Kyoto has some fine luxury hotels, including offerings from top international hotel brands. I’ve personally inspected all the hotels in this category.
Unlike Tokyo, which is awash in luxury hotels, Kyoto has a limited number of true luxury (international class) hotels. Fortunately, those that do exist are of a high standard and are very used to receiving international guests. So if you want a little comfort in Kyoto, have a look at the list below.
- Ritz-Carlton Kyoto
The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto had a “soft opening” in March 2014. This luxury property will be followed by the opening of the Four Seasons Kyoto in 2015.
- Hyatt Regency Kyoto
The Hyatt Regency Kyoto is the best luxury hotel in Kyoto. Simple as that.
- Hotel Mume
An intimate boutique hotel on an attractive street in Gion, Mume hits all the right notes.
- Kyoto Hotel Okura
The Kyoto Hotel Okura is a fine hotel with extremely reasonable rates and an unbeatable downtown location (it’s directly connected to the Kyotoshiyakusho-mae subway station in the middle of downtown). It’s highly recommended.
- Hotel Kanra Kyoto
The Hotel Kanra Kyoto is a beautiful Japanese-themed boutique hotel a short walk south of Gojo subway station. Rooms are spacious, well kept and superbly appointed. Have a look and see why this hotel is attracting a lot of attention lately in Kyoto.
- Hotel Granvia Kyoto
The Hotel Granvia Kyoto is an excellent hotel located directly above Kyoto Station, making it the city’s most convenient hotel for transport connections. Rooms are on the large side and well kept and there are countless restaurants with a few minutes of the lobby. It’s highly recommended.
- Westin Miyako Kyoto Hotel
An excellent hotel in a commanding location, near the subway and the main Higashiyama sights.
Kyoto Brighton Hotel A reasonably priced luxury hotel not far from the Kyoto Gosho (Imperial Palace), Kyoto Brighton Hotel is often overlooked but deserves more attention for its excellent restaurant, large rooms and capable staff.
Luxury hotels in Japan are pretty much like those you’d find anywhere else in the developed world. The main difference worth pointing out is that gyms and pools are less common in Japan, and where they exist, they tend to be small and cost an additional fee to use. Hopefully, Japanese hoteliers will get up to speed in this regard in the near future.
Otherwise, luxury hotels are everything their foreign counterparts are, with superb rooms, excellent onsite restaurants and the one thing that must drive foreign hotelier mad with envy: that world-famous Japanese service.
Both the Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton brands are planning to open hotels in Kyoto in the near future. As soon as they do, I’ll inspect them and post about them here.
Ryokan – Kyoto’s Luxury Traditional Accommodation
If you’re going to visit Kyoto, the heart of traditional Japan, you really should try a night in a good ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). When my friends, family or clients visit Japan, I usually recommend that they spend their first night in a great ryokan and then move to a hotel like the ones listed above. See my page on the best ryokan in Kyoto.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings on Skyscanner
- If you're visiting more than one city, get your Japan Rail Pass
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com
- Get travel insurance for your Japan trip - book online with World Nomads