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THE 20 BEST RYOKANS IN KYOTO
Article | October 4th, 2021 | Anne
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THE 20 BEST RYOKANS IN KYOTO TO RELAX AND RECUPERATE FOR YOUR VACATION

Kyoto is an ancient capital of Japan that is rich in culture, tradition, and history. It is a popular tourist destination with plenty of temples, shrines, museums, art galleries, restaurants, and gardens to explore. The mountains, forests, lakes, and other landscapes also look simply delightful.

The history of Kyoto can be felt throughout the architecture and buildings of the area. It was the main center for the Emperor for thousands of years, which is why it is quite the cultural center. It has 17 beautiful landmarks that have been marked as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

If you want to go to relax and recuperate while exploring a beautiful city, Kyoto is the best place for a vacation. The best ryokans in Kyoto are listed below that will offer you a delightful and welcoming place to stay.

1. HIIRAGIYA

The Hiiragiya Hotel in Kyoto was launched in 1818 and is known as one of the most beloved traditional inns in the country. The same family has owned it for six generations and has been the host for many famous artists, writers, scientists, politicians, and even Imperial family members. It has been considered a second home for Nobel Prize winner novelists Junichiro Tanizaki and Yasunari Kawabata.

The room designs take inspiration from the Japanese architecture styles of the Edo and Showa periods. You can feel the ancient traditions of Kyoto city in their rooms. Every room has a different design that also uses modern, sophisticated styles mixed in with the traditional Japanese designs. It is known for its hospitality spirit that carries the tradition of Hiiragiya’s hotel. Most of the rooms have a view of the calming garden outside. You can also take advantage of the relaxing Japanese Umbrella Pine baths called Ko-Yamaki in all the rooms.

There are plenty of amenities that can give you comfort like no other. The large public bath is inspired by the communal baths that are a huge part of Japanese tradition. Some of the finest chefs in Kyoto prepare the meals at the hotel. You will absolutely love the Kaiseki cuisine and fresh sashimi dishes.

2. KYOKOYADO MUROMACHI YUTONE

The KyokoyadoMuromachiYutone is built on Muromachi Street that was built in the Muromachi period. This historical street is the best place for a townhouse inn since it offers a calm ambiance. It is near many popular World Heritage Sites that you can explore at ease, like the Fushimi Inari, Kinkakuji temple, Sembon Torii, Sanjusangendo, and the Kiyomizu-Dera temple.

The Ryokan has 7 guest rooms that come with their own cypress baths. You can also sit back and relax or do some work in the library lounge. You will be able to take in the beautiful landscape no matter what season you come in; the lush green scenery during the summer, beautiful cherry blossoms during spring, the snowy landscapes during winter, and the red leaves during autumn can look really enchanting.

All the meals feature the seasonal vegetables grown in Kyoto with authentic Kaiseki cuisine. Head Chef Yamada has devoted his life to ensuring that the cuisine of Kyoto is fully realized in each dish. You will absolutely love each plate of food.

3. NAZUNA KYOTO NIJO-JO

The Nazuna Kyoto Nijo-jo hotel is built near the Nijo Castle. The Ryokan has a tea theme built into the Kyomachiya townhouse that offers Japanese authenticity with the modern comforts you need to relax. They have five suites that all have their own themes based on different teas. Every room has a semi-open-air/private open-air bath too. You can take advantage of the Simmons beds, a famous local bedding marker in Kyoto, for a comforting night of sleep.

If you are an art lover, you will absolutely love your stay in this Ryokan. The rooms feature unique collections of décor and antiques with artwork that is constantly changing; all local artisans are featured in the hotel. The artwork is also available for purchase, so you can buy pieces you get attached to.

They offer an Irori-style breakfast that captures the different seasons of Japan with delicious meals. You can also take advantage of the tea oil treatments at their spa for a relaxing afternoon. There are also different activities and temple tours at Nazuna. The Nijo Castle and Imperial Palace, as well as Central Kyoto, are quite nearby too.

