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12 Best Places to Stay in Kyoto in the Fall: Dreamy Hotels & Ryokan for Autumn Colors

12 Best Places to Stay in Kyoto in the Fall: Dreamy Hotels & Ryokan for Autumn Colors

Last updated: 12 October 2023

Kyoto’s iconic maples, ginkgos, and cherry trees erupt into a breathtaking symphony of reds, oranges, and golds, transforming the city into a living canvas of seasonal magic. To embrace this natural spectacle at its fullest, selecting the right place to stay becomes more than a decision—it becomes a part of the experience.

In our pursuit of the ultimate autumn foliage immersion, we've ventured through the heart of Kyoto's most captivating districts, uncovering accommodations that not only provide a place to rest but elevate the very essence of fall. From the historic Kiyomizu area to the tranquil charm of Arashiyama, from the elegant streets of Gion to the vibrant alleys of Sanjo and the serene Sakyo area, each locale offers a unique vantage point to enjoy Kyoto's seasonal transformation.

Here is our curated collection of ten accommodations that serve as gateways to Kyoto's autumnal enchantment. From traditional ryokans that whisper of centuries past to contemporary accommodations that blend seamlessly with the landscape, these are not just places to sleep, but immersive havens that capture the city's soul during its most poetic season.

(Main image: Heihachi Tea House Inn via Booking.com)

Table of Contents
  1. Kiyomizu Area: Views of Kyoto City right by Kiyomizu Temple
  2. Arashiyama Area: Luxury hotels amidst serene surroundings
  3. Sanjo and Gion Area: Timeless elegance and a hard-to-beat central location
  4. Sakyo Ward Area: Away from the Hustle and Bustle

Kiyomizu Area: Views of Kyoto City right by Kiyomizu Temple

Staying in the Kiyomizu-dera area during autumn offers an immersive encounter with Kyoto's fall enchantment. Beyond the enchanting autumn colors and captivating evening light-up event at Kiyomizu-dera, this locale presents a comprehensive experience that marries natural beauty with urban charm. You won’t be merely observing but instead actively engaging in Kyoto's autumn narrative, from the stunning interplay of rooftops, foliage, and mountains, to the views of Kyoto city below. From bustling streets adorned with autumnal tones to elevated perspectives that unveil the city's essence, every moment spent here is an invitation to partake in the singular magic of Kyoto in fall.

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu: A Serene Luxury Retreat Amidst Higashiyama's Vibrant Foliage

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu on the lush hills of Higashiyama offers a serene escape that perfectly complements the captivating beauty of the autumn season. This boutique gem is uniquely positioned, offering guests a panoramic view of the iconic Toji Temple, and the vibrant tapestry of fall foliage that envelops the entire Kyoto city.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Reconstructed from what was once Kiyomizu Elementary School, which dates back to 1933, the hotel's minimalist Japanese design, and the original unique blend of Japanese-Western aesthetics integrates seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, providing an authentic and immersive experience. The rooms act as serene retreats, framed with an earthy color palette, as well as expansive windows that frame the captivating panorama. Several facilities are also available for guests, including a private healing bath, a fitness gym, a terrace, and a guest lounge where you can enjoy complimentary snacks and drinks.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Situated in the heart of Kyoto's autumnal wonder, The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu stands as a tranquil oasis, offering an escape that is both visually stunning and spiritually rejuvenating.

NOHGA HOTEL KIYOMIZU KYOTO: Contemporary design with traditional charm by Kiyomizu temple

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

For those seeking a fusion of modern luxury and traditional charm, NOHGA HOTEL KIYOMIZU KYOTO beckons with its artistic ambiance and stunning vistas. Situated just a stone's throw away from Kiyomizu-dera, this boutique hotel seamlessly integrates Kyoto's rich cultural heritage with contemporary design elements.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

What truly distinguishes NOHGA HOTEL is its commitment to supporting Kyoto’s traditions, whether this be food, art, music, or the art of mindfulness. The hotel itself is adorned with an array of captivating artworks, creating a dynamic and inspiring environment for guests. There is also a Meditation room where guests can join a 30-minute session to feel the seasons, days, and to look within. There is also a list of curated experiences prepared by the hotel in the comfort of your own room, such as aroma blending, matcha making, and pour-over coffee. As autumn transforms the city into a kaleidoscope of warm hues, the hotel's elevated terrace offers an unparalleled view of the surrounding landscape, allowing visitors to savor the seasonal transformation.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

NOHGA HOTEL is not just a place to stay; it's a living gallery of art, culture, and nature, making it an extraordinary choice for immersing oneself in Kyoto's autumnal allure. Looking for something edgy? This is the place for you.

