Located on the coast off the Sea of Japan, Kanazawa is a well-known cultural destination filled with traditional crafts and music, as well as contemporary art and an impressive, new train station. While the city might be well-known among Japanese visitors, Kanazawa remains largely unexplored by foreign travelers. Even so, the ones that do make it to this coastal city on the Sea of Japan find it hard to leave –while others simply decide to stay.
Is Kanazawa Worth It?
Throughout Japanese history, Kanazawa has been known for its abundant riches. The name itself translates to Golden Marsh, referring to the nuggets of gold that were once found here. The city boasts the privilege of being one of Japan’s only destinations not to be destroyed by war or natural disaster.
As such, Kanazawa has retained a charming traditional historic quarter that is the country’s second most extensive and well-known, after Kyoto. In addition, Kanazawa is said to have the freshest (and some say the best) sushi in the whole of Japan, as the abundant Sea of Japan’s bounty is at its doorstep.
The city’s unique Yukitsuri, a tourist favorite, can be seen upon exiting the staggering new train station. Yukitsuri feature prominently throughout the city as supports for tree branches. The Yukitsuri take on precedent in the city’s popular Japanese garden, Kenrokuen. The garden is one of the city’s top attractions and is said to be among the three most beautiful gardens in all of Japan.
Yukitsuri specifically refers to the ropes and poles meant to hold up tree branches to prevent them from snapping during winter’s heavy snowfall. The task is achieved in a graceful manner which adds to the garden’s overall appearance. The view and atmosphere of the Yukitsuri take on particular magnificence at night when the gardens are lit up throughout the seasons.
Oh, we also forgot to mention, there is a 16th century castle unique in Japan due to its extensive horizontal expanses, an atmospheric geisha quarter, and a ninja temple (that’s right, ninjas!).
With a traditional heart that pervades the spirit of the city, a charming Kanazawa ryokan is the only way to immerse yourself in the alluring elegance of Kanazawa’s riches. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best Kanazawa ryokans in town for you to discover!
1. Kinjohro Ryokan
Kinjohro may not just be the best ryokan in Kanazawa, it might be among the best ryokan in all of Japan! This Kanazawa ryokan is particularly popular among couples due to its romantic and scenic accommodations and overall attention to detail and service.
Located just 400m from Kanazawa Castle, 800m from Kenrokuen Garden and just 2km from Ninja Temple, Kinjohro is the perfect location from which to explore the city’s main attractions.
In Kinjohro, the carefully-curated spaces, utilizing the best Japanese products, both for architecture and accommodation, make for a truly immersive experience. Be prepared to take your shoes off as soon as you arrive; an elegant lobby interior entrance greets guests with a golden decorative folding screen which features 2kgs of gold leaf.
The screen displays a traditional Japanese setting, and is changed according to the seasons. The lobby and entrance are lit through diffused lighting that extends the length and width of the entire ceiling. The effect causes the gold decorative elements to shine and glitter, and lends the room ambiance and an ephemeral elegance that is simply hard to quantify.
Guestrooms feature private onsen facilities that display the best in Japan’s famed carpentry. Bathrooms also receive an elegant and traditional treatment with his and her sinks as well as private gardens for ground floor suites.
Through its sumptuous yet simple attention to detail, Kinjohro is rated as the best ryokan Kanazawa has to offer. Guest reviews describe the ryokan as “a unique luxurious gem”. Oh, also, the Ryokan boasts some of the best Japanese gourmet in the city!
While it may not be the city’s most affordable ryokan, it is one of the city’s most popular, so ensure to book well in advance.
Book It Here: Kinjohro Ryokan
2. Yuzuya Ryokusone
Come for the exceedingly elegant accommodations and stay for the world class food! In our list of the best Kanazawa ryokans, Yuzuya Ryokan Kanazawa Ryokusone comes in at a close second (in a very tight race!).
Ryokusone is situated just a 15-minute walk from Kenrokuen Garden and 20 minutes from Kanazawa Castle. Most ryokans feature a timeless design that is generally consistent (tan wood, tatami floor etc.). Yuzuya Ryokan Kanazawa Ryokusone on the other hand, is markedly unique and modern in its design principles.