4. MATSUI HONKAN

The Matsui Honkan hotel has a total of 27 rooms that offer amazing hospitality and comfort. The hotel centers around the idea of Japanese harmony. Every room in the hotel has a character and design of its own that can be wonderful for frequent guests who want something new each time. There is also an accessible room design for guests that use wheelchairs. Each room has its own electric kettle, free drinking water, bathroom amenities, Yukata cloths, and humid air purifier.

The hotel has stores, a large public bath, facial treatments, and more where you feel comforted by the Japanese hospitality of the staff. The cuisine in the restaurant is inspired by the Kaiseki cuisine, the same cuisine that was declared by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. The emphasis of each dish is on delicious seasonal vegetables with servings of thinly sliced beef called Sukiyaki.

5. KYOKOYADO YASAKA YUTONE

The Kyokoyado Yasaka Yutone hotel is a cozy inn that is situated near many popular Kyoto attractions. If you want to experience the culture of the city, you have come to the right place. It is built on the old-time streets where you can feel the thousands of years of history. Nearby places include the Fushimi Inari, Kinkakuji temple, Sembon Torii, Sanjusangendo, and the Kiyomizu-Dera temples.

It offers seven different rooms with their own styles inspired by the different Kyoto designs. All the rooms are en-suite with a relaxing Cypress bathtub where you can let go of all your stress and worries. The aroma of the cypress wood is known to allow users to relax completely.

6. SUMIYA RYOKAN KYOTO

The Sumiya Ryokan hotel is one of the best ryokans in Kyoto, where you can experience true Japanese traditions. They offer a Kyoto-style dinner with multiple courses, each better than the one before. Every dish is prepared fresh with seasonal ingredients from local markets. There are also regular tea ceremonies where you can enjoy a soothing cup of tea by the sunken hearth.

The traditional inn was opened a century ago and has been managed by three generations of the same family. It is set in the heart of the sightseeing district near the Kitomizu Temple, the Yasaka Shrine, and the Gion district. It has 23 rooms with 18 that have their own private bathroom. The building has a Sukiya architectural design with a soothing Japanese garden and tea ceremony rooms.

7. KAMISHICHIKEN OKU

The Kamishichiken Oku hotel has a garden, bar, and terrace where you can relax and get fresh air. It offers free WiFi to all its guests with a 24-hour reception desk too. If you are traveling for work, there is also a photocopier and fax machine that you can use too. All the rooms have a private bathroom with free toiletries, a hairdryer, and a bidet. The rooms also offer a kettle, desk, a flat-screen TV, satellite channels, and air conditioning. The hotel also offers a continental breakfast that will leave you feeling prepared for a day of exploring.

8. LUXURY HOTEL SOWAKA

The meaning of the word Sowaka comes from a Sanskrit word that means wellbeing or happiness. It was commonly used by Buddhist sutras as a word for blessing in the temples in Kyoto. It is known for transporting every guest into a sea of calmness as soon as they enter the premises. It has 23 rooms that are designed with different themes where you can hear the gentle breeze blowing through the hotel’s tranquil courtyard.

It is built in the Gion and Yasaka neighborhoods that are quite charming districts. The luxury of the hotel fuses well with nostalgia around the area. The hotel offers excellent food at its La BombanceGion hotel that is overseen by the award-winning branch in Tokyo. It is built on the Annex’s first floor and has a Michelin star winner in charge of the menu and ambiance. Local ingredients are used with seasonal menus that ensure delicious food. Only guests can have breakfast at the hotel while it is open for the public for lunch and dinner.

There are many exclusive experiences of Kyoto that you can only get at the Sowaka hotel. You can get tours of temples and shrines that aren’t usually open to the public with unique hands-on cultural activities. They also have Zazen meditation classes, which is a form of Japanese meditation practiced by Zen priests and Buddhist monks. It is led by monks from the local district, where you can truly relax.

