10 Best Scenic Onsen Hotels in Kyoto That You Will Want to Visit Again and Again
Kyoto is undeniably the best place in Japan to experience all things traditionally Japanese – whether it's admiring the beauty of Japanese temples and shrines, savoring Japanese cuisine, or taking part in generations-old cultural activities. Another part of Japanese culture that everyone should experience is Japan’s love of hot springs, also known as onsen. Not only are onsen the perfect way to relax after a long day, they also provide amazing health benefits. Below, we’ll introduce the 10 best onsen in Kyoto so that you can try out this quintessentially Japanese tradition right in Japan’s old capital!
Mar 31 2023
Onyado Nono Kyoto Shichijo Natural Hot Spring
Located in central Kyoto, Onyado Nono Kyoto Shichijo Natural Hot Spring is a hotel that provides traditional Japanese aesthetics at inexpensive prices. Their traditional Japanese decor is balanced out with Western conveniences like Western-style beds, flat-screen TVs, and Wi-Fi. This hotel is a part of Japan’s Dormy Inn hotels, a brand that receives high ratings from Japanese and international tourists alike.
Onyado Nono Kyoto Shichijo Natural Hot Spring provides guests with a variety of onsen, including indoor and outdoor onsen baths, a stone bath, waterfall shower bath, dry sauna, and even a Hinoki wood bath meditation area for men. The water used in this Kyoto onsen hotel uses simple alkaline spring water, which is said to help with fatigue. All of the baths are kept in pristine condition and have been tastefully decorated with world-famous symbols of Kyoto.
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Kyoto Umekoji Kadensho
Just a few stops away from Kyoto Station, Kyoto Umekoji Kadensho is another centrally located hotel with an abundance of onsen options. If you want to be surrounded by traditional Japanese aesthetics at every moment, this is the hotel for you. Their design has that distinct touch of classy Japanese minimalism, with wall-to-wall tatami flooring and shoji screen windows that tie the room together.
They have both indoor and open-air onsen that give you the chance to sit down and take in this Kyoto experience. There is also a lovely sauna and several private baths if you prefer more privacy. After you’ve thoroughly relaxed at the onsen, Kyoto Umekoji Kadensho even provides after-bath treats as part of the onsen ritual, with probiotic drinks and ice pops offered at the bathhouse.
For a much-needed immersion into Kyoto’s natural beauty, check out Fufu Kyoto. Popular among Japanese tourists, the grounds of this traditional hotel are filled with lush greenery that transform into pink cherry blossoms in the spring and shades of orange in autumn.
The Japanese garden tucked away from the rest of the hotel has a koi pond, stone paths, and a detached room where private yoga lessons are held. But if yoga’s not for you, you can also take part in cultural activities such as flower arrangement or tea ceremony lessons – all within the perimeter of the hotel. Guests can also enjoy the luxury of onsen baths at any time of day, as all of Fufu Kyoto’s rooms come with their own private cypress onsen baths.
The Westin Miyako Kyoto
Rich with relaxation options such as an indoor pool, a fitness center, and spa treatments, The Westin Miyako Kyoto is one of the most luxurious places to go to for onsen in Kyoto. Nestled in Kyoto’s hilly Higashiyama area, you’ll have plenty of chances to take in the splendid natural views. Since the hotel is a part of the Westin Hotels & Resorts brand, you can expect the upscale level of service they’re known for worldwide.
The Westin Miyako Kyoto’s restaurant and bar area lets you choose between buffet, French, and teppanyaki dining options. Their extensive spa facilities include a sauna and private baths, which use natural hot spring waters excavated from the hotel grounds. Make sure to gaze at the garden views when you’re taking a dip in their modern, semi-open-air onsen.
Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo
Conveniently located only 8 minutes away via train from Kyoto Station, Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo offers luxurious, modern accommodation right in the heart of Kyoto. As you might expect from the name, Mitsui Garden Hotels all across have unbeatable garden views, and the Kyoto Sanjo location is no exception.
