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 specializing 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. 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.

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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.

Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Tawaraya or take a look at our itineraries to Kyoto


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 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.



Victoria Douglas (Staff)

This has to be one of my favorite 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.


  • A Day in Kyoto

    Today, explore the gorgeous 'Silver Pavilion' and stroll along the Philosopher Walk. Make a quick visit at Heian shrine before taking a tour of Nijo Castle. End the day with some free time to explore Nishijin Textile Center or the Teramachi.

  • Ancient Nara Day Trip

    Make a trip to Nara and visit the Deer Park, Todaiji and Kasuga Grand Shrine. In the afternoon, wander in the old town of Naramachi, with its charming Edo period architecture. If time permits, explore the ancient Gangoji Temple.

  • Cooking Sun Afternoon lzakaya Class

    A three and a half hour cooking class in mid-town Kyoto learning the basics of lzakaya cooking. The class takes place in a beautiful small wooden townhouse, called a machiya.

  • Cooking Sun Morning Bento Class

    A three-hour cooking class in downtown Kyoto learning the art of preparing a traditional Japanese bento meal, including classics such as sushi, tempura and miso soup. The class takes place in a beautiful wooden townhouse, called a machiya.

  • Geisha and Samurai Dressing

    Learn the art of Geisha and Sumurai Dressing, with all the intricate knots and how to properly wear the ancient costumes.

  • Gion by Night

    Embark on a Gion district night walk either with the guide or on your own and if you are lucky, catch sight of the geishas' in beautiful kimonos as they go about on their evening activities.

  • Half Day Kyoto Exploration

    Visit Kiyomizu Temple and admire the outstanding architecture. Head to the 'pottery street' of Kyoto.

  • Half Day Private Tour of Kyoto and Japanese Tea Ceremony

    This afternoon enjoy a half day private tour of Kyoto taking in some of the highlights providing a great introduction to this fascinating city.

  • Japanese Calligraphy

    Spend some time learning from a master, with a visit to a traditional tea house where you will learn the ancient art of Japanese Calligraphy.

  • Maiko Performance and Traditional Dinner

    This evening, enjoy a traditional Japanese dinner and watch a performance by a Maiko, an apprentice of the Geisha.

  • Morning Cooking class in Kyoto

    While in downtown Kyoto, in a quaint little machiya, join in on a traditional Japanese cooking class.

  • Nishiki Market Tour with Sushi Making

    Experience the whole sushi creation process with this unique cooking experience, from an educational market excursion to mastering the art of sushi-making yourself.

  • Private Sushi Class with Nishiki Food Market

    Shop for ingredients at the historical Nishiki Market, while tasting different Japanese foods. Afterwards, head to the studio for a private cooking class, guided by experienced instructors, before enjoying your culinary creations for lunch.

  • Private Tour of Central Kyoto

    Today, rather than focussing on historical sites of the city you will have the chance immerse in the cultural side of the city visiting markets and the stunning and beautifully preserved area of Gion.

  • Private Tour of Nara

    Today venture outside of Kyoto and explore the ancient city of Nara, the capital of Japan in the 8th century, with a plethora of historic sites to see.

  • Private Tour of Western Kyoto

    Today you will meet your guide in the morning to explore some of the key highlights of Western Kyoto including Nijo Castle, the Golden Temple and Ryoanji Temple.

  • 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

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

  • Tour of Western Kyoto

    Make your way to Western Kyoto and explore the beautiful bamboo forest in Arashiyama. Relax in a scenic train ride before taking a traditional raft down the Hozugawa River. Afterwards, continue the exploration of the iconic Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine.

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.

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Call us on 858 523 9000 to start planning your vacation to Tawaraya or take a look at our itineraries to Kyoto

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