While you have access to the hustle-bustle of the ancient capital of Japan with beautiful shrines, temples, and charming alleyways, you can also find pockets of calm at the hotel. It is also close to UNESCO heritage sites like the Kiyomizudera Temple that is built on a hill overlooking the entire city. The Kodaiji Temple is also perfect for morning strolls. Hanamikoji-dori Street is a geisha district that has quite a happening nightlife too.

9. SAKA HOTEL KYOTO

The Saka Hotel of Kyoto is the perfect place to find comfort and relaxation. You will be able to hear the calming breeze that passes through the tall grass garden at the hotel. It is built near the bustling area of Higashiyama but is on its own peaceful island where you can get away from the hustle-bustle of life. It is on an iconic street steeped in the culture and history of thousands of years.

It offers travelers the perfect place to call home while they are on vacation in Kyoto. It has 38 guest rooms that offer a blend of earthy tones and wooden accents that feel warm. It has open-air baths where you can sink into the hot water with terraces that look out to the Kyoto city view. The tatami mats encourage our guests to take off their shoes and really consider the room their home. You can enjoy a soothing bath in the open-air tub with a Fushimi sake bottle to add to your water for supple and soft skin.

They also have a special bath that you can book at a private request that is a 3m tub suited to taking away all the stress from the body. The water for the bath changes according to the season – lovely iris, fragrant pine, and yuzu citrus depending on the season.

The famous Dining KiyomizuSaryo restaurant offers the best ingredients from the Miketsukuni Sea and fields. Each dish is simply innovative, showcasing the best of Japanese cooking. With fine local sake drinks and a huge variety of menu, you will definitely have some memorable meals at the Saka Hotel.

10. YOSHIKAWA RYOKAN

Yoshikawa Ryokan is known for its famous Kyoto hospitality. It is especially known for its restaurant that serves a multi-course dinner with Tempura dishes. Sitting comfortably in the restaurant with tatami mats with a view of a calming garden can be quite a wonderful experience. The use of seasonal ingredients from the local markets can make the meal quite delicious.

The hotel has 8 guest rooms that all have their own unique designs. If you want to have a grand vacation, you can even reserve the whole inn for up to 20 people. It can be a wonderful place to host an event.

11. NANZENJI SANDO KIKUSUI

The NanzenjiSandoKikusui hotel offers a wonderful garden experience that requires all five senses to fully experience. The garden was designed by Jihei Ogawa, who is a famous landscaper in Japan. It was launched 60 years but has gone through some changes from that time as it passed through the different generations. You will be able to enjoy a peaceful stay at the hotel as well as indulge in some culinary delights from their restaurant.

The restaurant is run by a three-time Michelin star winner of Japanese cuisine called Hideaki Matsuo. He is known for creating a wonderful blend of modern and traditional Japanese dishes in Kashiwaya style. The food is intended to showcase each season in its full glory. You will love the Western-Kyoto style of food that uses fresh ingredients from the local markets.

The inn is quite small with only five rooms. Each room has its own theme that is suited to the garden view you get from the room. Each room offers an amazing ambiance in a warm, modern, and high-quality space that incorporates Japanese aesthetics too. You will be completely reborn and refreshed once you stay at the hotel. The rooms are quite comfortable since you can adjust the light to your own preferences too. The rooms have a bathtub made with Hinoki Cypress and Towada stone that is known for taking away all the stress from the body.

12. SEIKORO

At Seikoro ryokan, you will find warm-hearted staff, fine rooms, Kyoto traditions, and delicious food, making it one of the best ryokans in Kyoto. The accommodations have a Japanese style that offers comfort and tradition. There is also a soothing wooden public bath where you can wash away all your worries. Their spa services are known for healing massages that can take away tension from your body. If you are traveling for work, you will find the free WiFi access quite a great feature.

The guestrooms have plenty of amenities such as a flat-screen TV and ironing facilities. You also have access to a private bathroom with a relaxing bathtub and free toiletries. The hotel also has a gift shop and luggage storage. They service Western and Japanese breakfast that will get you ready for a whole day of exploring. You will love the authentic Japanese meals served in their restaurant.

