Japan’s timeless city and cultural capital is home to age-old ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) and upscale hotels with onsen (hot springs).
Old-world Kyoto offers visitors to Japan a fantastic selection of places to stay, from local hostels that specialise in daily events and cultural classes to history-rich ryokan with tatami-mat floors and luxury hotels that cater to business and pleasure travellers alike. Every traveller is catered for in Japan’s cultural capital, a city where classic art and architecture meet modern design and convenience. When you’re not visiting some of the city’s 2,000 Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, here are the hotels to worship.
The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo
Courtesy of The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo / Expedia
Near the edge of the Kamo River, which passes through the heart of Kyoto, the Royal Park Hotel is a spacious and modern retreat providing a comfortable place to stay. It has a wide selection of room choices that cater to every guest – from standard double rooms to corner deluxe suites. Amenities include Monsieur Itoh, the on-site restaurant that serves up classic Western dishes.
Mosaic Hostel Kyoto is a local option that emphasises bringing together all people into one friendly community. Daily events, ranging from cultural workshops to jam sessions and parties where you can get to know your fellow travellers and your hosts, keep your stay very interesting. Whether you prefer coffee in the day or beers at night, the on-site cafe-bar is a welcoming space for all.
Feeding off the traditional Edo vibe and aesthetics of Japan’s old capital, Motonago is an authentic ryokan in Kyoto’s Higashiyama District that takes you back in time through its design. This interior incorporates shoji screens, tatami mats, minimalist use of space and Japanese wood-built baths. It also offers quality multi-course kaiseki cuisine that skips through sashimi, tempura and grilled fish.
The Westin Miyako Kyoto is a modern hotel in every sense. As it’s a part of the Marriott group, a certain level of quality and comfort is guaranteed. The hotel has a fitness centre and a pool to be enjoyed to your heart’s content. However, the biggest highlight is the hotel’s spa, which promotes health and wellness through traditional Japanese massage and aromatherapy treatments. The Westin also boasts outstanding French cuisine if you’re craving a palate cleanser after indulging in all that Japan has to offer.
A reflection of the history and beauty of Kyoto itself, hachi x offsait lies inside a century-old city townhouse. The emphasis on wood furnishings, soft lighting and quiet use of space creates a soothing atmosphere that will take you back to a slower, calmer time. The renovated guesthouse is now owned by two friends, one of whom came to Japan from Germany to study and stayed to put all of his energy into this beautiful Kyoto retreat.
This grand and elegant hotel in central Kyoto caters to guests of every kind and can host events and meetings large and small. As a guest, you’ll have access to an indoor pool and a comfortable lounge area, along with your pick of several dining options, including Japanese and European cuisines. There’s also a private dining area available.
The Karasuma Kyoto Hotel prioritises comfort and good food over everything else. It has two restaurants: Toh-Lee specialises in authentic Chinese cuisine, while Irifune serves outstanding Japanese delicacies. After dinner, there’s a beautifully lit and decorated bar perfect for a nightcap. The hotel also has a range of options for meetings and events if you’re in Kyoto for a business trip or a party.
The Ace Hotel is one of Kyoto’s trump cards. The rooms here are decorated in a modern style with a spectrum of colours and shapes brightening every space. To make every stay unique, the hotel hosts frequent, fun events, from happy hour to taco Tuesdays. And, if you’ve chosen Kyoto as your wedding destination, Ace can cater to that as well.
Ryokan Sumiya Kiho-an offers a true Japanese hotel experience, through its aesthetics and design and its on-site onsen facilities. Designed from the ground up as an authentic Japanese ryokan, this hotel is characterised by shoji screens, tatami mats and wood panelling. However, its baths, surrounded by a natural backdrop of rocks and trees, are its largest draw.
Standing out in a busy crowd of unique hostels and luxury guesthouses, Zen Kyoto Apartment Hotel sets itself apart by providing a true home-from-home experience. Each fully equipped and spacious apartment-style room has a lounge area, a TV and a traditional Japanese dining area. The hotel wants you to find complete comfort in its homespun atmosphere.