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Traditional bedding in ryokan

Last updated: 14 December, 2022
Expert travel writer: Rob Goss

In business since 1818, this classic ryokan, in a quiet side street close to many of Kyoto’s central attractions, ticks all the traditional boxes – tatami-mat guestrooms, sublime 12-course kaiseki-ryori dinner, kimono-clad staff, and an air of tranquillity.

It’s easy to see why it has long been a haunt of dignitaries and Hollywood A-listers – Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin and many more make an appearance in the sixth-generation owner’s family album.

When it comes to the 28 rooms, for spaciousness and an old-Kyoto ambience, request one of the four original ground-floor rooms with private gardens. For something sleeker, opt for a room in the newer, but traditionally crafted annex.

Whichever room type, the Hiiragiya is best for travellers who want their hotel to be an integral part of the experience. A ryokan is a place to unwind and slowly absorb Japanese culture.

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Key facilities

Airport transfers: Not available
Beach: None
Fitness centre
Fitness classes
Golf course
Hot tub
Parking: Not available
Pool (adults only)
Pool (indoor)
Pool (outdoor)
Pool (kids)
Tennis courts
WiFi: Not available

Food & drink

All inclusive
Kids menu
Restaurant on-site
Self catering
Additional charge

Room types


Room facilities

Air conditioning
Flat screen TV
Jacuzzi (private)
Pool (private)
Tea & coffee making facilities

Bedding options

2+ bedrooms
3+ beds
Connecting rooms
Rollaway/sofa bed

Bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Geishas in Gion

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[1 miles]

Kyoto’s historic Gion quarter is the place to see Japan’s mysterious and enigmatic geisha. Dressed in colourful kimonos, complimented by elaborate hairstyles and oshiroi make-up, they’ve been entertaining Japan’s wealthy and well-connected for centuries.

Best for ages: 10+ | Free

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Overview >

Kinkakuji Temple

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[4.6 miles]

The stunning, gilded temple of Kinkakuji, casting its golden reflection onto an islet-studded pond, is the iconic Kyoto image. A UNESCO World Heritage site.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

Fushimi Inari Shrine

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[4.8 miles]

One of Japan’s most sacred shrines, Fushimi Inari’s thousands of torii gateways also make it one of the country’s most Instagrammable sights.

Best for ages: 6+ | £2

Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[8.6 miles]

The towering stalks and soft light of Arashiyama’s much-photographed bamboo grove make this iconic Kyoto sight an almost otherworldly experience.

Best for ages: 4+ | £3

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Overview >

Other worthwhile experiences in this destination if you have the time or the interest, closest first

Busy covered market

Nishiki Market

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[0.6 miles]

Stretching along five shop-lined blocks, Kyoto’s oldest food market immerses visitors in Kyoto’s culinary heritage. Over 100 stalls and restaurants offer all and anything food related.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >
Sunrise on tempe between trees

Kenninji Temple

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[1.3 miles]

Established in 1202, this temple at the southern end of Hanami-koji has traditional Zen gardens and incredible ceiling murals of dragons (added in 2002). It claims to be the oldest temple in Kyoto.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >
Yasaka Shrine

Yasaka Shrine

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[1.4 miles]

The shrine that protects the Gion geisha district is one of Kyoto’s most distinctive sights. Entered through a roofed gateway painted a vivid vermillion, its grounds include a striking dance stage—used for performances during festivals—that’s adorned with several hundred lanterns lit each evening.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >
Trees in garden clearing

Saihoji Temple

Kyoto, Kansai, Japan[7.7 miles]

A Buddhist Zen temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site best known for its unusual, atmospheric moss garden that circles a symbolically-shaped golden pond. Just getting in is an experience – you’re given a written sutra to copy it out onto another piece of paper to ensure you are pure enough to enter!

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Destination guides including or relevant to this place to stay


Kansai, Japan

Ancient temples and shrines, sublime cuisine, manicured gardens, colourful geishas and living history in spades – Kyoto is traditional Japan at its best.

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