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10 of the Best Onsen Ryokan in Niigata Prefecture: Enjoy Getting Away in Nature

10 of the Best Onsen Ryokan in Niigata Prefecture: Enjoy Getting Away in Nature

Date published: 17 December 2023

Situated on the west coast of Japan, Niigata Prefecture is known for its beautiful and varied natural scenery. Niigata is famous for its lush paddy fields that produce some of the finest quality rice used to make some of Japan’s finest sake. With a long coastline that overlooks the Sea of Japan, much of Niigata sees vast snowfall in the winter, making it a hugely popular skiing destination. Also in Niigata are several onsen towns and resorts famous for their soothing hot springs.

If you’re visiting Niigata for rest and relaxation, here are 10 of the best onsen ryokan in Niigata Prefecture.

(Main image: Booking.com)

10 of the best onsen ryokan in Niigata

Rankeisou - Relax at a historic and peaceful riverside retreat

Japanese-Style Room with Private Bathroom and River View - Image credit: Booking.com
Japanese-Style Room with Private Bathroom and River View - Image credit: Booking.com

Rankeisou is a historic ryokan located on the edge of the city of Sanjo, around 60 kilometers south of Niigata City. Founded over 100 years ago, today, Rankeisou’s guest rooms are spread across three buildings that sit in beautiful woodlands alongside the Sumon River.

The ryokan’s oldest building, which dates back to Japan’s Showa era, has been declared a tangible cultural property by the government of Japan. There are two public hot spring baths at Rankeisou, which are segregated by gender.

Additionally, there are two private open-air onsens that can be booked by hotel guests free of charge. Rankeisou’s hot spring waters are high in salt and are said to have excellent healing properties. Bathing in Rankeisou’s onsen is believed to help heal cuts and burns on the skin, as well as stiffness and conditions such as neuralgia.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

There is a range of large guest rooms available across Rankeisou’s three buildings to choose from. Most rooms feature tatami flooring, traditional Japanese interiors, and futon beds, while rooms in the modern Suiyukan building come with beds and a private terrace.

A sumptuous traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner are included as part of the stay at Rankeisou, consisting of several dishes made from seasonal ingredients unique to Niigata. Breakfast includes a hot porridge cooked with the hotel’s own hot spring salt waters. Meanwhile, the beautifully prepared kaiseki dinner pairs fresh local fish and tofu prepared with locally sourced vegetables of the season.

Around a 35-minute drive from Sanjo Station, previous guests at Rankeisou have loved the hotel’s hospitality, the peaceful and picturesque location, and the exceptional quality of the breakfast and evening meals.

・Languages spoken: Japanese, English

Shosenkaku Kagetsu - Spacious rooms in a modern ryokan next to Echigo Yuzawa's ski slopes

Deluxe Double or Twin Room - Image credit: Booking.com
Deluxe Double or Twin Room - Image credit: Booking.com

Shosenkaku Kagetsu is located in Echigo Yuzawa, a popular skiing resort area in the Japanese Alps that’s also famous for its hot springs. In winter, the nearby slopes are thick with several feet of powder-fresh snow that attracts millions of skiers to Echigo Yuzawa every year.

Shosenkaku Kagetsu is only a five-minute walk from Echigo Yuzawa Station’s west exit and is perfectly located if you’re visiting the area to ski.

Shosenkaku Kagetsu has both public and private onsen, which are ideal after a tough day out in the snow. There are four outdoor and two indoor public onsen, which can be used free of charge, while the private onsen also has a separate indoor and outdoor bath. The private onsen is charged at an additional fee of 1,000 yen.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

There’s a choice of either Japanese rooms with a tatami floor and futons or deluxe double or twin rooms with beds. Both options are a spacious 40 m² in size, and many rooms also come with their own open-air hot spring bath located on a private terrace.

Shosenkaku Kagetsu also has storage areas for those bringing their own skiing gear. Alternatively, you can hire skis and clothing from the hotel and buy ski passes for the nearby slopes.

Breakfast is not included, though a restaurant onsite serves an excellent range of Japanese cuisine made from regional produce, which opens in the morning and evening. If you choose to eat at the hotel restaurant, be sure to book in advance.

The hotel also has a sake bar as well as a traditional Japanese garden complete with a pond filled with colorful koi carp. Previous guests have been very impressed by the hotel staff’s customer service, location, and the private onsen.

・Languages spoken: Japanese

Shiratama-no-Yu Senkei - A family-friendly ryokan in one of Niigata's best hot-spring areas

Twin Room with Mountain View - Image credit: Booking.com
Twin Room with Mountain View - Image credit: Booking.com

Shiratama-no-Yu Senkei is a 4-star hot spring resort located in Tsukioka, one of Niigata Prefecture's popular onsen regions.

