Kyoto, Japan

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 specialising in Japanese art and design

  • Traditional tatami mat rooms with views only lovely gardens

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Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

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. Autumn is an equally good time to travel, with pleasant temperatures and soothing autumn colours, 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.

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Insider's View

For more of an authentic experience, request one of the older rooms with the futon set up rather than the traditional beds in the newest rooms.

To start planning your holiday to Tawaraya


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...

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.

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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 specialising 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 artefacts 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.



Victoria Douglas (Staff)

This has to be one of my favourite Ryokans throughout the trip, although it does come at a price! From the outside, it is nothing special but as soon as I walked in I could tell this was one of Kyoto's best addresses! Tawaraya feels very polished with its stunning bathrooms, larger than usual rooms but somehow manages to keeps the authenticity of a Ryokan.


  • Kaiseki Dinner with Geishas

    Enjoy the height of sophistication in Japanese society, having a sublime Kaiseki dinner made up of many delicious courses, accompanied by entertainment from two Geishas whilst you enjoy your meal.

  • Nara - The Ancient Capital

    Spend an afternoon exploring Nara, the ancient capital of Japan from 710 - 784, before the capital was moved to Heain-kyo (present day Kyoto), with its freely roaming herds of deer, ancient streets and spectacular temples.

  • Rural Arashiyama

    A guided day in Arashiyama district, located at the base of Kyoto's western mountains. Take a boat trip on the Hozugawa River before discovering Zen Buddhist temples and the famous bamboo grove, one of Japan's most iconic scenic areas.

  • Shopping in Kyoto

    Enjoy a shopping trip around Kyoto. Wander down the picturesque streets of Gian where you can visit local handicraft and pottery shops.

  • Tea Ceremony in Kyoto

    Take part in a traditional Tea Ceremony and gain an insight into this ancient art form and key part of Japanese culture.

  • The Art of Zen in Kyoto

    Spend a day discovering the traditional Japanese experiences of Zen meditation as you learn about the history of Zen before trying your hand at this spiritual form of meditation.

Location & directions

Kyoto, Japan

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.

How to get there

12-hour International flight to Tokyo International Airport-Haneda, followed by a 2-hour Shinkansen (bullet train) journey to Kyoto. Tawaraya is 15-minutes by car from the train station.

Speak to our specialists 020 3993 8860

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