Michelin Names First Key Hotels in Japan

For the first time, the Michelin Guide has revealed the new One, Two, and Three Key distinctions for the most outstanding hotels in Japan.

This announcement comes four years into a comprehensive refresh of its hotel selection. The Michelin Guide now includes more than 6,000 hotels across the world, and not a single one is simply a room for the night. These are places that significantly add to your experience as a traveler, each vetted and judged excellent in five categories: architecture and interior design, quality and consistency of service, overall personality and character, value for the price, and a significant contribution to the guest experience in a particular setting.

The culmination of countless hours of evaluation by a team of experts, the Key hotels below represent the highlights of the broader selection. Like the Michelin Stars for restaurants, the Michelin Keys are our most outstanding hotels.

In total, the 2024 Michelin Guide hotel selection in Japan includes six Three Key hotels, 17 Two Key hotels, and 85 One Key hotels. 

Skyscrapers and Design Gems

Out of six Three Key hotels in Japan, half make their home in towers in Tokyo. At Bulgari Hotel TokyoFour Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi, and the Palace Hotel Tokyo, expect the lavish spas, restaurants, and faultless service that have long made Tokyo among the luxury-hotel capitals of the world. Other Key hotels that stand tall over the megapolis: Andaz TokyoAman Tokyo, and Bellustar Tokyo, A Pan Pacific Hotel.

The city is also home to less intimidating masterpieces. Look to the contemporary Swedish design of K5 for the quintessential example of boutique personality in the capital, or to Trunk Hotel Yoyogi Park for a small, Japanese and Danish-inspired accommodation wonderfully placed on the edge of an urban forest.

Worth a mention: Gora Kadan, a Three Key Hotel just outside Tokyo set in a verdant national park.

K5 Hotel

Traditional and Reinvented Ryokan

Among the oldest forms of hospitality in history, the ryokan has no official, legal definition — it is simply a traditional Japanese inn, typically sporting tatami floors, shoji screens, kaiseki dinners, and onsen hot spring baths.

The list of Key hotels features ryokan across the country, and you might split them into two categories. The first are the hyper-traditional ryokan, those with centuries-old roots such as OchiairoHiiragiya, and Asaba, that preserve the most traditional forms and customs of these storied inns.

On the other end, you have the modern ryokan — less tied to tradition, they sport updated or even radical forms of design, architecture, and luxuries; even if, at their core, they take their appeal from the same onsen baths, kaiseki dinners, and connection with the countryside that have drawn travelers for generations. Look to ZaborinSuiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto, and Amanemu for some of the most superlative examples.


Hotels That Defy Categorization

It’s easy enough to put Japanese hotels into neat buckets. Michelin has already given Tokyo credit for its luxury skyscrapers, and the countryside for its sublime ryokan. But amongst the Key hotels of Japan, it sees plenty of gems with no such easy categorization.

In Nagoya, the The Tower Hotel Nagoya took a 1954-vintage television tower and built a hotel around it; the tower’s iron support beams cut diagonally through the walls, floors, and ceilings of the rooms. In Kumura, Izumo Hotel The Cliff carved eight rooms into the cliffside over the ocean. And in Naoshima, Benesse House doubles as an art museum. The hotel-museum hybrid is located on a tiny, isolated island and boasts installations by Jackson Pollock and James Turrell.

Izumo Hotel

The Three Key Hotels

Hakone-machi: Gora Kadan
Mie: Amanemu
Tokyo: Bulgari Hotel Tokyo
Tokyo: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Otemachi
Tokyo: Palace Hotel Tokyo

The Two Key Hotels

Fujikawaguchiko: Fufu Kawaguchiko
Hatsukaichi-shi: Sekitei
Hokkaido: Zaborin
Ishigaki city: Jusandi
Izu City: Asaba
Kyoto: Aman Kyoto
Kyoto: The Shinmonzen
Naoshima: Benesse House
Nikko: Fufu Nikko
Nikko: The Ritz-Carlton, Nikko
Onna: Halekulani Okinawa
Tokyo: Aman Tokyo
Tokyo: JANU Tokyo
Tokyo: The Capitol Hotel Tokyu
Toyooka: Nishimuraya Honkan
Yufu: ENOWA Yufu
Yufu: Kamenoi Besso