It has an enormous indoor onsen and a large outdoor bath with high salt content natural spring water that leaves skin feeling incredibly smooth and soft.

In addition, the hotel offers a sauna, aromatherapy sessions, and massage for an additional charge. The resort also offers beautifully designed rooms, ranging from standard Japanese-style rooms for up to six guests to large family rooms with two bathrooms for a group of seven.

Rooms feature huge windows that allow guests to admire the beautiful surrounding scenery. Some rooms even come with their own open-air hot spring baths.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

The hotel includes a breakfast buffet of Japanese dishes, while elaborate and beautifully presented kaiseki evening meals can also be added at an additional cost. Other facilities at Shiratama-no-Yu Senkei include a full-size indoor swimming pool plus a children’s pool.

Evening meals are served in the two onsite restaurants, while there’s also a Japanese sake bar as well as a karaoke bar. Shiratama-no-Yu Senkei is a 20-minute drive from Toyosaka Station, though there is a shuttle bus service between the hotel and the station, which can be arranged for an additional fee.

Many of the hotel’s guests have praised the hotel’s immaculate rooms, incredible food, and the welcome and high standard of customer service received from the staff.

・Languages spoken: Japanese

Hotel Hoho - A grand ryokan with views of the Yahiko mountains

Superior Family Room - Image credit: Booking.com
Superior Family Room - Image credit: Booking.com

Formerly known as the Hotel Oohashi Yakata-no-Yu, Hotel Hoho is located in Iwamuro, another of Niigata’s famous hot spring towns.

Established in the late 19th century, Hotel Hoho boasts the region's largest indoor and outdoor public baths. Both baths are fed by natural hot springs, which is good for the skin and does wonders for common complaints such as stiff muscles and joint pain.

The hotel also has a sauna room called Arashi-no-Yu, in which fresh spring water is poured over 15 different types of stone. The stones are heated, and the effect of pouring the spring water over the stones is believed to be beneficial for many ailments, helping to treat skin conditions, hay fever, and even improving blood circulation.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

An excellent selection of rooms is available at Hotel Hoho, all of which overlook the nearby Yahiko mountain range. An excellent option for families, all rooms can accommodate at least four guests, with larger rooms capable of hosting up to seven people.

Futon beds are provided in all rooms, which includes the option of a Japanese breakfast for an additional charge. Fabulous evening meals can be ordered at the onsite restaurant, which serves exceptionally high-quality Japanese dishes prepared from seasonal ingredients sourced from Niigata Prefecture, including various fish, seafood, and wild vegetables. Children’s meals are also available.

Hotel Hoho is a 10-minute drive from Iwamuro Station, around 55 minutes from Niigata Station on the Echigo Line. Previous guests have loved Hotel Hoho’s hot spring baths, beautiful location, and the restaurant's delicious Japanese cuisine.

・Languages spoken: Japanese, English, Cantonese, Chinese

Maruyama Onsen Kojyokan - Open-air hot springs next to Niigata's ski slopes

Japanese-Style Superior Room with Shared Bathroom - Image credit: Booking.com
Japanese-Style Superior Room with Shared Bathroom - Image credit: Booking.com

Maruyama Onsen Kojyokan is located in Minami Uonuma, nestled amongst the many ski resorts in the south of Niigata Prefecture. The hotel has two public open-air natural onsen hot springs as well as a private roof-top open-air bath that hotel guests can book for 1,650 yen.

If you’d prefer not to bring heavy skiing equipment with you, then skis, snowboards, and all kinds of clothing can be hired directly from the hotel. The hotel also provides guests with a free shuttle service to three of the nearest ski resorts: Ishiuchi Maruyama Ski Resort, Maiko Snow Resort, and Gala Yuzawa.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

A selection of Japanese and Western-style rooms are available. Japanese-style rooms come with futon beds and tatami floors, while modern Western-style rooms are furnished with beds. The hotel also has a large junior suite with two double beds and its own private open-air hot spring bath. Maruyama Onsen Kojyokan also offers pet-friendly rooms, making this a great option if you want to bring along a furry friend.

For an extra fee, you can choose the option of a typical Japanese breakfast and a multi-course kaiseki dinner, sourced from the freshest local ingredients that vary with each season.

Previous guests have raved about the quality of the food, as well as the hotel’s extremely relaxing atmosphere. The nearest station is Ishiuchi Station, which is only a 3-minute drive or a 10-minute walk from the hotel. The hotel also offers a free shuttle bus to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, which runs between 8 AM and 6 PM daily.

・Languages spoken: Japanese

Hot Spring Inn Snow Country (Yukiguni) - Relax in the natural beauty of rural Japan

Economy Quadruple Room - Image credit: Booking.com
Economy Quadruple Room - Image credit: Booking.com

Hot Spring Inn Snow Country (Yukiguni) is located amongst some of the most picturesque rural scenery in Niigata. The ryokan is only a 3-minute walk from Tsunan Station, close to the border with Nagano Prefecture.

