Kobe is a dynamic port city that is also one of Japan’s most beloved picturesque urban settings. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, Kobe is quintessentially iconic. The city itself is situated on the eastern edge of Osaka’s vast metropolitan area, known as Kansai.
Kobe, and particularly the mountain backdrop that frames its surroundings, is filled with charming ryokans tucked away in the pleasant valleys along the mountain range. Mt. Rokko and to a lesser extent Mt. Maya (which form a single mountain range as there is no single highest peak) are known across Japan as Kansai region’s most romantic destination.
A staggering feat considering Kansai is also home to Japan’s scenic Kyoto and Nara prefectures. The mountain range itself, is a symbol of Kobe, Osaka, and the greater Kansai region. On any given day, but more so on weekends, the city is filled with Kansai couples venturing out on romantic daytrips away from Osaka’s hustle and bustle.
Within the city limits, just a quick ropeway-ride up Kobe’s very own mountain range, lies the hot spring village of Arima.
The quaint valley village, of which you’ll hear much about during this Kobe ryokan list, is famed for its healing onsens and stunning natural setting. Arima also claims the honor of being Kobe’s top tourist destination.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best Kobe ryokans for you to experience!
If you are not familiar about the japanese traditional inns, feel free to check out this article: What is a Ryokan.
1. Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi
Located at the top of Mt. Rokko and easily accessible from central Kobe, is Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi. Visitors are whisked upwards on Mount Rokko’s famed ropeway to the mountain village of Arima Onsen, located within the city limits of Kobe. Situated just an 8-minute walk from Zuihoji Koen Park, and a 10-minute walk from Arima Onsen Train Station, Ryokan Hanamusubi is conveniently located.
At the top of the scenic environment, is the pleasure palace of relaxation known as the Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi. This Kobe ryokan is equipped much like a modern hotel, and is comparable in size and scope. What sets it apart is the superior service, both semi-private/private onsen facilities and its world-class kaiseki dinner course.
The ryokan’s outdoor hot spring baths are set in a private location with simple yet carefully decorated spaces meant to inspire a oneness with nature. Indoor baths are simple, convenient unadorned but above all, elegant.
Whether indoor or outdoor, private or semi-private, guests can luxuriate in the rich chocolate brown color of the hot spring baths which are infused with natural minerals said to have healing and regenerative qualities.
Private onsen are free for guests and only require same day reservations. For guests, the relaxation continues by enjoying a massage at one of the ryokan’s lounges.
From here, views of the Japanese-style gardens are framed by large open windows which are meant to inspire a sense of calm. This is achieved through the attentive landscaping and lighting of green spaces designed to be viewed while relaxing from the inside.
Book It Now: Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi
2. Arima Onsen Taketoritei Maruyama
Quintessentially scenic, Arima Onsen Taketoritei Maruyama is among the top-rated ryokans in Kobe. This charming Kobe ryokan features an enchanting onsen that will make even your wildest Japanese holiday dreams come true.
Arima Onsen Taketoritei Maruyama’s hot spring bath is set amid an enclosed terraced garden complete with bamboo and Japanese Maples. The overall scene is one that is perfectly designed for relaxation. The ryokan’s attractive larger garden features prominently in the onsen’s design and décor.
Some guestrooms feature private garden terraces on the first floor that enhance the ryokan’s atmospheric elements. This even includes a dynamic rock garden that will set the mind racing or evoke a sense of meditation.
Guestrooms located higher up feature simple design and décor that is accessible and convenient with views into the mountain landscape. Interiors are also simple yet dynamic, uncomplicated and designed for the guest’s enjoyment.
Arima Onsen Taketoriteo Maruyma is the best-rated ryokan in Kobe, in addition to one of the best-valued ryokans Kobe has to offer. A must-visit location when wanting to partake in a full onsen experience!
Book It Now: Arima Onsen Taketoriteo Maruyma
3. Arima Onsen Tocen Goshobo
Lux traditional styling mixes with contemporary creature comforts to create a ryokan experience like no other.
