9 Kyoto Hotels for Your Next Japan Getaway

Whether you’re seeking a modern take on a ryokan or a full-blown resort, you’ll find plenty of great hotels in Kyoto.

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Aman Kyoto Japan
Photo: Courtesy of AMAN

Japan’s former ancient capital, Kyoto has retained its status as the cultural destination in the country. One of Japan’s most-visited cities, it’s home to beautiful gardens and more than a thousand Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. The city is also revered for its cuisine; kaiseki, a traditional multi-course meal that celebrates seasonal ingredients, reigns supreme here. Just as notable are Kyoto’s accommodations. With intimate boutique hotels, sprawling resorts, and both Japanese and international brands, there’s something for every type of traveler. To help you choose, here are nine of the best hotels to book for a trip to Kyoto.

Best Kyoto Hotels in 2022

Editor’s Pick: The Shinmonzen

The Shinmonzen Kyoto Japan

Ben Richards

Why We Chose It

This intimate all-suite hotel has a prime location and delivers impeccable service.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary minibar, Dyson hair dryer, transfers to/from Kyoto Station

Hotel Description

A recent addition to Kyoto’s hotel scene, The Shinmonzen is one of the finest properties in the city. Located on a quiet street in Gion, it’s perfectly positioned for exploring popular attractions like Nishiki Market and the atmospheric streets Hanamikoji-dori, Ninenzaka, and Pontocho Alley. Designed by world-renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando, the hotel blends right in with the surrounding architecture. Inside, you’ll find photographs of Ando’s work and a collection of contemporary art — appropriate, given that the eponymous road The Shinmonzen sits on is known as “the street of the artists.” The immediate neighborhood is home to numerous galleries, and the hotel has built relationships with several of them and can help guests gain access.

Accommodations here are spectacular. The nine individually designed suites feature soothing color palettes, expansive marble bathrooms stocked with exclusive organic bath amenities, balconies overlooking the Shirakawa River, and a complimentary minibar stocked with locally made snacks and beverages. Some have the added bonus of a hinoki cypress tub. A restaurant by the celebrated chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is slated to open in early 2023, but for now, guests should request an alfresco table at the Riverside Lounge to revel in the sound of a calming stream.

Sowaka

SOWAKA Hotel Main Suite in Kyoto, Japan

Courtesy of SOWAKA Hotel

Why We Chose It

Sowaka offers a modern take on a traditional ryokan inn and a great location in Higashiyama Ward.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary minibar, Kazurasei skin care kits

Hotel Description

Discreetly tucked behind noren curtains, Sowaka occupies one of Kyoto’s most prized locations, just steps from Yasaka Shrine and the popular pedestrian street of Ninenzaka. Formerly a high-end restaurant, the hotel has expanded the sukiya-style building with the addition of an annex to offer both Japanese and Western-style rooms. All of the 23 accommodations at this boutique hotel have been individually designed, but expect traditional elements like tokonoma alcoves, shoji screens, tatami mats, and hinoki cypress tubs. The rooms in the historic building are particularly spectacular, boasting plenty of intricate woodwork and, in some, views of the interior gardens.

In between explorations of Kyoto, relax in the lobby lounge or on the rooftop balcony for views of the neighborhood, sample some sake at the four-seat bar, and definitely make dinner reservations at the on-site restaurant, La Bombance Gion. A cavernous space with black walls and high ceilings, it’s a stark contrast to the rest of the hotel aesthetically. Chefs here whip up an innovative seasonal menu with a focus on local ingredients.

Aman Kyoto

Aman Kyoto, Japan
Courtesy of AMAN

Why We Chose It

Aman Kyoto is a secluded retreat that’s unlike any other resort in the city.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Indoor and outdoor onsen (hot spring) facilities, daily outdoor yoga from mid-May to September, cultural experiences including painting lessons and ikebana

Hotel Description

Aman Kyoto sprawls across 79 acres in northern Kyoto. It’s within walking distance of Kinkaku-ji, or Golden Pavilion, but otherwise, the resort feels worlds away from the city’s tourist traffic. Upon arriving, you’ll be swept away by the lush garden filled with cedar, camellia, and maple trees and a flowing stream that sets the stage for a Zen stay. Despite the property’s size, there are just 26 accommodations, divided between six guest pavilions. The minimalist rooms are inspired by traditional ryokans and feature familiar elements like tokonoma alcoves, tatami mat floors, and ofuro tubs made from hinoki cypress wood. The floor-to-ceiling windows frame the forest and serve as a daily reminder that you’re in a magical place.

In lieu of a pool, the property offers indoor and outdoor onsen facilities. The healing mineral waters are the perfect way to kick off your day, prepare for a treatment at the spa, or end your night after a day of exploring. And if you decide to dine on-property, you’ll find a mix of local and Western cuisine at The Living Pavilion, while venerated chef Shinichiro Takagi serves an ever-changing kaiseki menu at Taka-An.