Masculine and seductive design with dark wood features alongside a rich color palette of dark greys, black and green accents, either through plants or careful use of design elements. Above all, Yuzuya Ryokan Kanazawa Ryokusone is atmospheric and elegant. Graceful design lends an otherworldly sophistication to the traditional setting. Every space has been carefully tended to and inspires contemplation and meditation.
While each guestroom is distinct, this Kanzawa Ryokan features sliding doors and room partitions that are works of art in and of themselves; featuring gold leaf and natural depictions unique to Kanazawa landscapes in every room.
What makes this ryokan a world-class destination? Perhaps it’s the delectable gourmet kaiseki and innovative dishes which have been constantly propelling Japanese food to the vanguard of the international culinary scene.
Guests rave about the creative and passionate cuisine, which is said to compete with the best Michelin-star restaurants in London or Paris. Set your expectations high, and prepare for Yuzuya Ryokan Kanazawa Ryokusone to exceed them with ease.
Book It Here: Yuzuya Ryokan Kanazawa Ryokusone
3. Kanazawa Chaya
Centrally located just meters from Kanazawa Station, amid the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Kanazawa’s central district, this unassuming yet gratifying Kanazawa ryokan claims its place.
Efficient and uncomplicated, Kanazawa Chaya will allow for a quick and relaxing trip when short on time. Traditional Japanese principles with a unique Kanazawa spirit (we mean gold leaf décor!) is present throughout.
From the use of color and gold leaf to the mood-setting light arrangements. A graceful entrance, flooded in a golden light come nightfall, welcomes visitors into the ryokan’s main premises. A garden terrace located on the third floor also offers a relaxing environment for guests to enjoy.
Guest suites are simple and traditional. Tatami flooring and Japanese room aesthetics feature throughout. A partitioned sitting room separated by Shōji paper sliding doors, offers a view of the city that can also be shut out (in a Japanese-style ryokan sitting room, if the view isn’t nature, it’s not worth it!).
Kaiseki meals feature traditional Japanese fair that includes fresh and smoked fish, pickled vegetables, edamame salads, miso accompanied dishes, and other unique culinary delights with a long tradition.
Kanazawa Chaya is the closest ryokan accommodation to Kanazawa station itself. Which makes it the perfect spot if you have a time limit to get in the views, relax and zoom on the bullet train to your next destination.
Book It Here: Kanazawa Chaya
Utaimachi is definitely one of the creme de la creme choices, though. Classic ryokan architecture and interior design flow throughout this ryokan accommodation; from the entrance, through the on-site restaurant, all the way to the expansive-sized guest rooms.
Utaimachi is perfectly located amongst some of Kanazawa’s most popular attractions including Kanazawa Castle, Kenrokuen Garden, and Kazuemachi Tea House Street. Its ambient guest rooms will compel you to stay indoors to appreciate it as much as you can, but if you’re looking to explore, Utaimachi serves as the perfect base.
Book It Now: Utaimachi Ryokan
5. Ryotei Manyou
Simple and uncomplicated with a keen sense of tradition, Ryotei Manyou is a constant favorite among Japanese travelers. A winding path leads guests towards the main entrance into a Zen oasis of relaxation. Ryotei Manyou features a traditional Japanese garden accessible through many of the ryokan’s guestrooms.
Guests can enjoy different types of suites, including a Japanese/Western style room featuring both tatami and Western-style sitting areas, and a Japanese/Western style duplex set on two floors. The ryokan’s Meiji-style Japanese suite, complete with a traditional Japanese sitting room is itself very popular among Japanese tourists.
All suites are endowed with private open-air hot spring baths in addition to the ryokan’s communal indoor and outdoor onsen facilities. Hot spring baths come in a variety of unique styles each with their own particular charm and way, as well as views of the garden.
Aside from its obvious appeals, what makes this Kanazawa ryokan stand apart from the rest is its special attention to service. Each guest is provided with ample attention and care beyond what one might expect from a five-star hotel. The Ryotei Manyou is a romantic destination that is particularly popular among couples and tends to book well in advance!
Book It Here: Ryotei Manyou
Smart and traditional, Yamanoo Kanazawa ryokan is quintessentially Japanese. Guestrooms are designed with traditional Japanese carpentry and come in a range of deep, rich color schemes including pale forest green, and deep-hued red with orange and brown tones. All of which are painted with traditional dyes and methods.
