The Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan

The 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan

Visiting Kyoto is like stepping back in time. In this magical city, traditional wooden machiya houses line narrow stone-paved streets, vibrant geishas gracefully move between tea houses, and the subtle scent of cherry blossoms lingers in the air. The city is a treasure trove of cultural wonders, boasting over 1,000 years of history.

From mesmerizing temples, enigmatic shrines, and impressive palaces to enchanting bamboo forests, fascinating museums, and a remarkable food scene, there’s a lot to pack into your vacation. But before you start putting together your itinerary, you need to choose one of the best hotels in Kyoto to stay in!

Kyoto is home to all kinds of intimate ryokans, modern skyscrapers, and quirky boutique hotels. In fact, there are so many excellent places to stay in Kyoto that you may find it a challenge to pick one. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 luxury hotels in Kyoto for you.

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The 10 Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan

1. The Celestine Kyoto Gion

Best 5 Star Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: The Celestine Kyoto Gion
Photos: The Celestine Kyoto Gion

Nestled in the enchanting Gion district in the heart of Kyoto, The Celestine seamlessly combines contemporary luxury with the timeless charm of Japanese tradition. Embodying the natural beauty of the Higashiyama district and the harmonious rhythm of its changing seasons, the hotel features a lush garden, nature-inspired color palettes, and cascading waterfalls.

One of the best Kyoto hotels, The Celestine invites you to choose between 150+ thoughtfully designed rooms, each of which provides a haven for complete relaxation. Extras, such as local tea with traditional utensils, air purifiers, and fluffy bathrobes, are included as standard. 

As an added bonus, a yukata (traditional Japanese spa bathrobe) and geta (pair of wooden clogs) are also waiting in your room, which you can use at the public baths!


2. Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto

Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto
Photos: Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto

One of the best 5-star hotels in Kyoto, Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto enjoys a prime position in the center of the city. Designed by incredibly talented architects Andrew Fu and Akira Kuryu, the building looks spectacular inside and out.

From the traditional Japanese gated entrance, the captivating gardens, and the shallow reflecting pools to the spectacular thermal spring, the gorgeous designer furniture, and the artwork scattered throughout the interior, this hotel feels more like an art gallery than a place to lay your head.

The guest rooms offer fantastic city views, while the hotel’s restaurants showcase the very best of Kyoto’s flavors. We definitely recommend indulging with a kaiseki meal and a traditional tea ceremony. 


3. Sowaka

Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Sowaka
Photos: Sowaka

If you’re seeking a traditional Japanese experience, Sowaka is one of the top luxury hotels in Kyoto. Located in the heart of Gion, this stunning hotel is made up of several interconnected buildings, imitating a traditional Japanese neighborhood. Each building is even more magnificent than the last, boasting sliding doors, wooden latticework, and landscaped gardens. 

The on-site restaurant, the award-winning La BOMBANCE Gion, dishes up classic Kyoto dishes with a modern flair, while the hotel’s bar is an excellent place to discover the delicious world of Japanese whiskey. Make sure you head up to the rooftop, where you can sip your favorite drink, feel the cooling breeze on your face, and watch the sunset over the city.


4. Fufu Kyoto

Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Fufu Kyoto
Photos: Fufu Kyoto

Fufu Kyoto is a truly unique hotel in Kyoto, thanks to its phenomenal guest rooms. Each room boasts a large private bathtub made from aromatic hinoki cypress wood. The hot water that fills it comes from a local spring!

The rest of the hotel is just as impressive. Creating the ideal environment for a romantic retreat, Fufu Kyoto blends time-honored Japanese aesthetics with modern-day style and technology. Sliding doors decorated with hand-painted art and ancient tranquil gardens blend together with 50-inch smart TVs and Bluetooth speakers, providing you with the best of both worlds.

For the ultimate indulgence, splash out on the Fufu Luxury Premium Suite, and you’ll be rewarded with floor-to-ceiling windows, Japanese garden views, and fresh seasonal flowers in your room every day. 

Check Prices & Availability on Booking.com


5. Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei

Best Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei
Photos: Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei

One of the coolest Kyoto hotels, the Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei is built on the site once occupied by a famous Japanese lacquerware company in 1792. In a successful effort to hold onto its past, the hotel now honors its heritage by displaying an impressive collection of lacquerware throughout the guest rooms and public parts of the building.

You can choose between Japanese and Western sleeping options, so you can be as adventurous or as familiar as you like. Even if you decide against the Japanese-style rooms, there are plenty of other opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture. The hotel organizes workshops so you can discover the art of calligraphy, tea ceremonies, flower arranging, sake tasting, and kimono wearing.


