Kyoto's most exclusive and famous Ryokan, Tawaraya is family owned and run and is a once in a lifetime experience. Even though the property is often fully booked, you will feel as if you are the only guest staying there...
At a Glance
Three-hundred year old Ryokan
Central location in downtown Kyoto
The bathrooms have heated floors and traditional wooden bathtubs
Japanese and English libraries with books specializing in Japanese art and design
Traditional tatami mat rooms with views only lovely gardens
Tawaraya is a three-century-old Ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, located in the heart of Kyoto. Here an authentic taste of Japanese life can be sampled in wonderful surroundings. Perhaps one of the finest Ryokans in the world, Tawaraya’s elegance and attention to even the tiniest detail is incredible.
All the rooms are traditional tatami-mat rooms, with simple but tasteful decorations and the heated floors in the bathrooms are a welcoming treat. Each year, one of the 18 rooms is chosen for refurbishment, making it a showcase for some fabulous new design. Breakfasts and dinners are brought to you in your room and the service is simply exceptional.
The Japanese and English libraries at Tawaraya are brimming with art and design books and have fascinating information about the history and evolution of Kyoto. Guests at this Ryokan have included the imperial family, overseas royalty and celebrities. Please note that early booking is highly recommended.
There are 18 Japanese-style rooms at Tawaraya categorised as bedrooms, small rooms and suites, and all have tatami mat flooring and wonderful large windows or doors overlooking the exquisite gardens. The bathrooms are luxurious and modern but still retain the traditional Cypress wood deep bathtubs for a wonderfully relaxing aromatic soak.
Children are welcome at Tawaraya where the personal service means families are very well looked after but there are no specific facilities.
Breakfast and dinner are served to you in your room at Tawaraya. There are two libraries (one Japanese and one English) with an impressive collection of books specializing in Japanese art and design. Spa treatments are also available for guests wanting to indulge in a bit of pampering.
The Tawaraya ryokan is well stocked with historical artifacts and meticulously curated references to the city so you can learn a lot about Kyoto while staying here; relax in one of the two libraries with their extensive collection of art and design books.
Location & Directions
Located in the heart of Kyoto, close to the business district and central shopping district of Shijo-Kawaramachi, within walking distance from the Imperial Palace.
When to go
The best and most popular times to visit Kyoto are the climatically stable seasons of spring (March to May) and autumn (late September to November). The highlight of spring is the cherry-blossom season, which usually arrives in Kyoto in early April. Bear in mind, though, that the blossoms are notoriously fickle, blooming any time from late March to mid-April. Fall is an equally good time to travel, with pleasant temperatures and soothing autumn colors, which usually peak between late October and mid-November. Be warned that Kyoto is crowded with domestic and international tourists during the cherry-blossom and autumn-foliage seasons.
Of course, you can visit Kyoto at any time of year, although the summer, from June to August, can be very hot and humid, and winter can be a little chilly for some people’s taste.