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10 Recommended Hot Spring Hotels and Onsen in Kyoto

10 Recommended Hot Spring Hotels and Onsen in Kyoto

Date published: 8 June 2023

On a trip to Kyoto, visiting hot springs can be a great way to unwind after a day of exploring and to experience an essential part of Japanese “onsen” culture. So here we’ll look at 10 great hot spring hotels and onsen in Kyoto.

Main image: Booking.com

 
Table of Contents
  1. What is an onsen?
  2. 10 Recommended Hot Spring Hotels and Onsen in Kyoto
  3. Onsen Areas Near Kyoto
  4. Conclusion

What is an onsen?

Before we get to the good stuff though, there are a few words you need to familiarize yourself with!

  • Onsen: Literally “hot spring”, usually referring to baths that use running hot spring water as opposed to the springs themselves. These are public or shared baths, and most require full nudity, though some allow bathing suits.
  • Sento: A public or shared bath. These can look similar to onsen facilities, but use manually heated water instead of water heated naturally by hot springs.
  • Ryokan: A traditional Japanese inn. These often have their own onsen or sento, and the rooms are more traditional with tatami mats and futons.
  • Kashikiri: Literally “completely rented out”. This is the system where you can rent out a bath for a certain period of time, ensuring your privacy. This is a popular option for families and couples, or those who don’t want to get naked in front of strangers! Depending on the facility, renting a bath may incur charges, or may be free.
  • Tattoo / Irezumi: Tattoos and Traditional tattoos. Tattoos are not usually allowed at public baths in Japan, but are allowed for private baths.

For those concerned about privacy, as well as renting out a bath, many ryokan and onsen hotels have rooms with their own private baths. We'll make sure to note which ones do in our 10 recommendations below!

10 Recommended Hot Spring Hotels and Onsen in Kyoto

1. HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

First up is the stylish and spacious HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO. It first opened its doors as recently as 2020 and effortlessly brings together a modern style and a traditional atmosphere.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

This is an onsen hotel using hot spring water from Kyoto Nijo Onsen. It’s a great choice for first-time onsen goers, as their mixed-gender “Thermal Spring” bath requires guests to enter in their bathing suit.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

There is also the option to rent out the Private Onsen for 1-2 hours at an extra cost. This luxurious space includes a garden and living room area perfect for couples. This is also a good option for those with tattoos, as they are not allowed in the Thermal Spring.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

As well as the bathing facilities, HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO also has top-of-the-line spa and wellness services, and the entire hotel is beautifully styled with warm wood and inviting décor. The hotel’s garden was designed by Shunsaku Miyagi in a modern recreation of the site’s former purpose as the Mitsui residence, with the rooms themselves perfectly in-keeping with the tone. Some rooms even have wide open views of the neighboring Nijo Castle.

Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, mixed gender, tattoos prohibited, bathing suits required
  • Private Onsen: Rental available for 1-2 hours
  • Price range: 88,000 – 240,000 yen per night, 1 person
  • Dining: 1 restaurant, 2 café/bars
  • Languages: English, Japanese

2. Kyo no Minshuku Ohara no Sato

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Moving onto something more traditional, Kyo no Minshuku Ohara no Sato has been in business for over 40 years, and has cultivated a warm and welcoming space to take in Kyoto’s natural scenery.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

This is a “minshuku,” (guest house) which is a bit different to a ryokan. At a ryokan, there are typically set times that meals are served to you, and that the futons are placed or removed. However, at a minshuku, food is served in the dining area, and you look after the futons yourself. It is like a Japanese bed and breakfast. Bathrooms and toilets are shared.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Ohara no Sato has three different kinds of bath, an indoor bath (uchiburo), a half-outdoor bath (han-rotenburo), and a “goemonburo.” Here, the goemonburo is what sets it apart from other Kyoto onsen spots. It is an outdoor bath about 2 meters wide made with wood and metal. It fits around 4 people, and is surrounded by the trees and aesthetic Japanese garden.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

While there are no options for private rental (kashikiri) or rooms with separate baths, it is possible to do a “day trip,” and visit the baths with a meal included without staying the night. That is the perfect opportunity to try out something else they are known for: their delicious miso that they have been making for over 100 years! Many of their dishes include this signature miso.

Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, tattoos prohibited, bathing suits prohibited
  • Private Onsen: None
  • Price range: From 88,000 yen per night, 2 people
  • Dining: 1 restaurant
  • Languages: English, German, French, Japanese, Thai, Chinese

3. Japanese Ryokan Seryo

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Also a traditional Japanese accommodation, Japanese Ryokan Seryo (as the name suggests) is a ryokan. It has a gorgeous interior and exterior typical of Kyoto onsen with warmly lit tatami rooms. Instead of futons, though, Japanese Ryokan Seryo uses low beds for extra comfort.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

There is an indoor and outdoor bath, one of each for men and women. The hot springs are sourced from the north eastern valleys of Kyoto, and are equipped with an atmospheric “after-bath lounge” area to let the relaxation wash over your body.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

All rooms are equipped with a private toilet. Two rooms also have a shower, but the most luxurious options are the Sakura no ma and Kaede no ma suites that have their own private open-air baths (rotenburo). The baths overlook the beautiful Ohara mountains, adding to the relaxing atmosphere.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Japanese Ryokan Seryo also takes great pride in their cuisine, as they serve delightful vegetable Kaiseki dishes made with seasonal Kyoto vegetables as well as some home-grown varieties.

Everything is tied together by the serene Japanese style garden. Could there be a more serene location to while away your time?

Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, bathing suits prohibited
  • Private Onsen: In the Sakura no ma and Kaede no ma suites
  • Price range: From 75,080-144,000 yen per night, 2 people
  • Dining: 1 restaurant
  • Access: Free shuttle bus from JR Ohara Bus Station
  • Languages: English, Japanese

4. Yuno Yado Shoei

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Yuno Yado Shoei is a ryokan set in the historic district of Shimabara. It has traditional tatami rooms with minimalist décor, complete with modern private bathrooms with a clean aesthetic.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

By keeping things simple, Yuno Yado Shoei allows you to concentrate on relaxation. The baths are open all day from 6:45am-11:00pm, and include two open-air baths, an indoor bath, and a sauna.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

One of the highlights of this ryokan is their unique use of glossy black tiles made out of lava from the iconic Mt. Fuji itself.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

But as well as their beautiful baths, another asset of the ryokan is in their Kyoto specialty cuisine, known as “Kyo-Kaiseki.” Kyo-Kaiseki is made up of a lot of small dishes that change throughout the seasons, served up in the most beautiful ways imaginable. The ryokan has two restaurants, “Nishikikoji” and “Hanaguruma,” with dishes starting from 1,000yen .

Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, tattoos prohibited, bathing suits prohibited
  • Private Onsen: None
  • Price range: From 75,080-144,000 yen per night, 2 people
  • Dining: 2 restaurants
  • Languages: Japanese only
  • Yunoyado Shoei
    • Address 128 Nishi Shinyashiki Kaminocho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 600-8826
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Tambaguchi Station (JR Sagano Line / JR San-in Line)
      6 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

5. Yumoto Onsen OharaSansou

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Surrounded by the luscious greenery of Kyoto’s Sakyo Ward, Yumoto Onsen OharaSansou is one of those places that make you feel like you’re living in a dream. Every part of the ryokan directs your eye to the gardens and outdoor scenery, with large open windows and spacious outdoor baths.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

The rooms feature a simple Kyoto aesthetic, with tatami mats and futons. The bathrooms are shared, but the rooms are equipped with TVs, wifi, and air conditioning. The wooden deck overlooking the garden is not to be missed, and you can choose from western or tatami seating for meals – though the tatami seating arguably has the best view!

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

There is a total of seven onsen baths, indoor and outdoor, which switch between men-only and women-only depending on the time of day. Each one is just as gorgeous as the last, with traditional wood, bamboo, and stone tiles decorating the areas. There is a kashikiri bath that can be rented for 2,000 yen/hour.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

As for the food, here it’s as fresh and local as it gets, as their pride and joy is their very own home-grown rice that they recommend especially for breakfast. All the ingredients are highly seasonal and local, right down to their own homemade miso, too, which is especially delicious in a winter bowl of nabe hotpot.

Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, tattoos prohibited, bathing suits prohibited
  • Private Onsen: One, reservations required, 2,000 yen/hour.
  • Price range: From 36,300 yen per night, 1 person
  • Dining: 2 restaurant areas serving breakfast and dinner

6. Ryokan Chinsen-Rou

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Ryokan Chinsen-Rou is a ryokan with a traditional aesthetic set in the quiet area of Miyama, far from Kyoto’s city center.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Each room has a peaceful river view and is fitted with traditional tatami mats and futons. Most rooms have a private washroom, except for the old-style rooms on the second floor. There is also a comfy shared lounge area with a cozy wood-burning stove.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Surrounded by the mountains, the food here is not to be missed, as their vegetables are harvested from the nearby area. This means the food is highly seasonal, and you may get a chance to try vegetables that are harder to find elsewhere, such as fukinoto and warabi. The menu also features local meats and fish, as well as homemade miso and pickled sides.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Here you’ll find an indoor bath and an outdoor bath. The indoor bath uses heated spring water, while the outdoor bath is an onsen overlooking the river and trees below. You can also visit the onsen and have a meal without staying overnight for a set price.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)
Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, please inquire about tattoos and bathing suits
  • Private Onsen: None.
  • Price range: From 22,770 yen per night, 1 person
  • Dining: 1 restaurant area serving breakfast and dinner
  • Access: About 1.25 hours from central Kyoto

7. Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen is great at combinations. It’s the perfect mix of peaceful countryside atmosphere without being too far from central Kyoto, and combines a spacious and modern style with traditional Japanese aesthetic.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

There are six different types of room, each with a unique style. All rooms have western-style beds and a private bathroom, and some even have their own private open-air bath. The lobby is a warm and inviting space filled with wood and tatami.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

The baths and gardens are stunning, with delicate lighting in the evening. There is an indoor and outdoor onsen for men and women, and a kashikiri private bath for 3,500 yen per 50 minutes. Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen also has great spa facilities with massages and face care courses.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

The food here is just as stylish as you would expect from the décor, with artistic and seasonal kaiseki meals prepared by the chef. The food is served in private dining rooms so you can enjoy the food in peace!

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)
Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, please inquire about tattoos and bathing suits
  • Private Onsen: One, reservations required, 3,500 yen/50 min.
  • Price range: From 53,000 yen per night, 1 person
  • Dining: 1 restaurant area serving breakfast and dinner
  • Access: 50 min. by car or 1 hr. by public transport to Kyoto Station.

8. Shoenso Hozugawatei

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Despite its distinctly modern exterior, Shoenso Hozugawatei is filled with traditional touches, simply elevated with modern comforts.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Shoenso Hozugawatei is one of the few ryokan on our list that has an option to choose between western style rooms with beds or Japanese style rooms with futons. All rooms have their own bathroom, and many have indoor or outdoor private baths.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

There are four different types of shared bath here, with one indoors and the rest outdoors. The “cypress bath” includes an elegant mist sauna, while the “medicinal bath” has a gorgeous waterfall feature. There are two kashikiri private baths for 5,000 yen per 50 minutes. There is even a cute bath rest space with interesting traditional cultural objects.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

The food features a delicious kaiseki menu, with the option of seasonal, tempura, sushi, or sukiyaki kaiseki. Each type features local ingredients and seasonal flair.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)
Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, please inquire about tattoos and bathing suits
  • Private Onsen: Two, reservations required, 5,000 yen/50 min.
  • Price range: From 48,400 yen per night, 1 person
  • Dining: 1 restaurant area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Access: 45 min. by car or 55 hr. by public transport to Kyoto Station.
  • Shoenso Hozugawatei
    • Address Hiedanocho Ashinoyama 1-4, Kameoka, Kyoto, 621-0034
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Namikawa Station (JR Sagano Line / JR San-in Line)

    Vacancy search, reservation

    Check with our partner site as the latest rates, rate details, and guest room requirements may vary.

9. Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Taking quite a different stylistic approach, Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto (henceforth Suiran) was originally constructed as a summer residence during the Meiji Restoration. It features bright wooden interiors in the shared spaces that are contrasted by the carpet or wooden hardwood floors in the guest rooms.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

One thing that is certainly correct about the name is “luxury.” Every corner of this spacious hotel feels opulent, from the wide open rooms with golden wall decorations to the luscious mountain and forest views. This has all the benefits you would expect of a luxury hotel, with the choice of western beds or futons, and gorgeous bathrooms with private baths.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Here, there are no shared baths. Instead, 17 of their 39 rooms have their own private onsen baths. If you want an even bigger outdoor bath, the Private Spa is also available for bookings.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

One of the highlights of Suiran is its luxury dining opportunities, each with stunning views of the surroundings. There are three on-site eateries, Kyo-Suiran serving Japanese cuisine in a French style, Café Hassui with afternoon tea, and Teppanyaki "Kanzan" serving teppanyaki right in front of you. As if that weren’t luxurious enough, you can even book a special private room at Kyo-Suiran.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)
Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: None
  • Private Onsen: Choose a room with attached bath, or use an onsite Spa Treatment Room (appointment required)
  • Price range: From 95,700 yen per night, 2 people
  • Dining: 2 restaurants and 1 cafe
  • Access: 30 min. by car or by public transport to Kyoto Station.

10. Bettei Kamogawa

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Bettei Kamogawa takes on a moodier and more modern appearance than the rest on our list, with an elegant rooftop terrace overlooking the historic city below.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

There are three different types of guest room, each featuring their own private bathroom and western style beds, but with sophisticated Japanese motifs throughout. There are also two lounges, the Rooftop Lounge and the Premium Guest Lounge. Both can be enjoyed day or night, and the rooftop lounge even features a bar and comforting foot bath!

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

Other than the rooftop foot bath, there are also two open-air baths, an indoor bath, and Jacuzzi baths, each with a relaxing and refined atmosphere.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)

While Bettei Kamogawa doesn’t offer dinner at the hotel, there is plenty of delicious Kyoto cuisine nearby, and for breakfast, you are given a special “Koto no Tamatebako” Bento Box that you can enjoy in your room or on the picturesque rooftop, or you can order a meal to your room.

(Image: Booking.com)
(Image: Booking.com)
Accommodation overview
  • Shared baths: Onsen, gender separated, please inquire about tattoos and bathing suits
  • Private Onsen: None
  • Price range: From 53,550 yen per night, 2 people
  • Dining: None. Breakfast included. Rooftop bar.

Onsen Areas Near Kyoto

As well as these gorgeous onsen opportunities within these accommodations, there are plenty of interesting areas nearby to go onsen hopping, too. Many of the onsen baths allow day trip visits, so you can head there and then head back to Kyoto for the night. Take a look at some of the options below.

Conclusion

Hopefully this gives you a good idea of the amazing hot spring opportunities in and around Kyoto! If you’re planning a trip to Kyoto and the surrounding area, it might be a good idea to consider a JR WEST All Area Pass, which may make your travels cheaper and easier.

Let us know on Instagram if you find yourself in one of these spots by tagging @livejapan_official!

Written by:

Cassandra Lord

Cassandra Lord

Cassandra Lord is a British journalist specialising in food, travel, and culture, and has been in Japan for five years after studying Japanese at Edinburgh University for four. With a year of experience as co-editor for LIVE JAPAN, Cassandra has since transitioned to freelance writing, contributing to a variety of platforms including The Japan Times and Tokyo Weekender. During her time in Japan she has visited 25 prefectures, with a goal to eventually visit all 47. She also manages her own YouTube channel, "Cassandra Lord", which is dedicated to all things related to Japanese culinary culture. She also works as a translator and photographer. Website: https://cassandralord.com/. YouTube: @cassandra_lord. Instagram: @incassieskitchen.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

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