Park Hyatt Kyoto

Park Hyatt Kyoto Japan Exterior

Courtesy of Hyatt

Why We Chose It

Park Hyatt Kyoto is a new hotel that skillfully combines tradition with modernity.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Digital check-in, bicycle rentals, spa with sauna and steam rooms

Hotel Description

Stacked on a hill at the northern end of Ninenzaka Street, the Park Hyatt Kyoto affords panoramic views of Higashiyama Ward. Despite being at the doorstep of popular tourist sites, once you’re inside you’ll be whisked away to a calming atmosphere thanks to landscaped garden paths. Sumptuous rooms provide a pleasant mix of tradition and modernity; you’ll find tamo (Japanese ash) walls, contemporary artwork, and beautiful marble bathrooms with separate tubs. Some rooms are even furnished with a garden terrace. Each of the accommodations receives plenty of natural light, courtesy of picture windows that overlook either the lush grounds or Higashiyama’s tiled rooftops.

Even though there are just 70 rooms at the hotel, there are five food and beverage outlets to choose from. The casual Kyoto Bistro offers a mix of Japanese and international cuisine, while in The Living Room lounge, guests can partake in a five-course afternoon tea session by the fireplace. Over at Yasaka, enjoy teppanyaki that’s fused with French techniques, and don’t miss the kaiseki at the Michelin-starred Kyoyamato. Lastly, if you’re in the mood for a nightcap, Kohaku bar is the perfect place to grab a drink while taking in the views of Yasaka Pagoda.

Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

Four Seasons Kyoto

Ken Seet / Four Seasons

Why We Chose It

Guests can expect luxurious modern accommodations in an ethereal setting at Four Seasons’ Kyoto outpost.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Indoor pool; 24-hour fitness center; children’s amenities including Le Petit Prince toiletries, mini bathrobes, and cribs

Hotel Description

Tucked away at the back of this luxurious property is an 800-year-old pond garden that’s home to cherry trees, carp, turtles, herons, a pagoda, and a Jizo statue said to have been there since the Edo period. Two of the hotel’s restaurants capitalize on this serene space — Brasserie has a terrace for alfresco dining, while Fuju serves Japanese sweets, matcha, sake, and champagne in a lounge overlooking the pond. Guests can also indulge in an omakase experience at the intimate Sushi Wakon, where fresh fish are flown in daily from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market.

Accommodations at the Four Seasons have thoughtful details like washi paper lamps, lacquerware, and marble bathrooms. If you can, book a Four Seasons Room, which is outfitted with a balcony and provides garden views. In keeping with the Four Seasons brand, the hotel offers plenty for families. All accommodations are furnished with a sofa bed, and Residential Suites are equipped with full kitchens. The staff is also more than happy to deliver items like cribs and bottle sterilizers upon request. Kids can spend time in the playroom, splash around the 65-foot indoor pool, or feed the koi fish at the pond garden.

Shinsho-an

Shinsho-an Kyoto Japan Interior

Courtesy of Shinsho-An

Why We Chose It

With just four suites, Shinsho-an feels more like a private home than a hotel.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Complimentary breakfast, Itrim skin care kits, smart TVs

Hotel Description

Set on a quiet residential street in the Okazaki neighborhood, Shinsho-an exudes exclusivity. In fact, most guests only obtain a reservation by referral. However, if you’re working with a bespoke travel company like Okuni or Bear Luxe to plan your Japan trip, they can help get you in. And once you’ve secured a booking and set foot inside the gated walls, you’ll instantly be enamored.

A narrow walkway leads to two buildings connected by a manicured garden. The first structure, newly built by Kyoto-based architect Yoshiaki Nakamura, houses four individually designed suites. The accommodations are characterized by a mix of local timber, shoji screens on windows, tokonoma alcoves, seasonal florals, modern furniture, and soaking tubs in spacious bathrooms. Tucked away at the back of the first floor is Shinsho-an’s restaurant, Higashiyama Ogata. Helmed by chef Toshiro Ogata, it’s an intimate experience, with masterfully crafted dishes that highlight seasonal ingredients. The second building was originally constructed by the acclaimed carpenter Sotoji Nakamura, Yoshiaki’s father, and is lauded for its exemplary sukiya-style architecture. Dubbed Hanare, it has been carefully restored by Yoshiaki.

