Are you heading to Kyoto? Whether you are going to check out the awesome architecture, sample local foods, shop in the myriad stalls downtown, or even visit a gorgeous bamboo forest, you will need top-end accommodation to make your trip one to remember. Though 5-star hotels in the former capital of Japan can be quite pricey, the luxurious rooms and fantastic amenities will make your stay worth the price. If you’re an American, or otherwise are non-Japanese, you might need a little guidance on choosing a great Kyoto hotel to stay in. Luckily for you, we’ve assembled a list of the top five luxury hotels in Kyoto. Read on – hopefully we will make your lodging decision a little bit easier.
Any hotel with the Ritz-Carlton name is bound to be a posh and elegant retreat. After all, the term ‘ritzy’ originated from the luxurious hotels during the 1920s. And this Kyoto hotel is no exception. The Ritz-Carlton in Kyoto offers 134 rooms, four restaurants, several event venues, and a spa. Plus, many of the rooms boast gorgeous panoramic views of the Higashiyama Mountain. This hotel won an award naming it the Best Hotel in Japan in 2017. And it’s not a surprise: the hotel features Zen gardens, high-speed internet, a 24-hour gym, indoor pool, world-class food and drink, an expansive art collection (mostly made of local art), and a seven-room spa. The rooms are also luxurious and spacious, ensuring that you have a great Kyoto experience.
The Four Seasons Kyoto
Four Seasons hotels are known worldwide as being some of the best lodging a person can get. This particular hotel’s main draw is the 800-year-old Japanese garden at the center of the complex. The garden juxtaposes nicely with the hotel’s temple district location – truly capturing the “essence of Kyoto”. At the Four Seasons, guests will find spacious and well-lit rooms, with floor-to-ceiling windows facing out to the garden. There are a variety of other amenities offered here – including a craft beer bar on a waterside terrace, an on-site Tea House, an indoor pool, and a spa. This hotel rivals the Ritz-Carlton in elegance and comfort, and offers a taste of Kyoto that you can’t get in any other place.
You can get an authentic Japanese inn experience by staying at the Sumiya Ryokan of Kyoto. This inn was constructed in the traditional tea-ceremony house style – traditional Japanese architecture that is complemented by the inn’s unmatched service. Not only does it have a prime location (only 2km away from the 17th-century Nijō Castle and the Kyoto Imperial Palace), but they also offer some of the best room service in Japan. The innkeepers here will bring food directly to your room immediately after it is prepared – all dishes are a part of a traditional multi-course dinner. Plus, the inn holds two traditional tea ceremonies on the 7th and 17th of the month.
This hotel was established 200 years ago (1818) and is one of the best traditional inns in Japan. It has been owned by the same family for six generations, and has hosted many famous men and women over its years of operation. Each room at this inn is designed with its own unique flavor – though each is in a traditional Japanese style. Even though the style is traditional, the amenities are modern. In fact, each room contains a control box for the lights and curtains that was designed by the great-grandfather of the current generation of inn owners. Hiiragiya-Ryokan also offers a beautiful Zen garden, as well as Kyoto-style cuisine prepared seasonally.
The Yuzuya Hotel is a beautiful, removed hotel that is easily-accessible from the roadside entrance. It has eight serene rooms, all furnished and decorated in an antique Japanese style. Their main draw is the atmosphere – the Yuzuya prides itself on the distinguished stillness and dignified vibe of the traditional inn. Each of the rooms is equipped with Wi-Fi access. Plus, the hotel provides every guest with a complimentary Japanese breakfast at their restaurant. They also have beautiful views of their Zen gardens, as well as a communal hot bath containing yuzu (their namesake). This place is definitely worth checking out, but be sure to make your reservations far in advance due to the small number of rooms available at the Yuzuya Hotel.