10 Ryokan Inns in Kyoto Perfect for Families with Children!
- Published: Jul 21 2023
Looking for a family-friendly place in Japan that is rich in history, culture, and cuisine? Then look no further than Kyoto! This ancient capital is one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations with plenty of things to do and see, including historical sites, temples, museums, and much more. Add beautiful seasonal scenery and a unique culinary culture, and you have a city that the whole family won’t want to miss. To help you navigate this city with your children in tow, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best kid-friendly ryokan in Kyoto. Use it to find the perfect base for sightseeing in one of the most fascinating places in Japan!
Why It's Worth Staying at a Kyoto Ryokan
Kyoto’s traditional ryokan may often seem too luxurious and pricey compared to regular hotels. However, with many overseas guests seeking to experience the unique charms of Japan, more casual and accessible ryokan have become widely available in recent years. Many of these places offer yukata to wear or even have Japanese gardens, allowing guests to feel as if they’ve traveled back in time to ancient Japan. Some inns also provide services such as in-room dining and private baths that families with children will surely appreciate. So, take a look through our list and take the time to find the ryokan that best suits your needs.
10 Ryokan in Kyoto Perfect for Travelers with Children
1. Kyoto Higashiyamaso
This inn is located only a 5-minute walk from Kiyomizu-dera, facing the Kiyomizuzaka approach to the temple and surrounded by Kyoto’s traditional townscape scenery. Kyoto Higashiyamaso is ideal for those visiting the Higashiyama area and guests hoping to enjoy a soak in a large stone bath with breathtaking views of a seasonal Japanese garden. Kyoto Higashiyamaso is also very welcoming to kids, offering fun activities such as children lucky draws.
The rooms are exceptionally spacious and offer views that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Some accommodations have large windows through which you can see the Yasaka Pagoda or observe the Gozan no Okuribi (Bonfire of the Five Mountains), a Kyoto summer tradition when fires are lit in the shapes of various characters along the five mountains surrounding the city. Extra spacious rooms for large families and groups are also available. Some rooms come with private bathrooms.
The on-site restaurant emphasizes local ingredients and seasonal dishes, utilizing rice and vegetables grown in Kyoto. Guests can enjoy healthy and traditional obanzai (home-style Kyoto dishes) for breakfast and savor more traditional Kyoto cuisine for dinner. After filling up on delicious food, take a stroll down a small alley located on the inn grounds leading to a large communal bath made of stone and rocks with a Japanese ambiance. The sound of a gently flowing waterfall and the soft lighting provide a relaxing and tranquil experience perfect for relieving travel fatigue.
2. Kyo no Minshuku Ohara no Sato
At Kyo no Minshuku Ohara no Sato, guests can experience the Japanese countryside and enjoy the inn's miso nabe hot pot made from a recipe that has been passed down for over 100 years. Relaxation awaits in the open-air hot spring bath with scenic views of Japanese nature. Families with small children will also surely appreciate the friendly and attentive staff.
Guests can enjoy both an outdoor and indoor hot spring bath at this facility. The water is colorless and transparent, and its mineral content makes it very gentle on the skin, providing a pleasant and relaxing bathing experience. The springs are said to be particularly suitable for recovering from injuries or illnesses. Additionally, the hydrogen carbonate ions in the water help soften keratin, making your skin feel smooth and refreshed after each dip.
For dinner, guests can indulge in the aforementioned hot pot made with homegrown vegetables and locally-sourced chicken. The dish contains no artificial additives, allowing you to fully appreciate the rich flavors of the miso and the rest of the ingredients.
The inn’s garden boasts one of the most beautiful landscapes in Japan, including stunning flowers that bloom yearly and a majestic 150-year-old mountain cherry tree representing the abundant blessings of Ohara’s nature and mountains. Come to Ohara no Sato to experience the picturesque beauty of a Kyoto mountain village.
3. Hifumi Ryokan
Despite being just a 3-minute walk from Kyoto Station in the heart of the city, Hifumi Ryokan offers traditional Japanese-style accommodations with a nostalgic atmosphere featuring spacious tatami straw-mat rooms. It’s an ideal space for travelers with children.
The tatami flooring creates a calm and traditional Japanese ambiance. Guests can choose from three different room sizes, and for families, the 10-tatami (18 sqm) or the 7.5-tatami (12.7 sqm) rooms are especially recommended. With such ample space, changing diapers and co-sleeping with your kids should be a breeze.
