Established in 1489, Asaba Shuzenji Onsen is a traditional Japanese inn located in a city in the Shizuoka prefecture known as Izu. The location is plentiful in forest areas and has an abundant number of hot spring resorts.
The service of the ryokan was first known as a place of lodging associated with Buddhism. Today, it is a remarkable place that matches the tranquil factor in the area. It has a long history of service dating back to the 15th century and is considered one of Japan’s top accommodations.
Its exterior resounds the look of a temple where visitors could also hear the running sound of the nearby river. The rooms of the inn are designed based on the traditional Japanese style with amenities that complete a ryokan feel. Most of their materials are from bamboo and various wood, which brings a calm and fresh feeling to the visitor.
Asaba Shuzenji Onsen has a total of 17 rooms that cost between 90,000 to 180,000 JPY per night, including hot spring baths and different views of a large pond near the Noh stage of the inn.
Guests can have a mini trip by boat if they want to head for the Noh stage. Visitors can also view the performances done on the Noh stage right in the comforts of their room.
Asaba Shuzenji Onsen has onsen facilities like their outdoor baths and indoor private baths. Their hot springs bring the scent of citrus where guests can have cocktails and other drinks at the lounge. The inn has also a European spa that provides treatments both for the body and face.
Dinner at the Asaba is served in-room, offering the kaiseki dinner, a multi-course meal based on the seasons priding in local products and specialties. Guests can visit sites like the Shuzenji Temple and try to have a footbath on the river.
The inn is accessible by rides coming from the Tokyo Station or the Shuzenji Station. The ryokan has implemented measures against COVID-19 where the staff will be wearing masks and sanitizers will be provided around the area.
Japanese ryokan food, dinner and breakfast – a ryokan providing local foodstuff
Local Izu seafood and vegetables. This ryokan has garnered a reputation for good meals from the word-of-mouth advertising of ryokan guests.
A ryokan appearing in various media
This ryokan was used in the movie “Shitsurakuen” (1997, Japan).
“No. 1” ryokan in Japan
With 335 years of history, this long standing ryokan features a 1,983 meter garden and traditional Japanese Noh play performances. The garden, illuminated at night, emits the subtle and profound atmosphere of ancient Japan.
Traditional ryokan – historical architecture
Ryokan with a 335 year history. It is famous for its still active Noh play stage, the Gekkeiden, and the beauty of its Japanese garden.
Year of establishment
Number of rooms
*All rooms have hot spring baths (except “Ohitoma” room)
Rooms with open-air baths
Is this place ryokan only or ryokan with an onsen?
Does this ryokan have private onsen (hot spring)?
Is there a communal shared public bath?
Are there additional rental options?
With open-air tubs 0 With indoor tubs 2 With both indoor and outdoor tubs 0 Hours 15:00 – 10:00 Price Free How to book Use when available (no reservation necessary)
Price range (yen)
The price includes one dinner and one breakfast
Total rating: 4.5
Right up there with the very best ryokans in Japan
On paper, Asaba ticks all of the boxes for a luxurious ryokan stay. It's located just minutes away from a wonderful Onsen town (Shuzenji), as well as a historic temple (Shuzenji Temple), yet is nestled in a quaint area along a gorgeous pond. The architecture and decor are traditional Japanese yet is up-to-date and in fresh condition. There's an onsen hot springs bath in every room, including some that have the open-air variety. The communal, open-air baths are in a gorgeous setting along a private part of the lake with views of the bamboo forest beyond. Each group of guests are assigned a "Nakai-san" (a butler for lack of a better description) who looks after every aspect of your stay, including meals. You have the option to dine in the comfort and convenience of your own room (and, given how awesome the rooms are, why wouldn't you?) From the common area, as well as from many of the rooms at Asaba, you're treated to an incredible view of the pond and the historic Noh stage, the latter which is actually used for actual performances that periodically take place (you should count your blessings if it actually happens - they do provide a calendar of performances on their website if you're interested in witnessing traditional Japanese performing arts. And, finally, the food is out of the world.
While we generally try to stay at the top room at ryokans we stay in, at Asaba we choose not to do so... and it was quite unnecessary. We stayed in the "Moegi" room on the second floor, which was 116m² in size and commanded a wonderful view of the pond, Noh Stage and the forest beyond. It featured a Japanese tatami sitting area, a living room, an indoor terrace with floor-to-ceiling verandahs, a dedicated bedroom with Western-style beds and an wooden Onsen hot springs bath. It was spacious, comfortable and anything beyond that would've been overkill in our opinion. the luxurious decor was complimented by local and traditional art. Truly, Asaba's sense of place is off the charts.
Chie, our dedicated Nakai-san, was charming, enthusiastic, professional, super knowledgeable and quick to cater to our every request and inquiry. And during the meals, she painstakingly explained every detail of every dish (where each ingredient came from, why/how various ingredients were combined and prepared, etc.) It was a great education of innovative Japanese kaiseki cusine - even for veteran kaiseki foodies like us.
