The Gyokuhokan in Izu counts Issey Miyake among its regular guests


The views do not disappoint at Tokyo's Andaz Hyatt

Peninsula Hotel, Tokyo
With sweeping views of the Imperial Palace, this 24-storey building in the centre of Ginza’s well-heeled shopping district is directly connected to Tokyo’s efficient underground station and is handily located opposite Hibiya Park and its ponds and playgrounds. Peninsula Hotels are globally-renowned for impeccable service and the Tokyo branch surpasses them all.

Have baby bottles that need washing? Expect them to be returned to your room with each part displayed on a white cloth and silver tray, any time of day or night; while children are provided with bathrobes, slippers, bath toys, cots and matching pillows, all emblazoned with the heart-warming ‘Peninsula bear’ logo.

Each spacious bedroom comes with black-out screens that are handy for putting jet-lagged kids down to sleep, and a separate – sound-proof – dressing room is useful if one parent ‘wants’ to hang out in with up-all-hours babies while the other catches up on sleep. Children will also have fun enjoying Peninsula activities and watching television from the spacious chromatherapy bath.

The writer's daughter chills out in a baby dressing gown at Tokyo Andaz

Andaz Tokyo
One of the newest additions to the Tokyo skyline, Hyatt Group’s Andaz Tokyo is part of the Toranomon Hills complex which occupies the top seven floors of a 52-storey tower. Designed by New York’s Tony Chi, each room is extremely spacious by Tokyo standards and is aesthetically inspired by traditional Japanese interiors.

Children will love playing in the huge red marble Jacuzzi-size bath and enjoy staring at sweeping views of Tokyo below from the window’s sofa. The AO spa and swimming pool is a serene white oasis which is open from 5am am although children under four are not allowed. Although expensive, the price is great value compared with luxury hotels of a similar standard in Tokyo


Japanese ryokans are a great family-friendly option because the whole family can sleep in one ‘tatami’ room on futons. There is no need to worry about any small members of the family rolling out of bed, and your dedicated room attendant will make up your futons and can also provide smaller ones for little children.

The ryokan experience usually centres around bathing in the healing waters of an onsen hot-spring and enjoying a multi-course, post-bath kaiseki dinner and breakfast from the comfort of your room before the futon is laid out – handy for kids who can’t sit still in restaurants.

No matter how exclusive and expensive the ryokan, check in times are usually 15:00 or 16:00 with early check out times of 10:00 or 11:00am. Multi-course dinners and multi-course breakfasts are usually included in the price of a hotel room.

The Kinnotake ryokan boasts views of Mount Fuji

Kinnotake, Hakone Sengokuhara
For views of Mount Fuji, head an hour on the train out of Tokyo to Hakone, a popular hot-spring resort. Kinnotake Tonosawa is the jewel among the crown of the area’s ryokan offerings and is named after the legend of the bamboo cutter and its impressive interior is crafted from over 10,000 bamboo trees. Kinnotake is cripplingly expensive but is an experience of a lifetime and one night is sufficient to enjoy its pleasures – many Japanese people take one-day trips to ryokans.

Opt for the Hibiki room, the 100-square metre room comes with low western beds, a private onsen bath with views of the garden and a separate Japanese tatami room for your multi-course kaiseki meals. Futons for small children can be laid out and colourful kids-size yukatas are also provided.

Although you may end up parting with £500-700 for a one night stay, don’t forget that a multi-course meal of this culinary intricacy and calibre would set you back in London about £120 per head or more and in the case of ryokans, meal prices are included in the stay.

"Kinnotake Tonosawa's impressive interior is crafted from more than 10,000 bamboo trees"

Gyokuhokan, Izu
This beautiful Taisho-era house has in recent years got a new interior by esteemed designer Shigeru Uchida and counts Issey Miyake as one of its regular clients. People come for the beautiful and extensive traditional 3,450 square metre Japanese garden. For foreigners who are body-shy and do not want to have a hot spring onsen with other hotel guests there are three private baths designed by Uchida which can be reserved and locked from the inside for privacy. These baths – one made from black stone, one from Shigarayaki earthenware and one from Japanese wood – are works of art in themselves with two different types of healing hot-spring waters.

The big open-air hot spring bath for hotel guests to use together will give you an experience akin to bathing in a most beautiful Japanese rock garden. Yukatas and mini wooden “geta” and mini futons are provided for children and parents can choose between tatami futon rooms or western style low-beds. Many rooms also have their own mini hotspring but is an inferior experience to the forementioned on-site bathing options.

A 'Japanese style' room at Otanisanso, Yamaguchi

Otanisanso, Yamaguchi
Near the Otozure river, this large, family-run ryokan hotel in southern Japan’s Yamaguchi can accommodate up to four or five people in one Japanese style tatami room. Its neighbouring hotel, run by the same family, Bettei Otozure is its uber luxury cousin which elegantly blends a refined Japanese craftsmanship and design details with a western sensibility – think Le Corbusier chairs amongst the tatami.

The area is famous for its healing waters and Otanisanso is delightfully filled with families wandering round in matching yukatas fresh from bathing and relaxing but it’s remote, beautifully rural and a good five or six hour journey from Tokyo.

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