This inn serves traditional Japanese cuisine every day. Dinner features kama-meshi rice cooked in a pot with various ingredients, as well as seasonal Kyoto dishes served "kaiseki" course meal style. For breakfast, guests can choose from two options: tofu ankake (tofu in dashi broth with various toppings) or rice porridge with "yuba" tofu skin. The front desk is open 24/7, and staff members who speak both English and Japanese are always available to assist you.
There are also convenience stores and shopping malls nearby, and the accessible toilets make Hifumi Ryokan a great destination for all travelers.
4. Gion Ryokan Karaku
Located just a 15-minute walk from Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Gion Ryokan Karaku is situated in one of the most popular areas of Kyoto with easy access to Gion and Higashiyama. And yet, it manages to provide a serene and quiet atmosphere for all its guests. Additionally, the ryokan offers a library stocked with children's picture books, making it a popular destination among guests traveling with kids.
The spacious accommodations all feature tatami flooring, giving families plenty of room to spend a relaxing time together. Four types of rooms are available, with the special Japanese-style penthouse offering a spectacular view of the Higashiyama mountains and the Kyoto cityscape. In addition, this suite also comes with a private scenic bath, perfect for some family time with a view.
The traditional Kyoto-style breakfast consists of specialties such as yudofu (hot tofu), six types of obanzai, grilled fish, and Japanese-style omelets with dashi broth. The dinner is also very popular thanks to its abundant use of traditional Kyoto vegetables.
The front desk is available 24/7, ensuring a comfortable stay. The ryokan also has a library with a reading space where guests can freely browse various magazines, picture books, and tourist information about Kyoto. Additionally, the ryokan offers a luggage delivery service from the station or airport, making it easy to sightsee Japan’s ancient capital without worrying about your belongings.
Located in the heart of the Arashiyama district, Ranzan is said to stand on the site of an imperial villa built around 700 – 800 AD. The facility features a stunning garden that showcases the traditional ideas of Japanese beauty. On top of that, there are many historical sites in the surrounding area, including the Tenryu-ji Temple World Heritage Site, Daikaku-ji Temple, Nison-in Temple, and Jojakko-ji Temple.
There are a total of 40 rooms at Ranzan including 12 singles, 22 twins, and 6 Japanese-style rooms, each with a different layout. During your stay, you can sing your heart out at the hotel karaoke room or enjoy some board games with your family to keep the kids entertained.
At the on-site restaurant Keiga, you can enjoy an authentic Japanese-style breakfast with dishes such as yudofu and grilled fish. For dinner, indulge in a luxurious kaiseki meal made from Kyoto's finest ingredients, and around noon, taste the spirit of Japan with a lunch served in a traditional wooden bento box or even more kaiseki cuisine.
As you’d expect from such a historical location, the hotel's inner courtyard garden is quite stunning and varied, reflecting the four seasons at Arashiyama. Make sure to stop by and relax by feeling the gentle sunlight and a refreshing breeze on your face. There is also a large public bath available at Ranzan, where you can warm both your body and soul while soaking up the Kyoto atmosphere.
6. Gion Kyoka
This lodging is located in a renovated teahouse from the Taisho era (1912 – 1926). Its rooms are designed in a traditional Kyoto townhouse style while preserving the charm of the original structure. Each accommodation is furnished with functional and beautiful Nordic furniture that harmonize with the Japanese-style atmosphere, as well as a cypress wood bath.
Situated a 3-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Station on the Keihan Line and a 7-minute walk from Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line, this hotel is convenient for exploring the famous Gion geisha quarter and other lively Kyoto districts. Furthermore, its proximity to attractions such as Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple makes it an excellent choice for family vacations and sightseeing.
Four rooms in total are available, each one decorated in traditional Japanese colors to represent one of the four seasons. Among them, the Japanese-style deluxe twin room is the largest, allowing guests to really take in the stylish, invigorating atmosphere of a traditional Kyoto townhouse.
A short 5-minute walk along the old streets of Kyoto will bring you to Gion Tsubaki, the inn’s affiliated restaurant serving traditional Kyoto cuisine for breakfast and dinner.
All rooms are equipped with a cypress Japanese-style bathroom where you can relax and rest after a day of sightseeing around Kyoto among the beauty and warmth of natural Japanese wood. Another highlight of this facility is that it provides you with all the necessary amenities during your stay.
7. Toshiharu Ryokan
Built in 1909 and designated as an Important Cultural Property, this small inn with only eight rooms preserves the classic decor and layout of a Kyoto machiya townhouse. It’s only a 3-minute walk from Gojo Station and one subway stop from JR Kyoto Station, making it an excellent base for sightseeing.
The tatami rooms at Toshiharu Ryokan all boast a design that preserves the atmosphere of traditional Japanese houses from a century ago. In the evening, the beautiful inner courtyard is lit up and looks otherworldly through the old-fashioned frosted glass windows.
