7 Modern Japanese Hotels That Will Help You Find Your Zen

7 Modern Japanese Hotels That Will Help You Find Your Zen

In Japan, where ancient Shinto rituals and Buddhist meditations guide many aspects of daily life, interior design is also influenced by the Zen principles of balance and minimalism.

For people who follow this way of life, the essence of Zen is equanimity, harmony, calmness, and freedom from excess and illusion. Unsurprisingly, the interiors of Japanese homes are often created to evoke such qualities.  

Because of their minimalist aesthetics, Japanese Zen-inspired interiors have a timeless beauty, and usually include decor that follows a basic color palette of light and soft earth tones. 

The furniture used has clean lines and sharp angles, and many of them are finished with unvarnished cedar wood. 

If you’ll be traveling to Japan any time soon, consider staying at one of these modern Zen-inspired hotels and soak up some peace and serenity. 


Location: Iseshima, Japan

Amanemu (also shown in the cover photo above) in the tranquil Ise-Shima National Park on Honshu Island has suites and villas with large outdoor decks and traditional onsen baths.


Location: Hokkaido, Japan

Nestled within forests and meadows and close to some of Hokkaido’s finest ski slopes, the 15 villas of Zaborin have indoor and outdoor traditional Japanese baths that are filled with natural volcanic spring water. 

House of Finn Juhl

Location: Nagano, Japan

Filled entirely with furniture designed by Danish master Finn Juhl, this design hotel in the small ski town of Hakuba in Nagano marries the best of Danish and Japanese design sensibilities.

Shimaya Stays

Location: Kyoto, Japan

Built more than 100 years ago, these two traditional townhouses in Kyoto were restored and transformed into modern, clean-lined serviced apartments.

Sotoyama Jujo

Location: Minamiuonuma, Japan

In Minami-Uonuma—just two hours away from Tokyo by train—Sotoyama Jujo is a countryside hotel with cypress-and-cedar wood floors, an outdoor bathtub, stunning mountain views, and furniture by Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, and Isamu Noguchi.

Hoshinoya Tokyo

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Opened in 2016, the rooms and public areas in this 17-floor hotel are inspired by traditional Japanese ryokans and have floors that are covered in a mosaic of tatami mats.   

Hotel Kanra

Location: Kyoto, Japan

This Kyoto hotel has modern rooms that are inspired by "machiyas"—or traditional wooden townhouse homes that are typically found in Kyoto—and include tatami beds and aromatic cypress bathtubs.   


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