Fufu Kyoto: The epitome of traditional luxury with touches of elegance and understated charm

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Fufu Kyoto stands as a testament to Kyoto's cultural heritage while seamlessly blending modern comforts with nature's splendor. What sets Fufu Kyoto apart is its meticulous attention to detail and personalized service. Each room is a masterpiece of design, embracing a fusion of traditional Japanese aesthetics and contemporary elegance. The hotel's expansive gardens are transformed into a sanctuary of color during autumn, where guests can stroll amidst the vivid foliage and unwind in private onsen baths surrounded by the season's beauty. Expect roomy, elegant rooms, with your own tub to soak in, designed with relaxation in mind.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

The culinary journey at Fufu Kyoto is another aspect that makes it extraordinary. Guests can savor the finest in Japanese and international cuisine, with each dish artfully crafted to delight both the palate and the eye. Dining becomes a sensory exploration that mirrors the city's transformation, and exceeds expectations of what one might expect from a luxury hotel.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Fufu Kyoto is a holistic experience that goes beyond mere accommodation. It's a harmonious symphony of design, nature, and culinary excellence. This accommodation is also highly rated for couples.

  • Fufu Kyoto
    • Address 41 Nanzenji Kusagawacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8437
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Keage Station (Tozai Line)
      8 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

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

Arashiyama Area: Luxury hotels amidst serene surroundings

Apart from being known for the famed Bamboo Grove, Arashiyama is also one of the most beautiful autumn spots in Kyoto. The mountains turn into shades of red, yellow, and orange during autumn, with the autumn colors extending to the temples and shrines around Arashiyama including Tenryu-ji Temple, Nonomiya Shrine, and Ryoanji, to name a few. You’ll also find scenic moss gardens that come alive in autumn. The Sagano Romantic Train also runs in Arashiyama, giving you the perfect view of autumn through the panoramic windows. Arashiyama is a little further off from the city, but easily accessible via bus as well as train. Staying in Arashiyama also guarantees you’ll be able to enjoy a quiet Arashiyama to yourself, particularly in the early morning hours and in the evenings.

Prices are slightly steeper as hotels are much more spaced out, leading to larger average room sizes, unrivaled views of Arashiyama and the river, and there are much fewer accommodation options as compared to downtown Kyoto. For proximity to beautiful autumnal spots, Arashiyama is highly recommended.

MUNI KYOTO by Onko Chishin: Experience Arashiyama in Serenity

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Situated facing the famed Togetsukyo Bridge in Arashiyama, MUNI KYOTO is an experience. It’s an experience that guarantees the sound murmuring of the river, the romantic moonlight shining on Arashiyama, the sound of leaves rustling, and the colors of trees turning red, signaling autumn.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

With large windows overlooking Arashiyama and the river from the comfort of your private terrace or even bed, this is a luxurious option in Arashiyama that will make it hard to leave the room, especially with a fully-stocked complimentary minibar stocked full with drinks. With just 21 rooms, the calmness of the hotel will have you imagining time coming to a standstill, with just you in your room. There is also a restaurant in the hotel by Alain Ducasse, where you can dine while overlooking the serene surroundings, as well as a spa to invoke healing and rejuvenation.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

For a luxurious hotel stay with stunning autumn colors visible from your balcony, how about trying out MUNI KYOTO?