Arima Onsen Tocen Goshobo is a five-star ryokan located in the quaint onsen village of Arima. Its history is vibrant and unique; it’s one of the oldest standing onsen ryokan accommodations in Arima, and was the ryokan of choice for beloved Japanese novelists throughout the centuries.
All 20 guest rooms at this ryokan feature stunning traditional tatami floors, shoji paper screens, and traditional furniture. You have the option of selecting a western–style room (with a bed) or a Japanese-style room (with futon bedding). However, both offer the same level of relaxing ambiance.
Certain guest rooms also boast breathtaking views of the mountain range, whilst others come with a private hot spring accessible directly from the room itself! This is a fantastic option for families with small children or those wanting some privacy. Otherwise, there is an open-air onsen onsite that all guests can visit.
It’s one of the top-rated ryokan accommodations across Japan, so we’d recommend getting your booking in, stat!
Book It Now: Arima Onsen Tocen Goshobo
4. Negiya Ryofukaku
Negiya Ryofukakau is elegantly situated amongst the greenery of its mountain surroundings. Located on the western side of Arima, and subclustered into the hillside, this Kobe ryokan is another top-rated ryokan in an area brimming with top-notch accommodations.
Careful mood lighting and a sumptuous arrangement of muted colors set the stage for a relaxing and atmospheric environment. The main building uses the hillside as a terraced entrance that takes on a magical charm when illuminated at night, especially under Arima’s Spring Hanami or its cherry blossom season.
Individual guestrooms offer standard Japanese-style tatami sitting areas and Japanese-style futon bedding with views towards the lush, mountain backdrop. Western-style sleeping areas with adjoining tatami sitting rooms feature staggering vistas into the valley. Private onsen are also available in addition to massage options, as well as a bar and karaoke lounge.
Meanwhile, the ryokan’s kaiseki options boast a wide selection of dishes, as well as top-grade Kobe beef grilled or stewed in a hotpot for an additional fee. A keen attention to service and hospitality make this Kobe ryokan a favorite among travelers.
In addition, Negiya Ryofukaku is moderately priced and generally more accessible than the average ryokan. As such, the ryokan tends to book in advance.
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5. Spa Terrace Shisui
Charming and graceful, Spa Terrace Shisui is simply the best equipped ryokan-style accommodation in Kobe. Upon arrival, guests are welcomed to a sanctuary of rest and relaxation.
Enjoy the ryokan’s many perks and amenities that go beyond your standard onsen/hot spring to include a spa center complete with massage options and facial treatments. This Kobe ryokan is also calm and quiet, featuring only 14 guestrooms each with individual touches and design features.
Elegantly envisioned common spaces and lounges lend a focus to contemporary Japanese design, that is sumptuous and opulent. A style that contrasts with the minimalist and utilitarian design that is prevalent in most ryokans.
This unique and distinctly Japanese vision of exuberant decoration features repeating elements in carved Japanese Akamatsu wood that serve as architectural lighting fixtures or as frames and room dividers. Features which accentuate the wood’s natural elements, and its pleasant tan coloring, which in this case appears almost like golden fixtures when strategically illuminated.
When it comes to dinner, a delectable menu featuring both Japanese and Western dishes is sure to satisfy all tastes and palettes. This includes pancakes, frittatas and eggs benny for breakfast as well as sushi and sashimi.
Spa Terrace Shihui is also located just a 20-minute walk from Tsuzumigataki Park, and just a 25-minute drive to Osaka’s Itami Airport! Which makes it a convenient destination for short-stay visitors who may also be in Kansai region for business.
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6. Hashinoya Bekkan Ransui
Nestled in the mountain scenery, Hashinoya Bekkan Ransui features an extensive garden which makes visiting a highlight. Add to this a mouth-watering menu of contemporary Japanese dishes, a private hot spring bath, and daily Japanese-style breakfast, and you’re in for a treat.
Traditional Japanese interiors and open-air onsen feature carefully-curated but natural garden with a koi pond—a delight for most visitors. The ryokan’s guest rooms are much larger than the average ryokan and feature a large space which can be made into multiple rooms through sliding door partitions made from traditional Shōji paper.
