Take a look at the most romantic hotels in Kyoto.
Located in the Gion Geisha District, in a former ochaya (where apprentice geiko -- women trained in a variety of arts -- lived while they studied), Shiraume is one of the best ryokan (traditional inns) in Kyoto. This upper-middle-range property offers a beautiful setting, and eight rooms with traditional features like sliding doors, tatami mats, and futons spread out on the floors. The cuisine served at Shiraume focuses on seasonal ingredients, and the traditional multi-course kaiseki dinners and Japanese breakfasts are guest favorites. Travelers looking for a traditional ryokan closer to the city center might want to compare rates with Ohanabo, a mid-range property adjacent to Higashi Honganji temple.
The 12-room, mid-range Ohanabo is a lovely, historic ryokan (inn) that provides a warm and traditional Japanese experience. Rooms are simple, spacious, and immaculate, and give guests a snapshot of Japanese life. Tatami mats are spread on floors and there are no traditional beds. Instead, guests spread futon-style mattresses for sleeping. Situated across from the popular Higashi Honganji temple and close to Kyoto's main rail hub, the hotel serves a communal breakfast and an excellent kaiseki-style dinner in guest rooms. Travelers looking for more on-site amenities could check out the Hotel Kyoto Eminence, which has a hot spring spa and a bowling alley, but lacks the charm of the Ohanabo.
Inspired by ryokans, the traditional Japanese inn common in the area, the five-pearl Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is a decidedly decadent take on what's conventionally a simple affair. Standouts include the luxurious spa with a beautiful indoor pool, a Technogym equipped fitness center, and a restaurant serving a variety of Japanese fare, from kaiseki to sushi. Another guest favorite are the activities offered here, some of which are free, like art tours and origami classes. The 134 spacious rooms (some are tatami-style) are chock-full of amenities like Nespresso machines and minibars stocked with gourmet products, plus luxurious bathrooms have TVs in mirrors, soaking tubs, and rainfall showers. Though not quite as luxurious, the Hyatt Regency Kyoto offers a more wallet-friendly alternative with comparable features, but no pool.
With a history dating back to 1818, the luxury Hiiragiya is a Japanese inn ("ryokan") located in the middle of Kyoto that takes pride in upholding traditional customs. Its 28 rooms are individually designed and most have customary rice-straw floor mats, low-rise furniture, screen walls, and sliding doors. Modern conveniences include minibars, free Wi-Fi, and contemporary bathrooms with showers and bathtubs. Kyoto-style Kaiseki meals are served in rooms or the on-site restaurant (two meals are included in rates). Travelers looking for Western amenities such as a gym or business center may be disappointed, but those who appreciate the ryokan experience will find Hiiragiya an impressive example. The nearby Hotel Granvia Kyoto offers modern luxury features at lower rates, but it lacks the history and culture.
For guests who want to experience a reasonably priced traditional Japanese inn in central Kyoto, Ryokan Shimizu is a solid choice. Rooms features tatami mats and futon mattresses spread on the floors plus private bathrooms. There’s no restaurant and breakfast isn't served, but the staff is quick with tips and directions to nearby eating spots. Two large on-site baths can be reserved for private groups, and the Higashi Honganji Temple is just a 10-minute walk away. Guests leave their keys at the hotel when going out for the day -- be aware that there's a midnight curfew, and the inn enforces a quiet policy in the later part of the evening.
Located in historic Higashiyama Shichijo and a seven-minute drive to Kyoto Station, the Hyatt Regency Kyoto is a 189-room luxury hotel with minimalistic decor inspired by traditional Japanese design. Rooms are spacious and simple with light-wood detailing and generous granite bathrooms with a large wet-room shower and a separate bathtub. There's a range of upscale amenities, including fitness classes, a spa, and a plethora of on-site restaurants offering different decor and cuisines. Guests rave about the impeccable service. Travelers looking for a similarly luxurious hotel closer to Kyoto Station should try the Hotel Granvia Kyoto.
The charming, mid-range Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura presents itself as a classic Japanese inn. And its 20 rooms are divided: Eight Western-style guest rooms have standard beds, tables, and chairs, while 12 Japanese-style rooms have traditional tatami straw mat floors and futon-type mattresses. Some rooms have double doors opening to small Japanese rock gardens, and others have kitchenettes. Located in a residential area between the Higashi Honganji and Nishi Honganshi temple complexes, the hotel is within an 11-minute walk of the subway. Travelers might want to also consider the nearby Karaku, another Japanese-style inn with an “onsen" -- a traditional communal bath -- which has similar rates.
