Tawaraya Ryokan is a 300-year-old ryokan and is the oldest in Kyoto. Established in the Edo period, aristocrats frequented the inn for its excellent service. The inn has a reputation for treating its guests like royalty, which has been preserved to this day.

The inn provides personalized service, suitable to each person who stays at the hotel, leaving no space for compromising their quality of food and service.

In spite of this intimidating reputation, the inn radiates the comfort and hospitality of a welcoming environment, praised as a “home away from home”.

The 18 rooms have maintained their traditional Japanese elements, with some of the newer additions featuring a touch of modern design. The rooms ranging from 45,000 to 112,000 JPY per night.

Tawaraya Ryokan is located in the city center of Kyoto and is accessible from Tokyo Station.

The hotel is operating normally with safety measures in place and limited acceptance to prevent the spread of infection.

Is this place ryokan only or ryokan with an onsen?

Does this ryokan have private onsen (hot spring)?

Is there a communal shared public bath?

In or near

Price range (yen)
45,000 – 112,000

Tawaraya Ryokan

This is the most magical place I have ever been in my life. It's difficult to explain the level of attention to detail, service, and beauty of this place--it's just fundamentally different from any other hotel or ryokan I've experienced. The building itself has gorgeous architectural details, and is set up like a little jigsaw puzzle; each room is hidden away is such a way that you feel like you're the only person in the hotel. When you arrive, a hot bath is already drawn, waiting for you. Tea appears just when you might want it. The service is incredible, but never intrusive. Every detail of the experience, from the gorgeous meal to the beautiful woodwork to the light filtering through the leaves in the morning is just sublime.

For me, ryokan stays are all about service, and the staff here could not have been more helpful to us. They were so friendly and thoughtful throughout our stay. They gave us a lift to jigokudani (the snow monkey park) and even took us to the station by car at the end of our visit. The breakfast was delicious - including pork simmered in salted soya milk, egg with soy sauce, miso soup with clams and other delights. Contrary to some other reviews, our room was large - plenty of space for a family of four. The only minor negative points that I would mention are that (1) the bath isn't that nice here - flakes of black paint were peeling off and it just wasn't as good an experience as other onsens we have visited and (2) our room had no view at all - there wasn't even a way to see past the bamboo screen outside, making it all seem a bit claustrophobic at times. That said, I would recommend the place without hesitation due to the friendliness of the staff.

I actually tried to book with Shirume-which I stayed at my first trip to Kyoto and loved-but they were sadly booked up. The always friendly and helpful Tomoko actually recommended Tawaraya as the “most famous” ryokan in Kyoto whixh I found a bit surprising given how fantastic Shiraume was. The ryokan has no website or email. Reservations must be made via fax only. Given the time difference and language barrier this was not the easiest task to coordinate. But with some tenacity and follow-up I was able to schedule and confirm my 2 night stay at this lovely ryokan. Our first night was in the “older” section of the ryokan in a special suite. Everything from the outdoor garden, futon sleeping beds, the bamboo flooring and wooden bath (drawn by the staff) made the experience authentic and incredible. The Kaiseki dinner we ordered our first night was very good. Although not the best meal we head, it’s something to experience at least once in life. The second night we were moved to the “newer” annex of the ryokan, but again into a larger special suite. This also was incredible and did not disappoint. The second suite was a bit more “modern” but retained the same charm and comforts of the first. The ryokan is about an 8 minute walk from Nishiki Market and right down the street from a 300 year old soba restaurant. I would highly recommend Kobe Misono which is a 10 min walk from the ryokan and is quite simply the best teppanyaki I’ve ever experienced. Staff was helpful and incredibly accommodating. If you have the tenacity and the means, I would strongly recommend you book your Kyoto stay here. If I ever return to Kyoto for a 3rd visit I would certainly be torn between Tawaraya and Shiraume, but you cannot go wrong with either. Cheers!


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