6. Hotel Kanra Kyoto

Best 5 Star Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Hotel Kanra Kyoto
Photos: Hotel Kanra Kyoto

When it comes to where to stay in Kyoto for an eco-friendly break, Hotel Kanra Kyoto ticks all the boxes. This dazzling hotel takes a thoughtful approach whenever possible. You’ll find locally sourced ingredients in the on-site restaurant, sake created from small local breweries, and bicycle rentals so you can explore the city in a healthy, sustainable way.

Hotel Kanra Kyoto even organizes cultural events throughout the year, with the Kyoto Crafts Exhibition being one of the best. There’s also an on-site kintsugi studio, where talented artists repair broken pottery with gold.

You’ll also find a fantastic on-site spa with treatments inspired by ancient Asian practices. Each treatment is designed to invoke your five senses, leaving your mind, body, and soul completely relaxed.


7. Ace Hotel Kyoto

Best Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Ace Hotel Kyoto
Photos: Ace Hotel Kyoto

One of our favorite unique Kyoto hotels, the Ace Hotel Kyoto is like a playground for grownups. An excellent choice for art lovers, this gorgeous property is known for its iconic retro style, fascinating sculptures, and mesmerizing artwork. Splurge on the Loft Suite and you’ll be so glad you did!

The best rooms in the hotel, these suites come with a separate bar/living/dining area, original artwork, a Gibson guitar, a TEAC turntable, and an exclusive Pendleton blanket. Take a look in the bathroom, and you’ll discover a natural ash wood ceiling, slate tiles, a soaking tub, and a separate shower.


8. Yuzuya Ryokan

Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Yuzuya Ryokan
Photos: Yuzuya Ryokan

One of the best Kyoto boutique hotels for an intimate getaway, the Yuzuya Ryokan is an adults-only haven surrounded by aromatic yuzu trees. This dreamy ryokan is made up of eight guest rooms which feature tatami floors, antique furniture, futon beds, and seasonal wildflower arrangements. 

Take a look in the bathroom, and you’ll discover a tub made of cypress wood. Ask the staff and they’ll fill it for you with wonderfully warm water and floating yuzu fruit!

If you’d like some extra space, there’s a warm public bath on-site, filled with citrus-infused water. It’s a wonderful place to relax after exploring the Tofuku-ji Temple and Yasaka Shrine Pagoda, which are just a short walk away.


9. Suiran

Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: Suiran
Photos: Suiran

Undoubtedly one of the best Kyoto luxury hotels, Suiran is even more magical than it looks in pictures. It boasts an extraordinary location, in between the banks of the gentle Hozu River and a stunning bamboo forest. 

All of the 39 rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows through which phenomenal forest views simply pour in. For something extra special, book one of the rooms with an onsen. Each of these rooms pampers you with an open-air hot spring where you can listen to the gentle sound of birdsong while you soak. 

If you don’t book a room with an onsen, you can still make use of the private spa room. Here, you’ll find a large outdoor bathtub where you can relax your tired muscles.


10. The Screen

Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto, Japan: The Screen
Photos: The Screen

One of the best boutique hotels in Kyoto for anyone who appreciates art, The Screen is home to just 13 guest rooms, each of which has been thoughtfully designed by an international or local artist. The decor follows a minimalist yet cozy theme, created through unusually shaped furniture, giant wall murals, and creative use of varied textures.

Visit the on-site BRON RONNERY restaurant for exceptional cuisine that blends French gastronomy with local ingredients. For something a little more casual, there’s the paper lantern-decorated Lounge cafe, as well as a sensational rooftop garden where you can sip hand-selected champagne.

That completes our list of the 10 best Kyoto hotels! Did we miss any cool luxury hotels in Kyoto? Comment below so we can add them to the list! 


Where to Stay in Kyoto

If this is your first time in the city, we suggest staying in Downtown Kawaramachi. This is the modern part of Kyoto, but it’s just a short walk from Gion, the old part of the city. Here, you’ll find excellent public transport, loads of shopping opportunities, fantastic restaurants, and some of the coolest hotels in Kyoto.

For a traditional experience, stay in Gion. This neighborhood boasts a central location, as well as many shrines, temples, parks, and ryokans. It’s an excellent place to spot geishas in the street and immerse yourself in an old-world Japanese atmosphere.

The area around Kyoto Station is a top place to stay if you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing. Although not much is within walking distance, you’ll find all modes of public transport available under one roof here. 


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Author

  • Nicola Quinn

    Nicola is a freelance writer with an insatiable hunger for travel. She swapped her home in the UK for the sunny Canary Islands when she was just 11 and she has been based there ever since.

    From crawling on her hands and knees inside pyramids in Egypt to swimming with baby sharks in Bali and searching (fruitlessly!) for the Northern Lights in Iceland, Nicola takes every chance she gets to explore new places.

    The incredible experiences she has around the world fuels her writing and inspires her to plan even more adventures for the future.

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