Nestled in its very own garden setting, Yamanoo features Kanazawa’s famed Yukitsuri rope and pole support for trees. The ryokan, will feel more like a sophisticated stay in a friend’s traditional Japanese estate; or a step back in time, than just your standard ryokan.
This is especially true when it comes to the ryokan’s outstanding cuisine, which will feel and taste more like a delicious home-cooked meal. Not just any ordinairy meal, but one that features an endless array of options and mouthwatering courses.
The ryokan’s specialty is Japanese-style crab risotto (in miso), crab hotpot, as well as a range of sashimi and hibachi options. Sleeping, dining and entertaining options feature views of the ryokan’s charming garden which are meant to inspire relaxation.
Located in the city’s famed traditional and historic Higashi Chaya District, the home of teahouses and geisha lounges (most of which are invite only), Yamanoo ryokan is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the charms and graces of old Japan.
But beware, you might end up traveling back in time to feudal Japan, as the district is said to be induced with a sense of timeless magic.
The ryokan has even been designated as a ‘Traditional Cultural Asset of Kanazawa’, as such, the “establishment is recognized as preserving the appearance, atmosphere, and elegance unique to the historic city of Kanazawa, and is thereby designated (…)”, as the gold-leaf plaque proudly reads inside this historic Kanazawa Ryokan’s main entrance.
Book It Here: Yamanoo Ryokan
7. Takitei Ryokan
Through style, comfort, grace and superior hospitality, Takitei has everything you can possibly imagine. Rich wood textures and atmospheric lighting lend a relaxed and sophisticated charm to this popular destination’s communal spaces.
The ryokan’s graceful dining room boasts 20-foot ceilings with single wooden beams, diffused lighting and stylish furniture (lounge chairs are very well-known in Japanese design). All of which lend an air of unadorned elegance which is achieved seamlessly.
Even so, Takitei’s most gratifying quality is its onsen facilities, which are located in a natural Japanese garden which blends into the surrounding, landscaped grounds. The garden features a carefully tended arrangement meant to be semi-wild, and a natural waterfall that encourages the upmost rest and relaxation.
In addition, an indoor onsen facility features refined and well-designed wooden and stone features.
This Kanazawa ryokan also features vast guestrooms with Shōji paper sliding-doors which separate sleeping, sitting, lounging and entertaining, as well as bathing areas. While private onsen options in guest suites feature views of the natural surroundings.
Outdoor lounges also offer views of the extensive garden which is carefully illuminated come dusk. The backdrop will serve as the perfect location to spend time with friends and family. This inviting Kanazawa ryokan is particular popular among groups of friends and families of all ages.
Takitei is also the top-rated Kanazawa ryokan for an overall experience that is worth every penny. Contemplative and relaxing, this sublime Kanazawa ryokan is meant to invigorate the senses as well as every inch of the body, mind and spirit. Takitei is simply bliss!
Book It Here: Takitei Ryokan
8. Gunjo no Tsuki
Gunjo no Tsuki is one of the more newly built ryokan accommodations in Kanazawa, but what it lacks in historical roots, it makes up for with immaculate design that takes into consideration basic ryokan elements and modern Japanese styling, elite comfort features, and premium location.
Gunjo no Tsuki features a beautiful exterior, with a private entrance for guests to use, private bathrooms fitted with bidets, tranquil river views for certain rooms, and even home-baked bread and jams for breakfast!
Its location is superb, offering a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, and yet only a few minute’s walk away is a small local town to leisurely explore if you want.
Guests Tips: There’s a choice between traditional futon bedding or Western-style bedding.
Book It Now: Gunjo no Tsuki
The Golden Mash or Kanazawa is a gem among Japan destinations. Not just for its quaint and charming atmosphere, but also for its grand gestures, be it in architecture or art which is often bathed in gold.
Its distinct take on Japanese traditions allude to its serene position as a cultural highlight during medieval Japan’s sometimes turbulent and destructive past. Even so, a wild and untamable spirit gives the city a fresh atmosphere and a sense of adventure.
From the train station’s grand entrance, inspired by taiko drums; to the sea of Japan’s windswept vistas, which bring snowy winter snowstorms and a bounty of fish throughout the year. Through all its charms, Kanazawa is an experience not to sleep on, or if you do, make sure it is in one of its world-class ryokans!
PS: Feel free to check out our complete Ryokan Collection here.