a casual modern attitude, exemplified in the cotton-jersey kimonos provided for guests.

  • +81 50 3786 1144
  • Go to Website
  • 1-9-1 Ōtemachi
    Chiyoda-ku
    Tokyo
    100-0004

Trunk Hotel, Tokyo

There’s an emphasis on “made in Japan” at the eco-conscious Trunk Hotel, a perfect choice for the green-minded traveller. High-ceilinged rooms (some of which sleep up to 14) foster contemporary Japanese design with minimalist clean-cut lines – we recommend booking one with a terrace or balcony. There’s a wood-and-glass chapel on the terrace if you fancy getting hitched, too.

  • +81 3 5766 3210
  • Go to Website
  • 5-31 Jingumae
    Shibuya-ku
    Tokyo
    150-0001

Asaba, Shizuoka Prefecture

At Asaba you don’t need to lift a finger. Banquets and breakfasts are served in your timelessly minimal room in which futons unrolled each night by attentive staff. Soak in the onsen baths while taking in views across the Izu Peninsula.

  • +81 558 72 7000
  • Go to Website
  • 410-2416 Shizuoka
    3450-1 Shuzenji
    Izu-shi
    Shizuoka
    410-2416

Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, Tokyo

With all rooms located above the 19th floor (and up to the 37th), Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel wows guests with breathtaking panoramic views across Tokyo. Opt for the Executive levels at the top of the hotel – just try not to steal all the L’Occitane amenities.

  • +81 3 3476 3000
  • Go to Website
  • Sakuragaokacho 26-1
    Shibuya-ku
    150-8512
    Tokyo

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