The One Key Hotels

Atami: Atami Izusan Karaku
Awara: Beniya Kofuyuden
Beppu: ANA InterContinental Beppu Resort & Spa
Fukuoka: The Ritz-Carlton Fukuoka
Ginoza: The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Ginoza
Gionmachi: Genji Kyoto
Goto: GOTO RETREAT by Onko Chishin
Hachimantai: ANA InterContinental Appi Kogen Resort
Hakone: Fufu Hakone
Hakone: Hakone Gora Karaku
Hakone: The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Sengokuhara
Izu City: Arcana Izu
Izu City: Ochiairo
Kaga-Onsen: Beniya Mukayu
Kaga-shi: Araya Totoan
Kagoshima: GAJOEN
Karuizawa: Fufu Karuizawa Wind in the Sunshine
Karuizawa: Fufu Kyu-Karuizawa Restful Forest
Karuizawa: SHISHI-IWA-HOUSE Karuizawa
Kumura: Izumo Hotel The Cliff
Kutchan: Sansui Niseko
Kyoto: Ace Hotel Kyoto
Kyoto: Dusit Thani Kyoto
Kyoto: Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto
Kyoto: Fufu Kyoto
Kyoto: Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto
Kyoto: Hiiragiya
Kyoto: Hotel The Celestine Kyoto Gion
Kyoto: Kanamean Nishitomiya
Kyoto: MUNI KYOTO by Onko Chishin
Kyoto: Park Hyatt Kyoto
Kyoto: ROKU KYOTO, LXR Hotels & Resorts
Kyoto: Six Senses Kyoto
Kyoto: Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto
Kyoto: The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu
Kyoto: The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
Kyoto: Kifune Ugenta
Matsuyama: SETOUCHI RETREAT by Onko Chishin
Minakami: Bettei Senjuan
Miyota: The Hiramatsu Karuizawa Miyota
Nagato: Bettei Otozure
Nago: The Ritz-Carlton, Okinawa
Nagoya: The Tower Hotel Nagoya
Nagoya: TIAD, Autograph Collection
Nakijin: One Suite THE GRAND
Nanjo: Hyakuna Garan
Naoshima: Naoshima Ryokan Roka
Nara: Fufu Nara
Nara: JW Marriott Hotel Nara
Narai: BYAKU Narai
Nasu: Nasu Mukunone
Niigata: Satoyama-Jujo
Nikko Kinugawa Keisui
Niseko: Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve
Niseko: Muwa Niseko
Niseko: Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono
Niseko: Setsu Niseko
Numazu: Numazu Club
Onomichi: Ryokan Onomichi Nishiyama
Onomichi: Azumi Setoda
Osaka: Conrad Osaka
Osaka: InterContinental Osaka
Osaka: The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka
Osaka: W Osaka
Shima: The Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts Kashikojima
Takayama-shi: Wanosato
Toba-shi: Oyado The Earth
Tokyo: Andaz Tokyo
Tokyo: Bellustar Tokyo, A Pan Pacific Hotel
Tokyo: Four Seasons Hotel Tokyo at Marunouchi
Tokyo: Hotel New Otani Tokyo – Executive House ZEN
Tokyo: K5
Tokyo: Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
Tokyo: Shangri-La Tokyo
Tokyo: The Aoyama Grand Hotel
Tokyo: The Okura Tokyo
Tokyo: The Peninsula Tokyo
Tokyo: The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Tokyo: The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo
Tokyo: The Tokyo Station Hotel
Tokyo: Trunk Hotel Yoyogi Park
Yakushima: Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima
Yokohama: InterContinental Yokohama Pier 8
Yokohama: The Kahala Hotel & Resort Yokohama

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