Background Ryokan are Japanese traditional inns for travellers to rest and eat meals. The name of this Ryokan, Yuen, means “origin”, and it plays an important role in providing traditional Japanese hospitality. A modern “northern inn” that reconfigures the basic components of a ryokan is created by combining local Hokkaido materials with traditional Japanese design aspects, attracting tourists and locals to the area. This is the second Onsen Ryokan Yuen, after the one in Shinjuku.

What’s it like? Yuen Sapporo is well located in the centre of Sapporo. The big full-length automatic timber doors open to welcome guests to the contemporary hotel after they pass through the noren curtain entrance and a walkway to the main front lobby. Hot spring baths and contemporary Japanese décor serves as a meditative break from the city. The emphasis is on nature, relaxation, and fully detaching oneself from the outside world.

Where is it? Situated on a busy street corner, the elegantly designed hot spring hotel is set in a contemporary building that is a minute’s walk from the lush Botanical Garden of the Hokkaido University, 8 minutes away by foot from Odori subway station, about 13 minutes on foot from JR Sapporo Station and 1 km from the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art.

Rooms The 182 spacious rooms offer flat-screen TVs, kettles and minifridges. Suites provide space for up to 4 people, with traditional decor including tatami floors, futons, and traditional short-legged dining tables with cushions. The hotel’s spacious rooms and suites, each have wide windows that brighten up the rooms with plenty of natural light, and panoramic views of the lush gardens and surrounding mountains. I stayed in the Twin High Floor Room, which sprawled over 24 sq m. There are two comfortable beds with feathery soft pillows made for a relaxing night’s sleep. Other amenities included a walk-in shower booth.

Food and Drink The hotel’s restaurant is named Kakatojo Sapporo, and is famous for a variety of culinary delights native to Hokkaido, prepared with the freshest ingredients. Guests can dine on specialty dishes like GenshiYaki, that is exquisitely grilled on a charcoal furnace. For breakfast, guests can indulge in authentic Japanese fare, including seasonal fish sashimi and hokke hitsu-mabushi, which is chopped mackerel on rice. I had a hearty breakfast of grated radish with salmon roe, smoky potato salad, chicken sauteed with finely chopped green onion, and dashimaki tamago.

Leisure The hotel features communal indoor and outdoor baths consisting of natural hot spring water. Other amenities include a sauna. Since ancient times, Onsen, or hot springs, have been an irreplaceable part of Japanese culture, used to heal and rejuvenate the body and mind. In Onsen Ryokan Yuen Sapporo, guests can unwind in the Karurusu Onsen hot spring’s warm water in the outdoor baths made of Sapporo’s soft stone.

Verdict With a prime location, good service, stunning decor, and relaxing hot springs, Onsen Ryokan Yuen Sapporo blends comfort with practicality to cater to the needs of business and leisure travellers.

Best for: authentic Japanese breakfast
Don’t miss: Hot spring, transported from Karurusu
Price: Internet rates are upwards of ¥47,800 (30,000 INR)
Contact: Japan, 〒060-0001 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Kita 1 Jonishi, 7 Chome−6