This corner of Niigata Prefecture can see up to four meters of snow in the winter, and this ryokan is the perfect place to experience traditional hot springs and hospitality whilst relaxing amongst the beautiful Japanese countryside.

There are two public onsen at Hot Spring Inn Snow Country (Yukiguni), both of which have indoor and outdoor baths. There is also a private indoor bath, which can be reserved for 2,000 yen per hour. There is a choice of Japanese-style rooms, with tatami mats and futon bedding, or economy single rooms that come with a bed.

An excellent Japanese breakfast and dinner is served, made from the freshest regional ingredients, including local fish and rice grown in the ryokan’s very own rice fields.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

Though there is a train station nearby, the area's remoteness means that this might be a better option for those with a hire car. There are several hidden gems to explore nearby that are difficult to reach using public transport but an easy drive, such as Kiyotsu Gorge, the vibrant green waters of Ryugakubo Pond or the Tsunan Sunflower Field in the summer.

Previous guests at Yukiguni have loved the ryokan’s relaxing hot springs, as well as the excellent care and attention they received from hotel staff.

・Languages spoken: Japanese

Hotel Oyanagi - A mountain-side ryokan with sea views from open air hot springs

Superior Twin Room - Image credit: Booking.com
Superior Twin Room - Image credit: Booking.com

Hotel Oyanagi is a large ryokan in Yutagami hot spring resort located in the town of Tagami, just south of Niigata City.

Set at the foot of Mount Gomado, the hotel is surrounded by gorgeous natural scenery. From the infinity-style rooftop hot spring on the hotel’s sixth floor, there are wonderful views as far as the Sea of Japan. The indoor public baths also have huge windows so you can bathe while admiring the panoramic views across the Echigo Plain. There is also a smaller private open-air onsen that guests can book for 2,200 yen for the hour.

The hotel offers a good range of stylish Japanese and Western-style rooms. Family rooms and suites are also available, making this a great place for those looking for a ryokan who are traveling with children. Other facilities for children include an indoor play area, a children’s pool, and a manga library. Additional entertainment options include a table tennis table and a karaoke room.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

A multi-course Japanese breakfast and evening meal are included as part of the room, all made from beautifully prepared and wonderfully presented ingredients that are specialties of Niigata Prefecture. You can also relax with a fresh coffee in Ajisai, the hotel’s lounge, which also has a vintage audio sound system where guests can play classic vinyl records.

The hotel runs a shuttle service to Tagami Station, which is a 5-minute drive away. From Tagami Station, it’s only a 30-minute journey to Niigata Station on the Shin-Etsu Line. Despite this, if staying here, you might want to hire a car to really explore rural Niigata. If you’re visiting in the summer, don’t miss the 30,000 hydrangeas that bloom at Gomado-yama Hydrangea Garden, the trail for which is a ten-minute drive from the hotel.

・Languages spoken: Japanese

  • Hotel Oyanagi
    • Address 1322 Tagami-machi, Yutagami Onsen, Tagami, Niigata, 959-1502
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Tagami Station (Shin-etsu Line)
      25 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

Hotel Taiko - Open-air onsen with mountain views close to the slopes

Japanese-Style Room - Image credit: Booking.com
Japanese-Style Room - Image credit: Booking.com

The Hotel Taiko is another large ryokan located in one of Niigata’s popular ski resorts that’s also blessed with natural hot springs. Situated at the foot of Mount Myoko, the hotel is only a seven-minute walk from the Akakura Ski Resort. If you want to save on packing, you can hire all of the ski and snowboarding equipment you may need directly from the hotel, plus you can also buy ski passes for the nearby slopes.

There are two large public hot spring baths in the Hotel Taiko, one of which is indoors, while the outdoor onsen has a superb view of Mount Myoko. If you need further pampering, you can also book a body massage or a reflexology session to help your weary legs and feet recover after a day on the skis.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

There is a choice of either Japanese or Western-style rooms at the Hotel Taiko. All Japanese-style rooms have futon beds, while most of the guest rooms enjoy mountain views. All rooms are very spacious, with even the smallest twin room a generous 38 m². All other rooms can sleep at least four guests, with family rooms accommodating five people.

A buffet-style breakfast of Japanese and Western dishes is included, while a luxurious kaiseki meal of delicious regional cuisine can also be ordered at extra cost from the hotel’s restaurant. Children are also welcome at Hotel Taiko, with an indoor play area and a games room to help keep them entertained.

The nearest train station is Myokokogen Station, around an 8-minute drive away. The hotel provides a free shuttle bus service to and from the station, though seats must be reserved in advance.

