The 13 Best Boutique Hotels in Kyoto to Book in 2024

Last Updated: May 8th, 2024

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Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto continues to be the country’s cultural epicenter, maintaining its traditional charms within its imperial palaces, Shinto shrines, and cultural houses.

And while there are several recognized hotel brands servicing this popular tourist destination, the best way to fully immerse in the traditional atmosphere is by staying within one of the local hotels designed to honor and accentuate the city’s hospitality customs and traditions.

From restored historical complexes to traditional ryokans with lavish twists, these are the 13 best boutique hotels in Kyoto for exploring Japan’s cultural capital.

The 13 Best Boutique Hotels in Kyoto

1. Hotel Muso

Intimate Hotel Complex with a Central Location in the City Centre

Hotel-Muso
Hotel Muso Image by: Booking.com

Set in the center of Kyoto near the popular shopping district, Hotel Muso is a charming and intimate boutique hotel offering elegant lodging in 10 private rooms styled with traditional decor and modern amenities.

Each of Hotel Muso’s classically designed rooms help set the atmosphere for exploring Japan’s cultural and spiritual center and are equipped with premium modern comforts that include flatscreen TVs, private bathrooms with a bidet, a mini fridge, and a coffee machine with complimentary tea.

Hotel Muso’s central location also serves as a great base for exploring the city, with Nijo Castle, the Kyocera Museum of Art, and the Kyoto Imperial Palace all being within walking distance. The hotel is also within a short walk of Shijo Metro Station, providing convenient access to the great restaurants and attractions of the city.

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2. Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto

Luxury Boutique Hotel Located Within a 17th-Century Home

Hotel-The-Mitsui-Kyoto
Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto Image by: Booking.com

It doesn’t get much better than Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto when it comes to luxury getaways that blend modern opulence with a historical setting and a traditional yet elegant upscale design.

Located next to Hijo-jo Castle in the Kyoto city center, the hotel property served as the Kyoto home of the Kitake, the executive branch of the Mitsui Family, starting in the 17th century. Since then, the property has been synonymous with regality and power.

While the main hotel complex is entirely new, having first opened its doors in 2020, the property was designed to accentuate its cultural heritage and the natural beauty of the region.

Each of the hotel’s carefully curated rooms are designed to set a traditional atmosphere for immersing in the local culture, while additional onsite amenities include four elegant restaurants, a breathtaking garden, and even a thermal spring spa.

Meanwhile the hotel’s central location in the historical Gion district provides convenient access to the cultural attractions of the city center.

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3. The General Kyoto – Shijou Shinmachi

New Boutique Hotel with Premium Modern Comforts

The-General-Kyoto-Shijou-Shinmachi
The General Kyoto – Shijou Shinmachi Image by: Booking.com

Opened in March 2023, The General Kyoto is one of the newest boutique hotels in Kyoto and promises an entire complex of top-of-the-line modern amenities and facilities.

The hotel features 32 brand-new state-of-the-art rooms, each equipped with premium in-room comforts and traditional stylings that accentuate the local customs of the destination. Boasting simple designs, each room offers air conditioning, flatscreen satellite TVs, and private bathrooms with free toiletries.

While there is no restaurant onsite, the hotel does offer complimentary food and drinks in the lounge area throughout the day, along with an afternoon tea session featuring home-baked buns, and a nightly happy hour where you can enjoy wine, desserts, and light meals.

For a more traditional dining experience, several restaurants can be found within walking distance of The General Kyoto, along with the Nishiki Market. Meanwhile, the nearby Karasuma and Shijo Stations provide nearby access to the broader neighborhoods of the city.

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4. Marufukuro

5-Star Luxury Within the Historical Nintendo HQ

Marufukuro
Marufukuro Image by: Booking.com

Blending Kyoto’s modern history of contemporary designs and amenities, the Marufukuro promises an elegant boutique hotel within the former headquarters of Nintendo.

First built in the 1930s, the historic building was left largely abandoned for nearly half a century until it was ultimately restored as a charming boutique hotel in 2022.

Designed by the renowned architect Tadao Ando and Tokyo’s Plan Do See hospitality group, the hotel maintains much of its historical charms within its four buildings, three of which date back to the original 1930s headquarters.

Named after the first store of the Nintendo founder, Marufukuro pays homage to its historical roots throughout its complex, particularly within its library where you will find over 100 items related to the evolution of the company.

Beyond being a must-stay for any fan of Nintendo, Marufukuro has become one of the most luxurious 5-star hotels in Kyoto promising elevated comforts within its 18 elegant private rooms, restaurant, bar, spa, and lounge areas.

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5. Tanakaya Kyoto Karasuma

Small Boutique Hotel Promising Personalized Services

Tanakaya-Kyoto-Karasuma
Tanakaya Kyoto Karasuma Image by: Booking.com

With only seven rooms featured within its four-story complex, the Tanakaya Kyoto Karasuma promises a quiet and intimate setting in which to immerse oneself in the cultural atmosphere of central Kyoto.