The Ryokan is near the Sanjusangen-do Temple, National Museum, Shichijo Train Station, and Kiyomizu-Dera Temple.

13. YUZUYA RYOKAN

The Yuzuya Ryokan has 8 rooms where you can truly relax. It offers a faint calming scent of Yuzu that can help you feel completely at ease. The smell of the wildflowers offers comfort, while the modern luxuries at the hotel can make you feel right at home.

The hotel is inspired by buildings on mountains during the time when Kyoto was the old imperial capital. The hotel offers silence even in the hustle-bustle of the Gion district. The first floor has a famous rice shop called Ichishini that overlooks a garden. You will find amazing seasonal dishes that are unique to Kyoto and Japan, such as yuzu porridge and hot pot. Only ingredients from the local area are used for the meals.

14. GION HATANAKA

The GionHatanaka hotel is set in the scenic Gion district and has amazing features to completely turn around your vacation. It has a zen garden where you can relax and take in the fresh air. The spacious public bath incorporates aromatherapy to soothe your muscles and take away tension. The traditional accommodation inspired by Japanese architecture and design can be great for guests too.

For any travelers who are on a trip for work, the free WiFi feature can be a good call. The hotel also offers a multi-course Kaiseki dinner option too where you can get fresh, seasonal local dishes of seafood too. You will find that the restaurant takes pride in developing rich food presented as an art form in itself.

The large windows in the rooms bring in plenty of natural light, and the spacious rooms feel comfortable to relax in. amenities like a separate seating area, a flat-screen TV, and an en-suite bathroom as well. You can also get relaxing massages right in the room and even a Japanese Geisha dance performance with advanced reservation. They even have special Kyoto tours that will be great for exploring the city. The hotel is just a few minutes away from Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu-Dera Temple.

15. FUFU KYOTO

The Fufu Hotel in Kyoto hasn’t changed a lot from ancient times to modern since the traditions of the old still linger throughout the hotel. Even in the garden, you can feel the gentle breeze that is carried through the Higashiyama district. The sound of the running water, the natural light through the window, and the culture embedded in the hotel is a wonderful experience.

The rooms at the hotel each come with their own cypress natural hot spring bath that relaxes the body completely. It is a really soothing experience that will allow you to start your vacation the right way. The cherry blossoms in the garden and the Sencha tea of Kyoto offer the perfect start to any day.

The delicate dishes in the Fufu hotel that use seasonal and local ingredients. The Ihoto restaurant showcases the unique flavors of Kyoto but also takes inspiration from Japanese cuisines from all over the country. The Ihoto Restaurant also offers multi-course meals with charcoal cooking like hot pots, sashimi, miso, Antojiru soups, and Kyoto vegetables.

16. TAWARAYA

Tawaraya is truly one of the best ryokans in Kyoto, or arguably, the best in all of Japan. Its guest list includes political leaders and celebrities from across the globe because it truly manages to get every small detail right. Each room is decorated impeccably in a way that celebrates the spare simplicity of the wabi-sabi style. Every item in the room is intentional and chosen with care.

For breakfast, you have the choice between Japanese or Western breakfasts. The best part is that the guest rooms all have their own private gardens for a few. You will be able to truly relax and contemplate in your own personal Japanese garden in the fresh air of Kyoto. The staff is also renowned for knowing what you want or need even before you do. It’s definitely a unique world in Kyoto that guests often don’t feel like leaving.

Unlike the others on this list, Tawaraya doesn’t have a website for booking, so reservations have to be made over the phone. But we recommend it – the elegant quality of this inn makes a call well worth it!

17. HOSHINOYA KYOTO

The Hoshinoya hotel in Kyoto offers profound tranquility since it is built on a flowing river. You enter the hotel via a boat that starts off your vacation pleasantly. The soothing breeze, the flying Kingfisher birds, and calm water can cleanse your body and mind no matter what season you visit in. The scenery of beautiful hills and forests around the Oi River, as well as the soothing Japanese garden of the hotel, look aesthetically perfect.

