Higashiyama Shikikaboku is one of our favorite boutique hotels in Kyoto. With only eight rooms, attentive personal service and a great location within walking distance of downtown and the sights, it’s pretty much perfect.
Higashiyama Shikikaboku At A Glance
- Great for: couples, honeymoons, discerning solo travelers
- Strong points: location (close to downtown and the Higashiyama sightseeing districts), warm personal service, superb Japanese design, excellent breakfast, rooftop bath and terrace
- Sample rates: from US$300 to $900 per night
This little gem of a hotel is located on Sanjo-dori Street, very close to Higashiyama Station on the Tozai Line. I used to live in this neighborhood and it’s perhaps my favorite area of the city. It’s within easy walking distance of both the Southern Higashiyama and Northern Higashiyama sightseeing districts. The Okazaki museum district is five minutes’ walk away along a magical canal lined by beautiful footpaths. And both downtown and Gion are about 10 minutes’ walk away. So, the location is perfect – super convenient but mercifully free from the crowds that plague downtown.
The hotel is a passion project of a local husband and wife architect/designer team, and it shows. Every detail is a celebration of traditional Kyoto culture, right down to the carefully curated music that you can play in your room. While the building is modern in design, the rooms themselves feel more like those of a luxury ryokan, but with all the modern features and beds instead of futons. Some offer superb views north to the Higashiyama and Kitayama mountains (beckoning you to explore the trails of those areas).
There are two wonderful rooftop baths, which you reserve so that you can have them entirely to yourself. There’s something magical about taking a hot bath and then cooling off while enjoying the view across Kyoto, especially once the evening lights come on.
You can also enjoy the views from the wonderful rooftop terrace. It’s the perfect place for an evening drink. And down on the first floor, there’s an excellent restaurant/lounge area where they serve a wonderful breakfast from local ingredients. It’s healthy and filling and it’s the perfect way to fuel a day of sightseeing in Kyoto.
While the facilities of the Shikikaboku are superb, it’s the service that really seals the deal. The staff can make reservations for Kyoto restaurants with which they enjoy close relationships, as well as helping with other aspects of your travel.
Needless to say, the Shikikaboku is extremely popular with both foreign and Japanese guests. You’ll have to book far in advance. If you’re one of the lucky few who get a room here, you’ll will find it the perfect base for a magical stay in the Old Capital.
Name in English:
Name in Japanese:
85-1 Imakoji-cho, Sanjo-dori-Shirakawabashi-nishiiru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan 605-0023
Price range: luxury
1-minute walk from Higashiyama Station (exit 2) of Subway Tozai Line
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, you might save money with Japan Rail Pass – see if it's worth it for you
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world