  • MUNI KYOTO by Onko Chishin
    • Address 3 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto, 616-8385
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Arashiyama Station (Keifuku Dentetsu-arashiyama Line)
      3 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

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

Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto: Luxurious Stay to Take You Back in History

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Located along the calming banks of the Hozu River, with a beautiful Japanese garden designed for tranquility, Suiran offers the perfect getaway for travelers who are looking for peace and quiet. It’s a stay meant to immerse travelers in the unique and rich history and culture of Japan.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

There are an intimate total of just 39 rooms, including 6 specialty rooms, with 17 rooms also having their own private in-room onsen, a half-in-half-out onsen where you will still be able to enjoy that autumn air. You can also opt for an afternoon tea experience at Cafe Hassui along the river, out in the open whilst listening to the sounds of the river and birds in the mountains. Meals at the on-site restaurant Kyo Suiran, reconstructed from a summer residence built during the Meiji Restoration, also draws inspiration from that traditional Japanese theme with a fusion of Japanese kaiseki and French cuisine.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Guest rooms are designed in natural beige tones with different shades of wood, a tatami sitting area, as well as a bed designed for maximum comfort. For understated luxury and unrivaled views from your own private onsen, look no further than Suiran Kyoto.

Sanjo and Gion Area: Timeless elegance and a hard-to-beat central location

Its proximity to the city center and the most famous shopping arcades in Kyoto makes the Sanjo and Gion area a location that is hard to beat. The nearby Kamo River offers a tranquil respite, surrounded by trees that transform into a mesmerizing tapestry of colors, while the traditional machiya architecture lends an air of timeless elegance. It’s the perfect location to sit and admire, or to take a leisurely stroll through the changing cityscape from dusk to dawn. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a geisha sighting. For those who want to still be in the thick of the action in Kyoto whilst being close enough to autumn sightseeing spots, Sanjo and Gion offer an authentic experience that captures the very soul of Kyoto during this enchanting season.

nol kyoto sanjo: Machiya Hotel in Central Kyoto

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

nol kyoto sanjo is a reconstructed machiya hotel, townhouses that are typified in Kyoto, also known as the historical capital of Japan.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Designed with Japanese traditional aesthetics in mind, rooms are designed with comfort and relaxation, as well as zen vibes in mind, including a wooden tub for soaking after a long day. For longer-stay guests, the washing machine and dryer in the room are a huge plus, as well as a microwave for when you just want to grab something on the go and relax in the room. There are bigger rooms that can accommodate up to 4 adults, great for families or groups traveling together. The shared lounge in the hotel offers complimentary snacks and sake, and there is also a bar in the hotel.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

If you’re seeking to stay in a machiya with all the modern comforts of a hotel, how about nol kyoto sanjo?

Gion Yoshiima: Tradition and Luxury in a Kyoto Ryokan

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Nestled amidst the historic charm of Gion, Sanjo Kyoto, family-run Gion Yoshiima presents an unparalleled ryokan experience that encapsulates the essence of tradition and luxury. This sanctuary, hidden away in one of Kyoto's most iconic districts, offers a respite from the modern world while allowing guests to fully immerse themselves in the city's timeless beauty.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

The ryokan's allure lies in its location amongst the machiya along Gion’s machiya district, as well as their rooms, each an epitome of Japanese aesthetic perfection. Tatami mat flooring, sliding paper doors, and classic wooden furnishings transport guests to a bygone era while still offering modern comforts. Their dedication to offering an authentic ryokan experience is mirrored in its kaiseki dining—a symphony of flavors presented with artful precision, creating an exquisite culinary journey. Their traditional architecture and ancient Japanese garden offers autumn colors without even leaving the compound, an oasis within busy Gion.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Gion Yoshiima's location and its guest experience bridges the gap between the past and present, providing an opportunity to experience the cultural depth of Kyoto while indulging in the comforts of a modern ryokan.

  • Gion Yoshiima
    • Address Higashiyama-ku Nishino-cho 229, Kyoto, Kyoto, 605-0088
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Sanjokeihan Station (Tozai Line)
      7 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

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

Sakyo Ward Area: Away from the Hustle and Bustle

Towards the northeastern part of Kyoto lies Sakyo ward. Although slightly off-center to the main shopping and nightlife areas, it is an area that beckons travelers seeking an immersive autumn experience. Choosing to stay in Sakyo ward during this season offers a unique blend of natural splendor and cultural intrigue.

