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Say “Konnichiwa” to the ryokan. These traditional Japanese inns are where you want to stay, if only for a few days, If you’re seeking an authentic and immersive experience sampling Japan’s spa culture. It’s especially amazing at the tail-end of a Japan vacation, to sneak in some bliss-filled R&R before hopping on the long flight back home.

A uniquely different experience from a hotel stay, the focus at ryokans include unwinding, relaxing and indulging in onsite baths fed by natural hot springs, or onsen. In fact, strolling around in the ryokan bathrobe (or yukata) is a perfectly acceptable—and encouraged—thing to do.

Expect super-attentive hospitality, traditional meals, beautiful architecture and immaculate cleanliness. Guest room bedding ranges from fluffy futons on bamboo straw-matted floors to Western-style beds, depending on the caliber and “Western” mindset of the ryokan proprietors.

Ryokans are destinations unto themselves. Some of the best are located outside of high-energy metropolises such as Tokyo and Kyoto, planting guests in serene natural settings where meditative waterfalls, babbling brooks and peaceful woods replace the skyscrapers and street traffic. Here are seven of our favorite, all bookable on Orbitz, and all within a few hours by high-speed train from Tokyo.

 
RELATED: 9 reasons Japan is ja-mazing 

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GORA KADAN
Where Hakone-machi
Closest train station Gora
Nestled in a green forest near Hakone Izu National Park, this upscale ryokan boasts 39 air-conditioned rooms, a hot spring and full-service spa.

 
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FUJISAN ONSEN HOTEL KANEYAMAEN
Where
 Fujiyoshida
Closest train station Mt. Fuji
The Mt. Fuji views from the communal bath are spectacular during a soak at this 126-room ryokan. Fujisan is also close to Chureito Pagoda and Kitaguchiihongu Fuji Sengen Shrine.

 
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HAKONE PAX YOSHINO
Where Hakone-machi
Closest train station Hakone Yumoto
Inside Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, this 76-room ryokan puts guests close to Tamadare Falls, the Gyokuren Shrine and Shogenii Temple.

 
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ALSO: Sign up Orbitz Rewards and say hai to hotel travel perks!

HANAFUBUKI
Where Izu Peninsula
Closest train station Izukogen (Izu-Kogen)
Unwind in one of seven private hot spring baths at this ryokan located in the forest on the Jogasaki Coast in Izu Penninsula.

 
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WANOSATO
Where Hida-Takayama
Closest train station Takayama
Exclusivity and attentive service abounds in this luxurious eight-room ryokan tucked into a forested countryside setting along the Miagawa River.

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ARASHIYAMA BENKEI
Where
Kyoto-Arashiyama
Closest train station Arashiyama
Just west of downtown Kyoto, this ten-room ryokan boasts indoor and outdoor baths, with views of the surrounding areas, which in season are covered in cherry blossoms.

 
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KOZANTEI UBUYA
Where Fujikawaguchiko-machi
Closest train station Kawaguchiko
With panoramic views of Fuji and Lake Kawaguchi, this ryokan features 51 air-conditioned rooms, onsite hot springs, a full-service spa, a sauna and a library.

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NAKANOBO ZUI-EN
Where
Kobe
Closest train station Arima Onsen
This highly regarded ryokan (even by Japanese locals) features 52 guest rooms, open-air baths, reservable baths and a no children under 13 policy. It happens to be next door to a whimsical toy museum, however, for the kids at heart.

 

TIP: Orbitz is now offering even more offbeat and unexpected accommodations, such as ryokans, castle hotels and houseboats. Here’s how to find them on the site:

1. Select your destination and travel dates

2. On the results page, check out the “Filter Properties By” column to the left of the resulting hotel selections.

3. You can sort by “Property Type” and “Vacation Rentals” to uncover cool options such as villas, houseboats, tentalows, castles and more.

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Tagged: Asia, Japan

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