The Best Ryokan In Kyoto

These are the best high-end ryokan in Kyoto, in rough order of preference. I’ve personally inspected all the places on this list.

hiragiya ryokan

(Be aware that Kyoto’s best ryokan also tend to be very expensive. If you’re on a budget, also see our Best Mid Price Ryokan In Kyoto and Best Budget Ryokan In Kyoto lists.)


Tawaraya isn’t just the best ryokan in Kyoto – it may be the best ryokan in Japan. There are even some who call this the finest accommodation in the world. It’s a magical sanctuary that you’ll never want to leave. The service is supernaturally good here: they know what you want before you do. This is the place to sample the Japanese ryokan experience.
Pros: Perfect service, lovely gardens, beautiful rooms, superb food, convenient downtown location.
Cons: Can’t think of any.
:: More Info about Tawaraya
:: Read Guest Reviews of Tawaraya at TripAdvisor


Located directly across the street from the Tawaraya, the Hiiragiya is a polished ryokan thoroughly at home with foreign guests. There are immaculate rooms in the new wing, but I like the wabi-sabi patina of the rooms in the old wing.
Pros: Great food, excellent service, beautiful gardens, convenient downtown location.
Cons: Less intimate in scale than some other inns.
:: More info about Hiiragiya Ryokan
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Designed as a “hidden ryokan,” Tamahan really does feel like a hidden refuge in the city. Located on my favorite pedestrian-only alley in Kyoto, Ishibei-koji, this inn may be the best located ryokan in Kyoto. Rooms look out over a fantastic inner garden and the decorations are museum quality.
Pros: Brilliant location, excellent food, huge rooms.
Cons: Very expensive.
:: More Info about Tamahan
:: Read guest reviews of Tamahan on TripAdvisor

Hotel Ryokan Ugenta Kibune


All the way up in the tiny hamlet of Kibune (one valley over from Kurama and its famous temple), Ugenta is a rare find. The inn is divided into two exquisite units (and they only accept two groups per evening). One side is Western-style – all smooth wood and modern furnishings – the other is traditional Japanese – with sublime old Japan touches. Both units have indoor baths and private outdoor baths that face the mountainside. This would be a brilliant spot for a romantic getaway (and it’s just 30 minutes by taxi from Kyoto).
Pros: Giant apartment-size private units, all the mod cons, the latest in Japanese design, great food, impossibly quaint village location.
Cons: Nothing to do in the village at night (but, you’d be crazy to want to leave the inn, so this doesn’t really matter).
:: More Info about Ugenta
:: Read Guest Reviews of Ugenta at TripAdvisor


No ryokan in Kyoto comes close to Hoshinoya for dramatic approach: a private boat will whisk you up the Oigawa River to a boat landing, where the staff will greet you and escort you to your room. Surrounded by greenery, overlooking the rushing waters of the river, this place feels like a completely different world from Kyoto, but a quick trip back down the river brings you to the bustling Arashiyama tourist district. The design here is modern Japanese and the feeling is of extreme privacy.
Pros: Magical river approach, fantastic riverside setting, slick modern design.
Cons: A bit of a hike to downtown.
:: More Info about Hoshinoya
:: Read Guest Reviews of Hoshinoya at TripAdvisor


Right on the doorstep of Yasaka-jinja Shrine and Maruyama-koen Park, Hatanaka is a spacious modern ryokan with some expansive beautifully decorated rooms and a young manager who knows how to serve foreign guests. They put on regular geisha entertainment and the food is first-class.
Pros: Right in the heart of the Southern Higashiyama sightseeing district, comfortable with foreign guests.
Cons: A bit large for some people’s taste.
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Once you step into the secluded entryway, it’s like you’ve stepped into another world. The Seikoro is a classic ryokan with almost flamboyant decorative touches that recall art nouveau. All rooms look over lovely gardens and have fine wooden bathtubs.
Pros: Attentive service, lovely décor, comfortable with foreign guests.
Cons: Gojo-dori location is somewhat inconvenient (but, it’s close to a subway station and within walking distance of Kiyomizu-dera and Gion).
:: More Info on Seikoro
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Yoshida Sanso

Like the name suggests, this superb ryokan is located up on Yoshida-yama, a beautiful hill in the northeast part of town. The rooms here are beautiful and the food is wonderful, but the location is the real attraction here: walk out the door and in a few minutes, you’ll find yourself in some of Kyoto’s most beautiful (and seldom visited) temples.
Pros: Stunning location, beautiful front garden, warm service.
Cons: A fair distance from downtown.
:: More Info on Yoshida Sanso
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Garden Ryokan Yachiyo

Garden Ryokan Yachiyo is fine ryokan right “on the doorstep” of Nanzen-ji Temple, comfortable with foreign guests and close to the subway. It makes a perfect base for exploring both the city and Kyoto’s surrounding natural wonders.
Pros: Great location by Tozai subway line and the Higashiyama mountains too
Cons: Not all rooms have garden views
:: More Info about Garden Ryokan Yachiyo
:: Check Availability, Pricing and Guest Reviews at Garden Ryokan Yachiyo at Agoda

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