Apart from the abundant greenery and natural landscapes, which come alive in breathtaking hues during autumn, there are also iconic attractions nearby, such as the enchanting Eikando Temple, where the fall foliage creates a mesmerizing backdrop to the historic architecture. The tranquil Philosopher's Path, framed by maple trees, is another serene spot that transforms into a living canvas of red and gold. And how could we forget the iconic Silver Pavilion (or Ginkaku-ji) and Nanzenji? It's an opportunity to witness the city's transformation as the leaves change, while also being part of the vibrant tapestry of this eclectic district.

Nanzenji Sando Kikusui: Enjoy the autumn leaves from a guest room facing a garden designed by a Japanese master gardener

Enter an extraordinary world through the curtained entrance. (Photo: Booking.com)
Enter an extraordinary world through the curtained entrance. (Photo: Booking.com)

Nanzenji Sando Kikusui is a gorgeous Kyoto ryokan located a 7-minute walk from Kyoto City Subway Tozai Line, Keage Station. Previously a draper’s cottage, the inn now boasts a vast (around 2,700 square meter) Japanese garden, which was created by a Japanese master gardener.

There are five private rooms on the first and second floors, all with free wi-fi and all overlooking the Japanese Garden. Visitors can catch the autumn leaves from the end of November, viewable from all rooms, including the downstairs restaurant - a great space from which to enjoy the beautiful colors.

Autumn leaves are viewable from every room. This room is 203. (Photo: Booking.com)
Autumn leaves are viewable from every room. This room is 203. (Photo: Booking.com)

Each room encompasses peaceful Japanese design at its core. Tucked away in the garden is the first-floor luxury suite, with a terrace nearby.

One can spot koi carp swimming gracefully around the hotel pond, which is even said to resemble Lake Biwa. From the secluded terrace, guests can relax in one of the chairs away from the gaze of others, experiencing a slower pace of life.

The autumn leaves in the Japanese Garden are at their peak from the end of November (Photos: Booking.com)
The autumn leaves in the Japanese Garden are at their peak from the end of November (Photos: Booking.com)

Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI is five minutes on foot from one of Kyoto’s most renowned fall foliage spots, Nanzenji Temple. Five minutes away on foot, the overwhelming beauty of around 3,000 maple trees during fall at Eikando Temple also awaits as the perfect place for a picnic to enjoy the fiery foliage.

  • Nanzenji Sando Kikusui
    • Address 31 Nanzenji Fukuchicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8435
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Keage Station (Tozai Line)
      8 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

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

Ryokan Genhouin: A Balance of Tranquility and Simplicity

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Ryokan Genhouin was built over a century ago by a member of the nobility, and it stands today as a reminder of that delicate balance of refined tranquility and profound simplicity.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

What sets Ryokan Genhouin apart is its dedication to fostering an atmosphere of utmost serenity. The ryokan's rooms are meticulously designed to echo the principles of Zen minimalism, with a restrained color palette and traditional design elements that create an ambiance of pure calm. All rooms are Japanese-style, but do note that some have shared bathrooms. The ryokan's central garden serves as a visual embodiment of its philosophy. The carefully designed landscaped space mirrors the Zen rock gardens of old, offering a peaceful oasis that invites contemplation and reflection. This garden, framed by the ryokan's large windows, becomes an ever-changing work of art that evolves with the shifting seasons.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

If you seek a stay that nourishes the soul while enveloping you in understated elegance, Ryokan Genhouin beckons as a sanctuary where you can escape the modern world and find solace in the beauty of simplicity.

Ryokan Sawaya Honten: Embodying Kyoto’s Past in the Present

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

An authentic Japanese ryokan dating back to the 1920s, the Ryokan Sawaya Honten is an embodiment of the ryokan experience, with its traditional aesthetics seeking to provide a glimpse into Kyoto’s past.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Their rooms are spacious, and each is a haven of tranquility adorned with tatami mat flooring, paper shoji screens, and handcrafted wooden furniture. There is also a traditional Japanese onsen, to offer a soothing respite after a long day exploring the sights of Kyoto. The ryokan is also known for its traditional Japanese breakfast offerings, showcasing the artistry of Kyoto's culinary traditions, curated to create a symphony of flavors and textures that honor both the ingredients and the city's culinary heritage.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

It’s a celebration of Kyoto’s rich cultural legacy, and with rooms able to accommodate up to 4 per room, the more economical price range is a great choice for travelers seeking an authentic experience without breaking the bank.

