Kanazawa, the capital of Ishikawa Prefecture, needs more than a day to fully explore. So, if you’re planning on spending a night (or three), you’ll have a tough time picking from the impressive choice of hotels, hostels and traditional ryokan (Japanese inn).
Depending on your budget and your need for personal space, your choices for accommodation will likely be between a hostel and a hotel. Before you commit, however, let us mention that hostels have changed; no longer are you in a crowded room on bunks with not even a curtain for privacy. Today, there are cool private capsule bunks kitted out with lights, safes and that much-needed private space (if you can get over the coffin-like space that is). They also offer private rooms that share a bathroom but come in at half the price of cramped business hotels.
If you’re not convinced or are looking to treat yourself, then fear not—we’ve listed the best Kanazawa hotels here too.
Perfect if you’re on a budget and don’t mind sharing a bathroom, hostels in Kanazawa are of a pretty high standard. There’s a good mix of basic and trendy, with once-luxury inclusions like tea and coffee becoming standard.
Basic but friendly: Blue Hour Hostel
Offering everything you need from a hostel, Blue Hour has comfy capsule-style dorms, bright lounge areas and plenty of space for working if you have trip planning to do. The hostel has a private women-only dorm, bathroom and work space with tea and coffee as well as co-ed version of each.
There’s no breakfast on offer, but there’s tea and coffee to get your day started. Ther are some simple kitchen amenities like a toaster oven (great if you fancy grabbing bagels the day before from the nearby T-bagel shop).
Blue Hour Hostel is very close to Kanazawa Station, so it’s the perfect choice if you have a late arrival or early departure.
Stylish capsule-dorms and coffee: Hatchi Hostel
At the other end of town (towards the Higashi Tea District) offering a more stylish hostel experience, Hatchi is the hostel version of the high-end Kumu Hotel. A mix of capsules dorms and private rooms, the hostel is new and very comfortable, with a full basement kitchen, lounge and very (very) nice showers.
The first floor of the hostel is a cafe serving light meals and drinks as well as ice cream. It’s great if you want a more social place to hang out, but it does mean no free tea and coffee. You can add a fancy limited breakfast to your stay or peruse the cafe options for lunch or dinner.
The layout is a little odd (showers reached by elevator passing through the cafe) but generally it’s a really nice spot to relax, especially if you’re here for a few days.
Family-friendly with private rooms: Sharin
Small and simple, Sharin is located in an old antique shop with two private rooms and a (very) small dorm with a handful of bunks. The reception, staffed by a friendly manager, is a small counter bar with tea and coffee available for guests. The place has been fitted out with stylish wallpaper, but still has tatami mats so you get a nice mix of old and new, and projectors for movie nights if you’re staying in.
Sharin is on a quiet street between Kanazawa Station and the sightseing center, so it’s quiet at night but not too far to walk into town (with buses not too far away either).
Top tip: Read our guide on the top 10 things to do in Kanazawa
If you’re after private bathrooms, then Kanazawa has a very nice collection of hotels with plenty springing up throughout the city.
Gadgets and saunas: Square Hotel
One of the nicest contemporary hotels in town, Square has all the gadgets and some of the most affordable prices. It’s located right on the main street, a few steps from Omicho Market and just a short stroll from Kanazawa Castle.
The ground floor features a trendy cafe. On the 13th floor, there’s a sauna and onsen, complete with dyson hairdryers and very nice face creams for when you’re done with your outdoor soak. The rooms are exaxtly what you expect from this level of hotel—a tad small but with everything you need (including a smart phone, tablet and wireless speakers).
The luxe option: The Share Hotels Kumu
Fancy and it knows it, Kumu is the well-to-do sibling of the Hatchi hostel. Tempting passersby to enjoy specialist tea at the tea salon ‘Kissa’ (heaven forbid we refer to it as a cafe) and managing to not really look like a hotel at all underneath the unusual wooden ceiling. Going for a Muji-style minimalism, the hotel is really lovely—blending traditional and contemporary design with carefully selected Japanese crafts.
It’s located just down the road from Square and is therefore as central as it gets. Just forgive its rather dull exterior.
Trendy and central: Hotel Pacific
A converted business hotel with a hipster makeover that tips it over into “basic boutique” territory, Hotel Pacific is a great find. The prices are low, the location is the best on the list and it’s got everything you need. The hotel has new (very comfortable) beds, homemade guides for food and sightseeing and very nice chai lattes to be sipped on in the small but charming first floor cafe.
While it has none of the fancier things in life—like a hot spring, a gym or a dyson hairdryer—there’s something really nice about Pacific, although the business hotel feel means it will never quite be perfect.
The traditional business hotel: Dormy Inn
If you want to be right next to the station and have a love for big hotels with TV channel pay boxes in the hallway, Dormy Inn is for you. This one also has hot springs to soak in, which is great if you go for a room that’s so budget it doesn’t have its own shower.
There is a breakfast buffet which is sometimes included in the price, but you’re so close to the train station, which is connected to shopping centers, you won’t be at a loss for food options whatever the time of day. On that note, you’re so close to ramen shop Menya Taiga it would be an actual offence not to go.
Traveler’s tip: Here are the 9 best restaurants in Kanazawa
If you want to try the traditional Japanese hotel experience, then a night in a ryokan is perfect. Sleep on a futon rolled out for you and fall asleep to the sweet smell of tatami… (it’s better than it sounds, we promise).
Traveler-friendly: Sumiyoshiya Ryokan
A popular choice thanks to the English-speaking host and affordable rates, Sumiyoshiya is actually right next door to the Pacific Hotel—so it also has a fantastic location. It has been open for 300 years, longer than almost all of the ryokan in the city, and offers the full traditional experience. You can choose dinner and breakfast, just breakfast or just the room—but we suggest at least one meal if this is your one chance at a ryokan meal. Prepare to have your dinner brought to your room, your futon rolled out and your soul generally relaxed.