The hotel offers its lodgings within Japanese and Western-style rooms. For the full effect, I highly suggest staying in one of its Japanese rooms. Boasting beautiful Inami transom engravings and traditional furnishings, these rooms offer the most serene way to immerse in the cultural wonder of Kyoto.

Of course, the Western-style rooms also promise plenty of comfort, albeit within a slightly less culturally authentic setting.

Regardless of your style of room, all units are equipped with modern amenities that include flatscreen satellite TVs, air conditioning, a fridge, and a private bathroom with a bidet.

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6. Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa

Romantic Getaway Along the Kamo River

Riverte-Kyoto-Kamogawa
Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa Image by: Booking.com

Set along the banks of the Kamo River, the Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa is easily one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Kyoto, promising a serene setting for enjoying the spiritual and natural charms of the city.

The hotel only allows for up to 8 units of guests to be booked per night and offers a selection of 6 different types of rooms. While in room comforts vary, each unit promises breathtaking river views from its private balcony and basic in-room comforts that include a spacious seating area, a kettle, and a mini fridge.

While occupying a peaceful setting along the outskirts of the city center, the Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa Hotel is just a short walk from the Jorinji Temple and Honno-ji- Buddhist Temple and features a nearby metro station for accessing other parts of the city.

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7. Hotel Gion Ichirin

A Quiet Oasis Near the City Centre

Hotel-Gion-Ichirin
Hotel Gion Ichirin Image by: Booking.com

Boasting traditional Japanese designs and a quiet location in central Kyoto, just 800 meters from Gion Shijo Station, Hotel Gion Ichirin promises a relaxing and immersive setting for exploring the city and is a particularly great spot to stay while undertaking the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage.

The hotel boasts 24 air-conditioned rooms, each equipped with elegant cultural furnishings, a tea and coffee maker, and a private bathroom with a tub, rainfall shower, bathrobe, and free toiletries.

Meanwhile, the welcoming hotel complex features several shared lounges, 24-hour security, a luggage locker, and a spa and wellness center with a sauna.

Hotel Gion Ichirin’s convenient location in the cultural center of the city places its guests within walking distance of several attractions and restaurants, including the Samurai Kembu Kyoto, several temples, and the Du Ran restaurant where you can enjoy a varied menu of Japanese dishes.

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8. BNA Alter Museum

Charming Museum-Hotel Where You Stay in the Art

Bna-Alter-Museum
BNA Alter Museum Image by: Booking.com

For one of the most unique boutique hotels in Kyoto, check out the rooms at BNA Alter Museum. Operating out of a 10-story vertical art gallery, the 4-star hotel features 31 unique rooms that allow you to actually stay within the work of art.

Designed by 15 artists and nine art directors, the BNA Alter Museum is an attraction as much as it is a hotel and promises a surreal blend of private room comforts and onsite facilities and activities, including a nightclub operating directly onsite.

Don’t let the evening festivities scare you away, though. Each of the hotel’s private rooms promise beautiful, quiet settings for enjoying a laid-back evening.

While the unique artistry of each unit makes for an exciting in-room experience, the hotel’s location near Kyoto’s shopping district also places it within close proximity to several popular attractions, including the Samurai Kembu Kyoto, Sanjusangen-do temple, and the Kyoto Aquarium.

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9. Kyoto Shinmachi Rokkaku Hotel Grandereverie

Quiet Respite in the Heart of the Gion Festival

Kyoto-Shinmachi-Rokkaku-Hotel
Kyoto Shinmachi Rokkaku Hotel Grandereverie Image by: Booking.com

Located near the center of Kyoto’s historical Nakagyo Ward district, the Kyoto Shinmachi Rokkaku Hotel is set directly along the site of the annual Gion Festival and promises a quiet year-round oasis from the very heart of the action.

Despite sitting adjacent to a bustling cultural street, each of the hotel’s 12 private rooms offers a quiet and carefree night’s sleep, with each unit boasting sound-proofed windows, flatscreen TVs, a minibar, and a private bathroom with a rainfall shower and complimentary bathrobes.

By limiting its lodging to only 12 rooms, the Kyoto Shinmachi Rokkaku Hotel is able to provide personalized services to its guests, including complimentary coffee available within the first floor lounge 24 hours a day and a 24-reception service readily available to help you plan your tour of the city.

Speaking of touring the city, the hotel’s central location in one of the most historic communities of Kyoto places it within walking distance of several of the region’s top cultural attractions, including the Nijo Castle, Nishiki Market, the Manga Museum and the Shinzan Choji Temple.