・Languages spoken: Japanese, English

  • Hotel Taiko
    • Address Akakura 402, Myoko, Niigata, 949-2111
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Myokokogen Station (Myoko-haneuma Line)

    Vacancy search, reservation

    • Please enquire directly about rates.

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

Sado Resort Hotel Azuma - Bathe in hot-springs with incredible sunset views

Japanese-Style Twin Room with Ocean View - Image credit: Booking.com
Japanese-Style Twin Room with Ocean View - Image credit: Booking.com

Located on Sado Island, the Sado Resort Hotel Azuma is a stylish ryokan with breathtaking views of the Sea of Japan. Sado Island is a large island that lies around 50 kilometers off the coast of Niigata that’s home to over 55,000 people. The island can be reached by high-speed ferry from Niigata City in one hour or by a three-hour trip by car ferry.

Situated on the west coast of Sado Island, the Sado Resort Hotel Azuma has a large public indoor bath as well as a public outdoor onsen. Two private open-air baths in the hotel’s garden overlook the sea, while two of the hotel’s most prestigious guest rooms have their own private open-air baths.

In the late afternoon, the hotel enjoys spellbinding views of the sunset as the sun slowly disappears over the horizon. The best place to enjoy the sunsets is from the hotel’s hot spring baths.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

The beautiful guest rooms at the Sado Resort Hotel Azuma combine traditional Japanese elements, such as tatami mats, sliding doors, and alcoves, with large comfy beds. Rooms also come with sea views, whilst many also offer sensational views of the sunset.

The hotel often organizes extra activities, including kayaking and snorkeling lessons as well as yoga and tai chi sessions. A grand Japanese breakfast made using ingredients from Sado, such as locally grown rice and squid sashimi, is included. You can also opt to add a lavish kaiseki dinner.

As public transport is limited on Sado, a stay at the Sado Resort Hotel Azuma would be best for those with a car. There are several car hire companies based in Ryotsu, Sado’s main port, which is around a 40-minute drive to the hotel.

Previous guests at Sado Resort Hotel Azuma have raved about the quality of the breakfast and dinner, the hotel’s beautiful location and, of course, the incredible sea views.

・Languages spoken: Japanese

Sake Hotel Tamakiya - Heavenly hot springs combined with world-class cuisine

Triple Room with Private External Bathroom - Image credit: Booking.com
Triple Room with Private External Bathroom - Image credit: Booking.com

The Sake Hotel Tamakiya is a beautiful ryokan located in Matsunoyama, a tiny village hidden deep in southern Niigata. In winter, the town is buried beneath several feet of snow, and the popular Matsunoyama Onsen Ski Resort is only a five-minute drive from the hotel. The town’s hot spring waters are said to hold medicinal properties, and are believed to be a good remedy for ailments such as eczema, cuts, burns, neuralgia and general aches and pains.

Both indoor and outdoor public baths at the Sake Hotel Tamakiya are segregated by gender. Two guest rooms have their own semi-open-air private hot spring baths that look out onto the narrow river that passes beneath the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms are spacious at 54 m² and are also beautifully designed with a modern take on traditional Japanese interior design.

Image credit: Booking.com
Image credit: Booking.com

The hotel’s head chef trained in Tokyo at a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, and dining at Sake Hotel Tamakiya is as heavenly as a soak in the hot springs. A healthy and hearty breakfast of multiple dishes made from a selection of the finest regional ingredients is included with the room booking.

For an additional cost, dinner comprises several exquisite French-inspired courses made from ingredients unique to the local Tokamachi region and of Niigata Prefecture, all paired with the finest sakes.

The hotel is fairly remote and will most suit those who have their own car. The nearest train stations are Matsudai Station on the Hokuhoku Line and Tsunan Station on the Iiyama Line. Both stations are a 20-minute drive away, though the hotel does run a shuttle service once a day between Matsudai Station.

Previous guests have praised the hotel for its tremendous food, wonderful customer service and the heavenly hot springs.

・Languages spoken: Japanese, English

How we chose the best onsen ryokan in Niigata

To ensure that we chose the best ryokan in Niigata, we only selected those with an average rating of higher than 8 out of 10 left by previous guests on Booking.com. We also reviewed what customers wrote about each property to find out what they particularly liked about each accommodation, including their location, the levels of customer service, the standard of the food and the quality of the overall experience.

Written by:

James Davies

James Davies

Originally from Cardiff in the UK, James has been working as a freelance writer since moving to Japan in 2020. Having first visited Japan in 2013, James has been to each of the country’s 47 prefectures. A lover of sushi, sumo and sake, when not writing, he is either exploring Tokyo or planning a trip to a new corner of Japan. On Instagram: @_jamesdavies

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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