Hashinoya Bekkan Ransui offers guests a traditional setting in a private environment. For guests, its golden onsen is also a much raved about highlight.
Hashinoya Bekkan Ransui is located just 9.7 km from Mt. Rokko, and 22.5 km from Kobe’s popular Chinatown District. From the garden to the delectable cuisine, as one of the top-rated ryokans Kobe has to offer, you’ll savor every moment spent at Hashinoya Bekken Ransui.
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7. Okuno Hosomichi
Traditional Japanese interiors and attention to service makes Okuno Hosomichi among the top-rated and best reviewed ryokan Kobe can proudly boast. The ryokan has been carefully designed in a simple and elegant manner.
Unadorned yet luxurious, complete with Shōji paper sliding doors and windows, Okuno Hosomichi is an exemplary example of Japanese style and design.
Rooms with private onsen hot spring baths located on or in close proximity to a private balcony allow for sumptuous comfort and enjoyment of the scenic mountain setting. Guestrooms feature separate sleeping and sitting areas complete with elegant tatami-style bamboo flooring.
Rooms are also more spacious than the average ryokan. Despite its elegant Japanese interiors, it is perhaps the ryokan’s dinner options that take the cake, so to speak. The ryokan’s top-grade kaiseki menu features a wide range of options with a focus on delectable sushi and sashimi as well as seafood dishes.
Smart, carefully designed but never distracting, Okuno Hosomichi offers elegant and simple luxury without ostentations; meaning its attention to service, detail and design have been refined to induce the most sublime sense of luxury.
In addition, this Kobe ryokan has also been rated a top value destination. If you’re looking for the traditional Japanese experience, look no further than Okuno Hosomichi.
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8. Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Kotori
Modern and stylish interiors with smart design that is comforting and satisfying, are mainstays throughout this charming and elegant Kobe ryokan. With a flair for modern Japanese design featuring trendy seating in common areas and in each guestroom, as well as careful and uncomplicated color palettes that add character to the overall scheme.
The chairs themselves have been designed by Japanese craftsmen and are known throughout Japan for their prestigious design and quality.
Make sure to book in advance and ask for the annexed private onsen room. With a limited number of guests, Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Kotori feels private and quiet, while the design elements make it feel airy and spacious.
Guests also have access to a second onsen located in a nearby area, featuring a different hot spring altogether. Overall, guests rave about the ryokan’s atmosphere and attentive staff. The property is rated as the best-value ryokan Kobe has to offer!
If you’re wondering about the dinner options, the ryokan’s kaiseki menu features a tantalizing array of Japanese dishes including the ever-popular Kobe beef!
Book It Now: Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Kotori
9. Arimasansoh Goshobessho
Authenticity and Arima Onsen go hand in hand, so if you’re looking for the best ryokan accommodations in Kobe, Arima Onsen is the way to go.
Arimasansoh Goshobessho is a top-tier option if opulent styling and grand celebrity-style treatment are what you’re after. Its beauty is unmatched, with the exterior showcasing the best of traditional Ryokan structuring, whilst the interior is truly a work of art.
It features rooms with terraces that open up to forest views, en-suite bathrooms, the option of getting aromatherapy treatment or a massage, and a sensational kaiseki dinner option.
For those who are after activities to do, the resort complex also offers tennis, horse riding, and fishing, and there are also hiking trails and ski slopes nearby.
Guests Tips: The staff here have superb English skills. Certain visitors felt that the lighting was too dark, however, this is part of the ambiance of the ryokan. The Wi-Fi signal may be too weak to do work.
Book It Now: Arimasansoh Goshobessho
Kobe is world-renowned but often overlooked by international tourists. For native Nihonjin (Japanese), Kobe is a must-visit. With a splendid, natural backdrop and a cosmopolitan atmosphere, Kobe offers visitors a perfect balance of natural and urban, highlighting the best of both worlds. For anyone visiting the Kansai region, a stay at a Kobe ryokan is an experience not to be missed.