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Part of the experience of being in the Yoshino mountains, is in my opinion, spending a night at one the very beautiful and traditional ryokans in the area. While prices may be slightly higher than your average 3 or 4-star hotel, it really is an experience in itself. The service is incredible, the food is amazing and traditional, and the settings are fantastic. You can expect immaculate Japanese style rooms with Tatami, Ryokan staff to be wearing traditional yukatas and who treat you like royalty, and fantastic hot spring baths. For a holistic, spiritually cleansing and entirely relaxing experience… you need to stay at a ryokan.
Yoshino mountains have a handful of amazing ones and below I have laid out my handpicked favourites.
Please note that when you book the hotels by clicking on the links, the hotel star rating system isn't correct as these hotels and Ryokans are relatively untouched. I have personally stayed and visited these hotels and Ryokans, and have rated them myself.
►Note: All prices vary tremendously depending on the season. Click on the links to check prices and book.
♦♦♦♦♦ 5 Star
At the top of the list is Sakoya, Located in the middle of the main street/ village area in the mountains. I have stayed here countless times and the Okamisan (landlady/boss) is actually a close family friend. Sakoya Ryokan represents everything that is amazing about traditional Ryokans. Hospitality is that of a 5-star hotel or more, the food is all traditional and kaiseki style. They have hot spring baths, two of which are outdoor, and you can sip on Sake while soaking in the outdoor tubs and listen to the sounds of the mountain.
This Ryokan has been in the family for many generations and it is their legacy to provide an incredible experience. I Highly recommend staying here. But book fast as it gets booked up quickly.
♦♦♦♦ 4 star
Chukurin-in Gunpoen is a particularly special Ryokan as the actual Ryokan is part of a Buddhist temple with arguably one of the prettiest little Japanese Gardens in all of Japan. It is one of my favourite spots for tranquillity and serenity. Chikurin-in Gunpoen was originally accommodation for Shugendo (mountain religion) practitioners, but now it is a beautiful Ryokan. The service here is second to none, the food is traditional Kaiseki and rooms are traditional. I would say this is one of the most beautiful Ryokan in Kansai. It is pricey and as you can imagine, it gets booked up far in advance of the busy season of Spring and Autumn as the Cherry blossom and autumn leaves are stunning here, so book quick!
♦♦♦♦ 4 star
Ryokan Kato is a located a few minutes down the road from Sakoya, and is a very pretty Ryokan. Priced slightly cheaper than Sakoya, it still is outstanding. The food here is amazing, and the room is very cosy. The establishment has its own hot spring bath house. Only a few minutes walk from the main village area, it is very well located.
Famously beautiful and deep in the mountains is Hounkan. Simple beauty is the theme here, which is the same for everything in Japan. This hotel is slightly further on up the road (another Johnny Cash reference there) than the other Ryokans and is more hidden away.
♦♦♦ 3 star
Another very pretty Ryokan, and one steeped with history, based in the heart of Yoshino mountains, with incredible views and amazing service. With outdoor hot spring baths, you can relax and soak in the scenery. The food here is traditional Kaiseki. I would highly recommend staying here. One of my top pics