Many travelers who visit Kyoto want to experience the famous hot springs of Japan also known as onsen. There are so many traditional accommodations like ryokans that offer traditional bathing and spa experiences in wooden hot tubs similar to onsens. Hot springs are usually located in the mountainous areas, while in downtown Kyoto, a flat area, onsens can be surrounded by mountains.
Kyoto is known as a place close to its traditional roots where locals and tourists can find historical sites and accommodations. Kyoto is also renowned for Gion, a geisha district where traditional old buildings with lantern-lit yards can be visited. There are currently 70 geishas and 30 maikos (apprentice geisha) working in 60 teahouses in Gion. If hot spring relaxations and culture spark an interest, here is a guide to recommended private onsens in Kyoto.
Arashiyama Benkei is a traditional Japanese ryokan located along the banks of Katsura River, in western Kyoto. It’s the perfect walking distance from main tourist attractions in Arashiyama, making it a great stay for those who wish to explore the town. Historically, the town of Arashiyama served as a resort for aristocrats and royalty. Today, the scenic place serves as a getaway spot for tourists, both local and international alike, and Arashiyama Benkei welcomes all guests with Japanese hospitality.
Arashiyama Benkei offers a selection of rooms, each with their own charms. Some of which will include their own private onsen, but all of them with a scenic view of either the river or the gardens. The inn also offers hot spring baths of varying sizes, to be reserved for private use. Guests may opt to use the smaller, more private baths or the large baths for bigger groups. There are also two separate indoor baths for men and women.
- Website: benkei.biz
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- Address: Japan, 〒616-8385 Kyoto, Ukyo Ward, Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, ３４
Hanaikada is a traditional Japanese inn located in Arashiyama. It has a number of facilities, ranging from onsens to its restaurant. Its onsens are large and can be enjoyed by men and women separately. An onsen area is also available for private use upon reservation, which is ideal for families, friends, and those with tattoos.
Guests can also view its garden that displays the vibe of zen. Meals of the inn, like its traditional kaiseki dinner and Asian breakfast, are served in the rooms of the guests. Near the inn are attractions guests can visit. Some of these are the Kinkaku-ji Temple and the Katsura Imperial Villa.
- Website: hanaikada.co.jp
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: 57 Arashiyama Nakaoshitacho, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0004, Japan
As one of the oldest and most beloved ryokans in Japan, Hiiragiya has been hosting famously acclaimed people from all over the world, as well as members of the Imperial family, since 1818. From its establishment, Hiiragiya has been managed by the same family for many generations.
The rooms of the inn have preserved their traditional Japanese architecture and design from the late Edo period, with the newer rooms incorporating more modern concepts but still maintaining the same sophisticated feel. Hiiragiya also takes pride in serving the finest quality Kaiseki cuisine, with meticulously prepared seasonal ingredients.
- Website: hiiragiya.co.jp
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- Address: Japan, 〒604-8094 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 姉小路上ル中白山町277
Hotel Kitanoya is a traditional Japanese inn. Its rooms are complete in tatami mat flooring and offer sleeping options, whether guests want to lay on a Western mattress or a comfy Japanese futon bed. It has rooms that show off the incredible view of the ocean and private open-air hot spring baths.
The hotel also offers its onsen facilities, which can be used by men and women separately. Onsen baths can also be reserved for private use. After taking a dip, guests can take a stroll in the beautifully landscaped garden and let loose in a massage treatment. Guests can also satisfy their appetites at the restaurant, which features Japanese cuisine. Sites like the Amanohashidate Land Bridge can be visited by guests during their stay at the hotel.
- Website: hotel-kitanoya.jp
- Contact: +81772224126
- Address: 100 Monju, Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001, Japan
Kashoen Hanare Fuka
Kashoen Hanare Fuka is an accommodation located in Kyotango that overlooks the view of the ocean. Its interiors display traditional ryokan design while splashing touches of Western influence. It has rooms that feature a terrace, where guests can go out to feel the breeze, and open-air baths where they can unwind during their stay.
- Website: k-fuka.com
- Contact: +81772749009
- Address: 247 Aminocho Kitsu, Kyōtango, Kyoto 629-3241, Japan
Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo
Kyoto Nanzenji Ryokan Yachiyo, or Yachiyo Hotel Kyoto, is located in Nanzenji–a district filled with villas built in the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Because of this piece of history, Yachiyo features an interior donned with traditional Japanese elements, and surrounded by beautiful gardens that change colors and personalities by the season.
Guests will be able to relax in the traditional atmosphere and stay in rooms fitted with tatami mats and sleep in futon beds. As with the rest of the property, the rooms also feature traditional Japanese styles, some with their own semi open-air baths. Additionally, there is also an indoor communal bath for the guests to soak in.
The ryokan also provides public baths for its guests to enjoy after a day of exploring the neighborhood–Nanzenji Temple, Eikando and Heian Jingu Shrine being recommended tourist spots. There is also a restaurant that overlooks the garden and features delicately prepared Japanese cuisine, including vegetarian, for the guests to partake in.