Hoshinoya Kyoto

Hoshinoya Kyoto Hotel Japan Sakura Spring Cherry Blossom
Courtesy of HOSHINOYA Kyoto

Why We Chose It

Hoshinoya Kyoto provides a modern riff on a ryokan and a picturesque riverside location.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$$

Notable Amenities

Medical insurance included with bookings for foreign guests, boat service, heated floors

Hotel Description

From the hotel’s private boat landing, guests are whisked away on a scenic boat ride along the Oi River to the elegant Hoshinoya Kyoto, in the city’s Arashiyama neighborhood. The 25 spacious guest pavilions all have unique touches, but you can expect traditional Japanese elements like shoji screens, low-lying furniture, tokonoma alcoves, tatami mats, and deep soaking tubs paired with modern comforts like heated floors and humidifiers. Large picture windows face the lush environs and a flowing stream, setting the tone for a peaceful retreat.

On the grounds, you’ll also find a Zen rock garden, a library lounge with complimentary snacks, and a restaurant serving local fare. If you decide to have breakfast on-property, morning meals can be savored in the comfort of your quarters. Once you’re ready to head out and explore Kyoto, just walk down to the dock, where your vessel awaits.

Roku Kyoto

Roku Kyoto opening in Japan
Courtesy of Roku Kyoto

Why We Chose It

This recently opened resort provides modern luxuries in a tranquil setting.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$$

Notable Amenities

Outdoor pool, complimentary self-parking, EV charging

Hotel Description

Set amid the foothills of the Takagamine mountains in northern Kyoto, this new property helps guests unwind after a long day of exploring the temple-laden city. The full-blown resort offers amenities like a spa, a 24-hour fitness center, and an outdoor thermal pool that’s open year-round, a rarity in Kyoto. When hunger strikes, head over to the hotel’s restaurant, Tenjin. Don’t miss its dinner-only Chef’s Table, where a multicourse, French-Japanese experience takes place at a U-shaped counter.

Roku Kyoto has 114 minimalist accommodations that are decorated in a neutral palette with accents of blue and burnt orange. Wall-spanning windows look out on a verdant forest, while thoughtful touches like woodblock-printed karakami paper and bespoke tea sets add a touch of local flavor. The rooms’ highlight, however, is the deep stone bathtubs. Fed by natural hot spring water, they provide private in-room onsen sessions. For a particularly spectacular experience, book a Garden Deluxe room, where the basin sits next to a window and you can enjoy the contrast of a cool breeze against the steam.

Mogana

Mogana Kyoto - Mogana White

Courtesy of Mogana

Why We Chose It

Mogana provides travelers with a design-forward stay that won’t break the bank.

Key Specs

  • Free Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Resort Fee: No
  • Room Rate: $$

Notable Amenities

Meditation room, organic Shigeta toiletries, in-room loungewear and Japanese sandals

Hotel Description

Mogana is the sort of hotel that you’d expect to find in a futuristic city like Tokyo, rather than traditional Kyoto, but that’s what sets this property apart. Outside, its plain gray facade blends in with the surrounding neighborhood, but inside its sleek confines it’s like you’ve entered a different universe. The hotel boasts bonsai trees, a meditation room, and a stunning bar with a 24-karat gold panel on the ceiling.

There are six different types of accommodations. Some have a balcony, and all boast a minimalist aesthetic, black granite tubs, ikebana arrangements, and striking tea sets. If you’re looking for the most stylish option, stay in either the Morgana White or Morgana Black room, where monochromatic spaces contrast with gardenia green walls visible through floor-to-ceiling windows. While the hotel doesn’t have a restaurant, there is a limited room service menu, as well as a breakfast that highlights seasonal ingredients from Awaji Island in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture.

Final Verdict

Whether you’re going to Kyoto to visit some of the country’s most iconic temples and shrines, savor the local cuisine, or take in its traditional aesthetic, there’s no doubt that you’ll fall in love with this city. A stay at The Shinmonzen will make the affair extra meaningful, while Sowaka and Park Hyatt Kyoto are also exceptional launchpads to popular sites. For those who’ve already ticked off most of the city’s hot spots and are in search of quieter retreats, look to properties outside the highly trafficked Higashiyama Ward, like Aman Kyoto or Hoshinoya Kyoto.

Know Before You Go

  • Kyoto is incredibly busy when cherry blossoms and fall foliage are at their peak, generally the end of March or beginning of April and mid-November, respectively. Expect high room rates during these times.
  • If you’re looking to dine at a kaiseki restaurant, make reservations well in advance. Hotel concierges are a great resource if you find that you’re not having any luck securing them on your own.
  • Be mindful of local regulations such as photography bans and etiquette like not eating while walking.

How We Chose These Hotels

We evaluated over two dozen hotels in Kyoto before settling on some of the best in the city. Notable amenities, pricing, quality of service, design, proximity to attractions, and recent openings were all taken into consideration. In determining this list, we evaluated countless customer reviews and considered whether or not the property has collected any accolades in recent years.

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