A traditional-style garden wraps around the hotel and can be enjoyed from a few different areas, such as the hotel lobby, restaurant, and the large public onsen. The public onsen baths offer arguably the best garden view in all of the hotel. Guests can enjoy their privacy when using the baths, thanks to a bamboo fence that encompasses the garden’s statues, shrubs, and trees.
Japanese Ryokan Seryo
Located about 1 hour north of Kyoto Station, Japanese Ryokan Seryo might be off the beaten path but it has a lot going for it that makes it worth the stay. The area it's in has a few temples and shrines within a few minutes walk of each other. This Kyoto inn also provides 2 outdoor onsen baths accessible to all the guests, and Japanese-style rooms with private gardens and open-air baths.
Most rooms are decorated in a beautiful, traditional Japanese style, complete with tatami flooring. There’s also one Western-style guestroom if you prefer that aesthetic, and it also comes with a garden view. For dinner, head on to the inn’s dining room where they serve a multi-course kaiseki meal.
Hotel the Mitsui Kyoto
Not to be confused with the previously mentioned Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo, this hotel is located right next to the World Heritage Site, Nijo-jo Castle. The hotel has a gorgeous, modern style throughout with a few spots of Japanese elements. The traditional side of the hotel is best seen in the Shiki-no-Ma private dining and conference room, with its cypress wood walls and adjacent Japanese garden.
The hotel offers plenty of amenities, including a thermal spring spa, a private onsen with a garden space and relaxation area, a fully-equipped gym, and an extensive spa treatment menu. On-site cultural experiences are also available, such as a complementary curated art tour that shows off several historical pieces housed in the hotel, a wellness breathing session, and a tea ceremony lesson.
Kyo no Minshuku Ohara no Sato
If you’re looking for an escape away from the city, Kyo no Minshuku Ohara no Sato can provide that to you and more. Located about 1 hour away from Kyoto station in the mountainous Ohara Village, this minshuku, or Japanese-style private home, is best enjoyed in spring and winter when the full spectrum of natural beauty is on display.
Whether you’re sitting in this Kyoto home’s outdoor onsen or taking a stroll around the garden, the abundance of nature adds another level of peace and calm. Fresh vegetables harvested from this same garden are served in a healthy Japanese miso hotpot or nabe meal for dinner. They’ve been making miso for over a hundred years, so you know you’re in for some delicious food.
Sora Niwa Terrace Kyoto
Sora Niwa Terrace Kyoto is the newest hotel on this list, having been opened only in 2022. Despite being a newcomer, this hotel is already attracting a lot of guests because of what they have to offer. Their open-air rooftop bath, for example, is the best onsen in Kyoto to get panoramic views of the city’s skyline.
Their terrace area also has a hot spring water foot bath you can visit after long walks around Kyoto. Then at night, you can sit down, have a drink, and appreciate the night sky views of Kyoto at the lavishly decorated rooftop bar.
Kyoto Granbell Hotel
Located in Kyoto’s famous geisha district Gion, Kyoto Granbell Hotel combines traditional Japanese and modern elements into its architecture. Because of its location, the hotel is known for hosting maiko shows, which are unfortunately suspended until further notice. Previously, these shows allowed guests to watch dance performances and take pictures with apprentice geisha, known as maiko in Kyoto.
If you’re only interested in the onsen, however, Kyoto Granbell Hotel offers a modern public bath with views of a Japanese rock garden. The onsen is open until 1:00 AM, giving you plenty of time to soak in the hot waters. Their combined restaurant and bar area holds a breakfast buffet in the mornings and functions as a bar later on in the night.
Try Some of the Best Onsen in Kyoto Without Leaving Your Hotel
Whether it’s an indoor or outdoor onsen, or a private or public onsen, Kyoto is full of hotels that provide amazing ways for you to enjoy Japan’s famous hot springs. Forget about your day, settle down, and take a dip into the hot spring waters of Kyoto’s onsen for an unforgettable experience in Japan.
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.