The hotel provides a hearty breakfast with Kyoto-style dishes such as freshly-cooked rice, miso soup, grilled fish, rolled omelets with dashi broth, and seasonal dishes made with Kyoto vegetables. Although dinner is not available at the inn, there are many delicious restaurants in the vicinity where you can enjoy the flavors of Japan’s ancient capital.
The shared baths are clean and spacious, allowing guests to relax and unwind. The baths can also be reserved for private use, so if you want to spend a relaxing time with just your family, this is the place to do it.
8. Fujiya Ryokan
Fujiya Ryokan is just a 3-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station, making it a convenient base for sightseeing. It offers a traditionally Japanese, homely atmosphere and hospitality paired with a warm welcome by Lily, the adorable hotel cat that all children love.
The Japanese-style rooms are very tranquil, which is something that’s not easy to find in the heart of Kyoto. The bathroom is shared and on a rotating schedule, but the koyamaki (Japanese umbrella pine bath) makes it all worth it with its pleasant woody fragrance that will help you relax after a day of traveling.
A delicious Japanese-style breakfast featuring the unique flavors of Japan is served in the guestrooms. You will also find many restaurants, ramen shops, sushi places, and izakaya taverns in the area, making the hotel perfect for gourmet travelers.
Helpful Kyoto maps can be easily obtained from the lobby, while various tourist guidebooks and manga comics can be picked up from the hotel reading corner and enjoyed in your room. However, you won’t need guides to get to famous attractions such as Kyoto Tower or Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, which are located just a 2-minute and 4-minute walk, respectively, from the hotel.
9. Seikoro Ryokan
Seikoro, founded in 1831, is a wooden ryokan on the east bank of the Kamo River flowing through the heart of Kyoto. It’s located near the Gojo Bridge, just a 2-minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station and a 7-minute drive from JR Kyoto Station. Also close by are Sanjusangen-do Temple and Kiyomizu-dera Temple (just a 5-minute drive away), while the Kyoto National Museum and Shichijo Station are accessible in 10 minutes on foot. With the added convenience of free parking, Seikoro is perfect for families traveling by car.
The spacious traditional Japanese-style rooms are equipped with a zataku low table and traditional futon mattresses. More luxurious suites have wooden beds and offer a beautiful view of the inn’s Japanese garden from the balcony. For an additional fee, guests can also rent out and wear a junihitoe, a ceremonial robe of a Japanese court lady, to really connect with the ancient heritage of Kyoto.
The hotel bathtubs are made from 400-year-old koyamaki, considered the best possible traditional material for bathrooms in Japan. The unique color and fragrance of the wood create an elegant and soothing experience that will relax your body and mind after a long day of sightseeing.
Both breakfast and dinner are served in the room. You can choose between Japanese or Western style meals in the morning, while for dinner, you get to indulge in authentic Kyoto cuisine.
10. Ryokan KANADE
Ryokan KANADE is an inn with a beautiful Japanese garden that showcases the individual charms of Japan’s four seasons. A lot of thought and detail has gone into every aspect of this establishment, from the Kyoto-style stone garden to the magnificently beautiful ikebana arrangements and furnishings. The inn is also conveniently located just a 6-minute walk from Heian Jingu Shrine and a 13-minute walk from Nanzen-ji Temple.
All the guestrooms are equipped with beautifully lacquered, luxurious zataku low tables. The rooms facing the Japanese garden additionally provide a soothing and relaxing view of the tranquil greenery outside, which all guests can enjoy up close while wearing complimentary yukata.
There are three private open-air baths on the rooftop, each with a different view. Families and couples can enjoy the Kyoto sky at their preferred time, whether it be at sunset, sunrise, or any other time of the day. The Kyoto kaiseki course, carefully prepared by the head chef using fresh fish and local vegetables, is tailored to the guests' needs and tastes. Forget the hustle and bustle of busy tourist attractions and spend a luxurious time at this hidden oasis of relaxation.
Ryokan and Hotels for a Relaxing, Fun-Filled Stay in Kyoto
Kyoto, one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations, is a constant delight with its mix of traditional Japanese streetscapes and modern, cutting-edge facilities. But to experience the best of Kyoto, you have to lean into its old-timey side and book a room at a ryokan. Not only will you experience the height of Japanese hospitality there, typical ryokan amenities such as tatami mats that that children love to play on, healthy and traditional in-room dining, as well as private baths and complimentary yukata make these places perfect for families who want to enjoy Japan at their own speed. Come down to Kyoto and spend a relaxing time at a ryokan!
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.