- Website: ryokan-yachiyo.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: Japan, 〒606-8435 Kyoto, Sakyo Ward, Nanzenji Fukuchicho, ３４
Kyoto Yunohana Resort Suisen
Kyoto Yunohana Resort Suisen is an accommodation located in a city in the Kyoto Prefecture known as Kameoka. The onsen resort is a hidden treasure that is guarded by a clean environment and pristine nature. Guests who stay here enjoy the scenery and calmness of the surroundings. Staying at Suisen makes one experience total relaxation and worry-free activities, all while being immersed in Japanese Culture.
The rooms of Kyoto Yunohana Resort Suisen are designed based on the traditional Japanese style with complete tatami mat flooring and a classic cultural aesthetic. It also features rooms with a combination of styles coming from Japanese and Western influences. The resort, however, prides itself more on its Japanese-style rooms. The resort has some of its rooms feature a private open-air hot spring bath.
Kyoto Yunohana Resort Suisen takes pride in its large public baths with water sources coming from natural hot springs of the Kameoka area. These can be enjoyed by men and women guests separately as there is a segregation policy. There is also a rental open-air rock bath for private use and a spa that offers massages and treatments of relaxation.
- Website: kyoto-suisen.com
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- Address: Japan, 〒621-0034 Kyoto, Kameoka, ひえ田野町芦ノ山イノシリ6-3
Momijiya Bekkan Kawa no Iori
Momijiya Bekkan Kawa no Iori is an onsen ryokan located in Takao. It tightly holds traditional Japanese designs and calmly sits in the midst of nature, surrounded by singing streams and hovering trees. It has rooms featuring open-air hot spring baths with others having detached rooms. The ryokan offers its onsen facilities, which can be enjoyed by men and women separately, with other baths available for reservation for private use.
- Website: www.momijiya.jp
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Address: MapUmegahata Takao-cho, shi, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8287, Japan
Ryokan Sanga is a lakeside Japanese inn, situated on the riverbanks of Tanoharu River in Minamioguni, Aso District, Kumamoto Prefecture. Surrounded by the tranquility of gardens, the river and nature, the cozy inn emits a relaxing ambiance. The quaint accommodation has traditional Japanese-style rooms fitted with tatami mats and futon bedding, as well as low furniture. In-room massages are also offered upon request.
In addition, Ryokan Sanga has multiple hot-spring bath options—open-air communal baths, male and female baths, of which are surrounded by gardens, as well as indoor baths. There are also private options for the guests, also with open-air and indoor variations. A luxurious Japanese kaiseki dinner is served in the dining room, featuring the area’s local beef, additionally, a traditional breakfast is also served in the mornings.
- Website: www.ryokan-sanga.co.jp
- Contact: +81752413251
- Address: Japan, 〒604-8074 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, 富小路通三条下ル
Sakanoue Hotel Kyoto
Sakaoue Hotel is a traditional ryokan that incorporates Kyoto elements into its interior. The accommodation is located in Gion, Higashiyama Ward in a lively yet peaceful area in Kyoto. Guest rooms display traditional Japanese styles, with tatami mat flooring and futon bedding, and a view of the gardens. Kyoto-style meals are served in the rooms where guests can enjoy the delicately prepared meals in privacy and comfort. Additionally, guests have the option to enjoy a private bath, which can accommodate a small group or family.
- Website: www.sakanoue.net
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- Address: Japan, 〒605-0072 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 祇園 下河原鷲尾町502
Sumiya Kiho-an is a traditional Japanese inn located in Kameoka Yunohana. It prides itself in its food service, delivering quality dishes to its guests. The traditional kaiseki dinner of the inn is done by professional chefs, having its Japanese cuisine prepared freshly and in a pristine manner.
It has open-air hot spring baths that can be enjoyed by men and women separately. An onsen area is also available for reservation so that families, friends, and those with tattoos can relax together exclusively. The ryokan also has some of its rooms feature private onsens. With its location, the inn is near attractions like the Kinkakuji Temple and the Nijo Castle, where guests can visit during their stay.
- Website: www.sumiya.ne.jp
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- Address: Miyanooku-２５番地 Hiedanocho Kakihana, Kameoka, Kyoto 621-0036, Japan
Syoenso Hozukawatei is a traditional Japanese inn located in Kameoka. The ryokan has some of its guest rooms feature open-air hot spring baths. Guests can also enjoy onsens, which are gender-segregated. Other relaxation treatments can also be spent at their sauna and footbaths. There are also rental baths that are available for private use. The inn is near top attractions of the area like Izumo Daijingu, Anaoji Temple, and the Kuwayama Shrine, which can be visited by guests during their stay.
- Website: www.syoenso.com
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- Address: Japan, 〒621-0034 Kyoto, Kameoka, 湯の花温泉
Founded in 1897, Togetsu-tei is a traditional Japanese inn that features Japanese cuisine in its top-class dinner, boasting an elegant display of food preparation and then served at the rooms of the guests. The inn also offers hot spring baths that can be enjoyed by men and women separately. Their onsen facilities are also flexible, as they have baths that can be rented for private use.
- Website: www.togetsutei.co.jp
- Contact: +81758711310
- Address: 54-4 Arashiyama Nakaoshitacho, Nishikyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-0004, Japan
Onsen Manners and Etiquette
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