  • Ryokan Sawaya Honten
    • Address 25 Shogoin Kawaharacho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8397
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Jingumarutamachi Station (Keihan Oto Line)
      7 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

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

Heihachi Tea House Inn: Stay in a 450-years old Inn

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

The 450-years old Heihachi Tea House Inn is a place where tradition reigns supreme. Established in 1576, it is located along the Takano River overlooking Mount Hiei in the East, and its meticulous preservation of its architecture and original charm offers guests a journey back in time. Framed by the grand Kigyumon Gate, once the doors to a Zen Buddhist Temple, the experience at Heihachi Tea House Inn starts with their staff greeting you as they would have in the olden days.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Built to serve tea and tororo (ground yam) to the nobility, merchants, and monks in the 17th and 18th centuries, the inn was later the officially appointed inn for major local lords when they visited the Shogun every few years. There is also a steam sauna in addition to the exquisite Japanese garden where you can enjoy spring and autumn colors depending on the season you are visiting. For foodies, they pay homage to their rich history and to Kyoto’s reputation as a city of culinary artistry with delicate kaiseki meals, as well as traditional Japanese breakfasts in their 200-year-old kitchen, with a menu designed to impress and to feed.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

If you seek an experience that transcends accommodation and becomes a voyage through Kyoto's cultural tapestry, Heihachi Tea House Inn is the epitome of that journey.

  • Yamabana Heihachi Jaya
    • Address 8-1 Yamabana Kawagishicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8005
      View Map
    • Nearest Station Shugakuin Station (Eizan Dentetsu Eizan Line)
      7 minutes on foot

    Vacancy search, reservation

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

Yamashina Genhouin: Appreciate the autumn leaves from the comfort of your own private garden

The exquisite front entrance (Photo: Booking.com)
The exquisite front entrance (Photo: Booking.com)

Yamashina Genhouin is located in the east of Kyoto, in Okazaki - about 20 minutes by taxi from Kyoto Station.

Built by Prince Yamashina in 1920, this Japanese-style hotel holds a distinguished history. Via the exquisite demeanor, visitors can catch an insight into the old noble family’s life. Through extraordinary features throughout, guests can even feel the modern, timeless quality of the building.

The hotel comprises four rooms: out of the recently renovated tearoom is the Shingetsu-an, from the Emon room, guests can step straight into the garden; next is the large Kagura-yama room and lastly is the Hihaku room, from which it is possible to see Higashiyama and the garden. All four rooms are built inside the Japanese garden, so the autumn leaves can be enjoyed from every room.

Standing alone, the Shingetsu-an room is our recommendation for those wanting a place to enjoy Kyoto’s autumn leaves to their heart's content. Separate from the other rooms, Shingetsu-an even has its own private garden. A truly private place where it is possible to appreciate the foliage to your heart's content.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

The hotel has free wifi and there are English-speaking staff. Credit cards and UnionPay are accepted so guests will be able to fully relax whilst enjoying the venerable atmosphere.

There are also regular events relating to traditional Japanese culture, such as Kimon-do, which is the practice of dressing for the imperial court, and court practices including incense and songs. Other Japanese imperial family-related events are also on offer, providing a unique chance to get a feel of traditional Japanese culture.

(Photo: Booking.com)
(Photo: Booking.com)

Past guests have said: ‘We were able to fully relax in the beautiful, calm surroundings of the Japanese Garden. All the staff were friendly, welcoming us with kindness and grace and we had a true Japanese guest experience. The hot spring which smelt like wood was great.’

Written by:

Chehui Peh

Chehui Peh

With over 10 years of experience as a writer and marketer, Chehui writes extensively about travel, lifestyle, and food. Traveling is a part of her lifestyle, and she travels every chance she gets with the goal to explore all corners of Japan, no matter how difficult it is to get to. Graduated with a Masters of Anthropology from Waseda University and worked as a freelance journalist at Shanghai Daily for over 4 years, before branching out to travel journalism and contributing to Travel + Leisure and other renowned platforms. She holds certifications in Japanese Tea Ceremony, and Wine. On Instagram: @chelikestotravel.

*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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