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10. Luxury Hotel Sowaka

Kyoto’s Most Luxurious Stay With Plenty of Traditional Charms

Luxury-Hotel-Sowaka
Luxury Hotel Sowaka Image by: Booking.com

Set in the heart of the historical Gion District, the Luxury Hotel Sowaka is a truly one-of-a-kind accommodation and features a carefully designed complex of interconnected buildings that provide the property with a traditional Old Town feel.

However, while the hotel accentuates its old school charms through its decor and stylings, the amenities and facilities it offers within the property are all entirely modern.

Blending traditional nostalgia with contemporary comforts, guests staying at Sowaka can enjoy a blissful escape along the hotel’s charming lobby lounge, bar, or roof patio. Guests can also explore distinctive Kyoto cuisine at the onsite La Bombance Gion, the newest outpost of the Michelin Star restaurant in Tokyo.

Sowaka features 23 individually designed rooms located within its main building and adjoining annex. The units within the main building focus on providing the traditional Japanese experience. Meanwhile, guests seeking more familiar comforts can enjoy Western-style lodging in the annex.

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11. Ace Hotel Kyoto

Historical Complex Meets Modern Boutique Charm

Ace-Hotel-Kyoto
Ace Hotel Kyoto Image by: Booking.com

Operating out of the old Kyoto Central Telephone Office in the heart of downtown Kyoto, the Ace Hotel is another charming boutique accommodation in the city that blends its historical setting with contemporary comforts.

Each of the Ace Hotel’s private rooms features traditional Japanese decor while boasting several modern additions, including flatscreen TVs, a spacious sitting area, a turntable record player, and even a private patio available in select suites.

Along with their beautifully decorated private rooms, Ace Hotel promises a great catalog of inviting onsite facilities, including a fitness center, a garden, a lounge area, a restaurant, and a bar.

Still, perhaps the best feature of the Ace Hotel is its location. Set near the city center, many of Kyoto’s top attractions can be reached on foot. Meanwhile, the Ace Hotel’s free bike rentals and the nearby Karasuma-Oike Station provide easy access to the broader reaches of the city.

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12. Fufu Kyoto

Cultural Lodging Styled After a Traditional Ryokan Inn

Fufu-Kyoto
Fufu Kyoto Image by: Booking.com

Styled as a traditional ryokan, the Fufu Kyoto is located along the eastern regions of the city and promises a quiet retreat away from the bustling city center for enjoying the calming simplicity of the destination.

An attraction within itself, Fufu Kyoto is a luxury resort with a central focus on relaxation. Here, you will find a natural hot spring bath in every private room, which, combined with natural lighting, cherry blossoms, and sandalwood, provides the ultimate sense of carefree bliss.

Along with these hot spring additions, all rooms at Fufu Kyoto are equipped with luxury modern amenities accentuated by traditional Japanese stylings.

Meanwhile, communal facilities offered within the resort complex include a picturesque Japanese garden, a detached bar house, and the Ioto restaurant, where you can enjoy a seasonal menu exploring the four seasons of Japanese cuisine.

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13. The Reign Hotel Kyoto

Affordable Boutique Hotel with a Central Location.

The-Reign-Hotel-Kyoto
The Reign Hotel Kyoto Image by: Booking.com

One of the more affordable boutique hotels in Kyoto, The Reign Hotel Kyoto features nightly rates starting much lower than many of the other hotels featured on this list, but the comforts and charm provided within its complex rivals even the most luxurious of the city’s offerings.

Located near the edge of the city center, The Reign Hotel provides easy access to many of the region’s popular attractions while being removed enough from the bustling hub of the downtown area to provide a relaxing and quiet night’s sleep.

Meanwhile, the 3-star hotel features plenty of onsite comforts, including an onsite restaurant with a cocktail hour, a 24 hour front desk, and beautifully designed guest rooms with flat screen TVs, private bathrooms, and a buffet breakfast provided daily in the lobby.

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FAQs About Boutique Hotels in Kyoto

The-Kiyomizu-Temple-At-Kyoto

What is the best boutique hotel in Kyoto for couples?

Promising intimate accommodation along the Kamo River, the Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa is the best boutique hotel in Kyoto for couples and promises plenty of romantic views and quiet seating areas for enjoying your couple’s getaway.

What is the best neighborhood in Kyoto to stay in?

The Gion District is the best neighborhood for visitors looking to stay in the heart of the action, with many of the destination’s top attractions and restaurants within walking distance. However, thanks to the city’s metro lines, visitors staying in one of the quieter neighborhoods can still enjoy access to all of the city’s many draws regardless of where they are staying.

What is the most luxurious boutique hotel in Kyoto?

Promising unparalleled service within its 23 individually designed rooms, the Luxury Hotel Sowaka is the most lavish boutique hotel in Kyoto. Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto is another hotel that promises great upscale opulence while boasting nightly rates that are slightly more affordable.

About The Author

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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Picture of Kurt Norris

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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