Bathtub with a View
Bathing is a big deal for the Japanese and most Ryokan will house an on-site onsen. At Ryokan Asagusa Shingestsu you can book a spot in the male or female cypress baths, which both have views of the five story pagoda at Senso-ji Temple. Not bad for $180 per night (for two). Make sure you try the Japanese breakfast – a traditional feast that includes steamed rice, eggs, kamaboko (steamed fish paste), dried nori, pickles and green tea.
Rooms from ¥7400 (approx. $90)
City on Your Doorstep
Japan is a country of smokers so it’s a welcome relief to find the Kimi Ryokan is a smoke-free zone. Right next to Ikebukuro station you’re just 15 minutes from the shopping districts: Shinjuku, Shibuya and Ueno. Like most ryokan, Kimi has shared bathrooms, laundry facilities and free wifi. The complementary green tea and foot massage machine in the lobby are welcome luxuries after exploring Tokyo all day.
Rooms from ¥5400 (approx. $70)
Situated right above the Tokyo metro you’d expect the Hoshinoya Tokyo ryokan to be noisy and polluted but it’s far from it. The hot spring onsen on the top floor is a nice touch for this urban ryokan and the tea and sweets on arrival prove what great hosts the Hoshinoya staff are. More spacious than other ryokans you’ll find plenty of likeminded travellers gathering for peanuts and beer in the shared lounge areas on each floor. Oh, and don’t miss the free sake tasting and juggling in the lobby.
Rooms from ¥82,800 (approx. $1000)