The building was transformed into a cozy inn where you can get contemporary comforts and sophisticated convenience. The woodwork in the hotel was crafted by local Kyoto artisans. The delicate golden patterns and Karakami wallpaper in the guest rooms are super welcoming. The traditional sliding doors of Shoji paper let in natural light. The traditional designs of Kyoto and quiet elegance make the guest rooms quite comfortable.

The Kyoto style of the cuisine offered at the hotel uses fresh, seasonal ingredients. While each plate has a distinctly Japanese flavor, their presentation is Western. The meals are planned to reflect the seasons, which you will definitely notice with each bite.

18. YOSHIDA SANSO

The Yoshida Sanso hotel’s main house is built inspired by the Shoin classic style of architecture. The finest workmanship and materials were painstakingly used to make sure that all the elegant details of the historical style are preserved. This was done while ensuring that modern amenities and comforts are also included in the design of the hotel for the convenience of the guests.

The talented chefs are dedicated to ensuring that the fine art of Kaiseki Kyoto cuisine is showcased in every meal. The chefs only use seasonal fresh ingredients that create the perfect dish to celebrate the natural essence of each ingredient. The Café Shinkokan was built in the 1930s as part of Prince Higashi-Fushimi’s imperial villa. It has been renovated as an elegant café to dine in.

You will be able to enjoy truly amazing views of Mt. Daimonji, Mt. Hiei, and the Higashiyama mountains. The fresh air and surrounding greenery is the perfect backdrop for a vacation, reunions, concerts, weddings, and seminars. The best part for many guests is enjoying fresh coffee for breakfast while looking at the view from the Shinkokan Café.

19. GARDEN RYOKAN YACHIYO

The Garden Ryokan Yochiyo was built in the Nanzenji Meiji district of period villas. It is in quite a convenient part of Kyoto near the attractions and subway stations. A lot of villas of millionaires and politicians were made in the district during the Meiji period. The area is famous for gardens since many were built here with innovative designs. From the calming Lake Biwa to Mount Higashiyama, the landscape is truly great.

In this Ryokan, you will be able to face the comforts of modern life with the simplicity of Japanese traditions. You won’t find a similar service anywhere else in Japan. The garden hotel is made near the Nanzenji Temple, which you can see from the Kyoto hotel’s garden too. The seasonal flowers and the landscape of the garden look simply brilliant and offer a calming environment.

The accommodations are made in two buildings called the Honkan and the Bekkan Annex. There is also the Honkan restaurant where you can have delicious meals with a beautiful Japanese garden and mountains as a view. The Kaiseki cuisine is based on light meals that will leave you feeling refreshed and delighted. While it is inspired by the simple meals of old times, it has been perfected by the chefs at the restaurant with modern techniques. As a vegetarian-inspired restaurant, vegans will absolutely love their food.

20. UGENTA

The Ugenta hotel has two rooms only, which makes it quite the exclusive hotel. One room has a modern design while the other has a traditional Japanese style. It is quite a fine place to stay in as well as to experience Kyoto. They have outdoor and indoor baths that use Japanese hot spring water, which truly soothes the soul and the body. The design of the hotel and the delicious food offered at the hotel is also amazing. It is built near landmarks like the Koun-ji Temple, Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts Fureaikan, Kyoto National Museum, Namikawa Yasuyuki Sippo Memorial Museum, and Fushimi Inari Shrine, which draws visitors from all over the world.

IN CONCLUSION

Kyoto is a beautiful city with wonderful landscapes, a great nightlife, and calm sceneries. It is the best place to relax and recuperate so that you can get back from vacation feeling completely ready to take on the world. Any of the 20 best ryokans in Kyoto listed above will offer you a comfortable sanctuary while you are traveling and exploring the city. They are all ideal combinations of traditional and modern comforts; you will be able to experience convenience, style, and simplicity all at once for an unforgettable experience.


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