Fusing traditional features with contemporary updates, the mid-range, 24-room Watazen hotel allows tourists to experience a traditional Japanese inn (or ryokan) without feeling completely out of their element. An indoor public bath (onsen), rooms with tatami mats and futons, and authentic Japanese-style dining options are available, while free Wi-F, in-room showers, and on-site laundry are convenient modern comforts. The hotel’s downtown location is also convenient for accessing Kyoto’s major attractions on foot or by public transport -- Nishiki Market is a three-minute walk away. For a more conventional property, the Hotel Sunroute Kyoto is closer to Kyoto Station and has cheaper rates, but no public bath.
The 172-room upper-middle-range Royal Park Hotel is located in the heart of Kyoto within walking distance of popular attractions, restaurants, and public transportation. There's eye-catching art and design throughout the hotel, and a simple elegance to its common areas. Rooms are typically small, but modern and fresh, with mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs. The on-site restaurant offers Japanese and western fare, and the bar is a hip place for a drink. There's a floor for women only, an on-site laundry room, and a room for smokers. As an alternative, the Almont Hotel Kyoto has similar amenities with the addition of a communal bath and a library.
Hotel Granvia Kyoto gains its four-pearl status from its sheer size with 596 rooms and 11 restaurants and bars. It’s not truly luxurious, but it generally features a modern design. Rooms feature mini-fridges and espresso makers, and the bathrooms are quite spacious. Though leisure activities like an indoor pool and gym are attractive, they’re associated with a fee, as are most other amenities here such as a hot and cold breakfast. A location inside the JR Kyoto Station still draws mostly couples who like to be connected to the metro, shopping mall, and museum in the station. For slightly higher rates, it’s worth comparing the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel which doesn’t bother guests with pesky fees for their gym and has a spa on-site.
One of the tallest buildings in Kyoto, the 322-room Kyoto Hotel Okura offers skyline views of the city and a luxury experience that includes spacious rooms and six on-site restaurants, a baby room, as well as free Wi-Fi. The hotel's central location makes it within walking distance of Kyoto City Hall, Honnoji Temple, and Shimadzu Foundation Memorial Hall. Accommodations cater to Western expectations with designer toiletries, minibars, and coffeemakers. By comparison, the similarly priced Hotel Granvia Kyoto is larger, more modern, and includes an indoor pool and an underground shopping mall.
The 27-room, three-and-a-half-pearl Matsui Honkan Ryokan is surrounded by the buzz of Kyoto's city center, and a 15-minute walk from Gion. With attractive interiors and a good range of Western and Japanese rooms, this hotel has broad appeal. Rooms are decorated in a modernized traditional Japanese style. Clever additions like outdoor gardens in premium rooms and separate lounge areas in others set the hotel apart from its competition. Attracting couples and families on sightseeing holidays, this hotel has a good selection of facilities including a souvenir shop and an onsen, offering a relaxing alternative to city sightseeing. While there is no on-site restaurant, daytime meals can be ordered via room service. Travelers looking for a four-pearl hotel with varied dining options might try the Kyoto Hotel Okura.
This upper-middle-range hotel, part of the worldwide Jal hotel chain, offers upscale accommodations in a central location near Shijo-karasuma subway station. The 216 rooms, which range from Standard to Princess Suites, are spacious, especially for Japan, and are more in the style of a European hotel, though the decor could use some updating. The five on-site restaurants include a teppanyaki grill, where food is cooked at the table, and the Amber Court serves a sumptuous buffet breakfast, but the wait for a table can be long. The similarly priced Kyoto Hotel Okura has more modern decor, and fitness facilities.
Part of a small chain of hotels throughout Japan themed around European cities, the centrally located, upper-middle-range Hotel Monterey Kyoto combines elements of Kyoto style with the tradition of Great Britain, Edinburgh in particular, right down to the Scotch-plaid carpeting in the Cafe & Bar. The over-the-top replica of an Upper Chelsea wedding chapel verges on kitschy, though. The 327 rooms range from Standard Singles, which can feel cramped, to Deluxe Corner Twins and Family Rooms with sitting areas. The hotel has two restaurants -- the French Escale and the Japanese-focused Zuientei, plus the Cafe & Bar, designed to mimic a "stately" home. Access to the top-floor spa, with spring-water filled baths, comes with a fee, as does the Japanese- and Western-style breakfast buffet.
Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo is a traditional Japanese-style inn, or “ryokan," located in a quiet neighborhood outside Kyoto city center. This three-and-a-half pearl property, with 18 rooms, has a lovely rustic atmosphere, and the traditional guest rooms, lined with woven straw tatami floor mats, overlook a beautiful Japanese rock garden. In keeping with the usual ryokan setup, this property has an on-site restaurant and a traditional public bath (“onsen"). Guest rooms vary in size, and not all rooms have their own private bathrooms, and some rooms are a bit worn and could use an update. Travelers may want to also check out ryokan IZUYASU, another traditional Japanese-style inn, which was stylishly refurbished in 2013, and is in the city center.