Speaking of food, it was phenomenal. It was a mix of super creative (and super delicious) and familiar offerings that were done exceptionally well. On the former front, one of the dishes was a slightly seared (very rare) Spiny Lobster meat that was covered on top with Lobster Tomalley and Sea Urchin. The combination of them was wonderful, and won't be soon forgotten. But even a simple, stand-alone dish such as the New" (fresh seasonal) Onion simmered in a light, soy-based broth with ginger was exceptional. And the memorable meal ended by three courses of desserts, each extraordinarily creative and amazing: The first was Blancmange, a sweet French dessert that's sort of like Panna Cotta - a category of eggless custard desserts. This was followed by Kuzukiri with Kuromitsu (a Japanese black sugar syrup.) Kuzukiri is a transparent noodle made from water and kudzu powder, and is a traditional dish that is included in wagashi Japanese sweets. Finally, they offered two flavors of amazing ice cream - a ginger-flavored one and a Sakura cherry ice cream. Again, it's not something you'll see very often, if ever, and Asaba does such a great job of it that it's definitely worth visiting for the food alone.
Everything about the Asaba experience was as close to perfection as we could hope for. The staff are refined and graceful, yet warm and attentive. We can tell that they've been at this "Omotenashi" (Japanese hospitality) thing for quite some time, but it's done with a very warm touch. In spite of Asaba's lofty status among the very best Japanese ryokans, we didn't sense a hint of snobbery (unlike a few places we've recently visited.)
We are set to return to Asaba this Fall - with some of our family members in tow - and have booked a date that features a traditional Shamisen ( a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument) performance (on the lake) by a renowned artist. And we'll get to enjoy it from the comfort of our room. Can't wait!
serene, peaceful and so comfortable
The property is still the same as many years ago.... wonderful. clean, welcoming, pleasant and relaxing. have been more than 10 times and visited again after a five year absence. love it more and more. the only thing is that the time schedule for using the outdoor bath could be improved a bit. 2 hours for men, then 2 hours for women and repeat this cycle.
thank you asaba - you are one of my favorite places to stay in Japan1
We stayed here for the last few days of our honeymoon in January 2020 and it was truly a blissful end to the trip. The staff treat you like royalty, from the moment you check in and take your shoes off at the entrance to a practically presidential goodbye when you check out and depart.
The food was impeccable - so authentic, fresh, and well-presented. Special nod to Tai, the young lady who served our dinners and breakfasts each day.
The hot spring bath was so serene, especially at night when the surrounding trees are lit up so you can just gaze into the distance. The beds were probably the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in - the pillows and comforters looked and felt like clouds.
The entire ambiance and peaceful views encourage you to just disconnect, and I highly recommend the splurge here for a few nights of pure Japanese relaxation.
Stay at Asaba Ryokan
A big step up from our last Ryokan in Kyoto. The hotel room is c 70sqm and divided into three parts; a sitting tea where you have lunch and dinner, a sleeping area and a balcony overseeing a small decorative lake and the wooded hillside (see photo).
Futon style bed was incredibly comfortable with down quilt and pillows.
Never ending supply of dishes at dinner and good wine list for anyone not hing the full health route. In room bath fed from the natural springs and choice of indoor and outdoor public baths as well as private baths for family.
The only word of warning is for those over the average Japanese height. Most doorways are at about five foot ten and I have a few battle scars to prove it - care when moving around after dark!!
Fully deserves a five star rating
Pricey but unforgettable
We stayed overnight with 4 other couples (Japanese, Chinese, American and French). Our unanimous verdict was that from the moment we arrived until we departed, everything was exquisite: the koi pond that greeted us upon arrival, our rooms, the food, service, etc etc etc. The entire place is very serene. I told my husband and our friends that within a few minutes from our arrival, I was completely relaxed just soaking in the atmosphere.
Guests need to leave their shoes at the main entrance for the duration of their stay so everyone walks around wearing tabi (Japanese socks). We also wore our yutaka (Japanese robes) throughout.
The room assigned to us (named Nadeshiko) had 2 western twin beds, while our friends had traditional tatami rooms. We had fun exploring our room which had several sliding doors so we discovered we had 2 toilets and 2 vanities.
The best feature of our room was a small living/dining area with a view of a garden. [We were served a traditional Japanese breakfast in our room on the morning of our departure.]
Our dinner (included in the price of our stay) was superb. One of the selections was an exceptionally large and sweet tomato that was different from anything I've ever had before. There was also an eel selection that was very well prepared - i normally do not like eel, but thoroughly enjoyed what we were served.
After dinner, the hotel staff took us to a nearby bridge (around 500m or so from the hotel) where we watched fireflies. A nice 'poetic' way to cap the evening, as one of our friends said.
Right outside the hotel, there are beautiful bamboo gardens and a shrine, which make for a pleasant stroll.
Everything was beautiful and perfect. Would absolutely love to go back someday.