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6 Best Ryokans in Gion Kyoto

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The Best Ryokans in Gion, Kyoto

Gion in Kyoto is the quintessential neighborhood to experience traditional ryokans in Kyoto. As the famous geisha district, Gion exudes history and culture around every corner. Staying at a ryokan allows you to immerse yourself in the old-world atmosphere while enjoying Japanese hospitality and cuisine.

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I’ve curated a list of the top ryokans in Gion based on traveler reviews, facilities, location, and overall experience. Whether you’re looking for modern conveniences or to go back in time, you’ll find the perfect ryokan for your stay.

best Ryokan in Gion

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What to Expect from a Ryokan

For those unfamiliar with ryokans, they are traditional Japanese inns that typically feature:

  • Tatami flooring and futon beds
  • Yukata robes and slippers
  • Kaiseki meals
  • Communal baths
  • Japanese gardens
  • Tea ceremonies

Staying at a ryokan is less like staying at a hotel and more like being a guest in someone’s home. The experience focuses heavily on hospitality, relaxation, and immersion into Japanese culture.

Ryokans in Gion run the spectrum from budget to luxury. While some offer private baths and toilets, others have shared facilities. Most provide yukata robes and some offer guided tours around Gion. When booking, consider your budget and interests to choose the right ryokan for you.

The Best Ryokans in Gion

Here is my list of recommendations for ryokans that capture the traditional atmosphere of Gion

Luxury Ryokans in Gion

If you’re looking to indulge and pamper yourself, these luxury ryokans offer sublime hospitality and facilities. They lean towards high-end with private baths and exceptional kaiseki dining. Rates range from $400-800 per night.

Yadoya Manjiro

Probably the best ryokan in all of Gion, Yadoya Manjiro transports you back to 1900s Japan as you step into the traditional wooden townhouse. Sitting quietly on a quaint street, everything at this ryokan focuses on refined hospitality and service.

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Ryokan | Gion, Kyoto

9/10 rating

The ryokan only accepts up to 2 groups of guests per day. Boasting tatami floors, ornate wood carvings and paper lanterns, the spacious rooms exude antique charm.

Price luxury

Guests sleep on comfy futon beds and yukata robes are provided. Staff go out of their way to ensure every guest feels thoroughly cared for.

Enjoy homemade local cuisine in your room for breakfast and dinner. The multi-course kaiseki is nutritious and artistic, celebrating the flavors of Kyoto. An on-site concierge helps arrange sightseeing tours, performances and restaurant bookings. Free WiFi is available in the lobby.

As a luxurious escape with the warmest hospitality in Gion, Yadoya Manjiro is a splurge worth taking.

Rinn Gion Yasaka

For immaculately detailed Japanese luxury, book a room at Rinn Gion Yasaka. This small ryokan sits on a quiet street in the heart of Southern Gion, just steps from the famous Yasaka Pagoda. Sliding wood doors lead into a spacious suite or room featuring beautiful calligraphy art and bonsai trees.

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Ryokan | Gion, Kyoto

9/10 rating

With only 5 rooms, each one blends minimalist Japanese and Western design beautifully. Guests sleep on raised platform beds, luxurious futons or Western beds.

Price luxury

Every modern convenience is accounted for – adjustable lighting, coffee machines, smartphone connections and USB ports. Slip into plush cotton yukatas and enjoy aromatic bath amenities after a busy day of sightseeing.

The dedicated staff offer a wealth of local recommendations while keeping service polished yet unintrusive. Enjoy exceptional multi-course kaiseki at Rinn’s on-site Tempura Matsu restaurant (additional fees apply). Breakfast is a refined mix of Japanese and Western flavors. With sublime privacy and comforts, unwinding at Rinn Gion Yasaka feels like an escape within the geisha district.

TIP: Guests rave about the Tempura Matsu’s seasonal kaiseki dinner – make reservations when booking your room. Vegetarian options are available.

Gion Oyado Kikutani

As a new addition to Southern Gion, Gion Oyado Kikutani shines with elegant Japanese interior design. Its rooms and suite overlook a tranquil rock garden with trickling fountains and maples trees that glow red in fall. Sliding doors reveal a spacious bedroom and en-suite bathroom with a soaking tub. The sitting area has beautiful calligraphy scrolls, porcelain vases and a coffee nook.

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Ryokan | Gion, Kyoto

9/10 rating

Subdued earth tones, plush futons and smooth wood fixtures create a serene environment for relaxing. Yukata robes, slippers and quality bath products are provided for unwinding after temple-hopping.

Price luxury

Guests praise the attentive yet discreet service, noting that staff go the extra mile. Delicious seasonal kaiseki is served in your room, focusing on Kyoto cuisine’s pure flavors and artistic presentations. Breakfast includes grilled fish, homemade tofu, mountain vegetables and more. Located in central Gion, Gion Oyado Kikutani provides a refined ryokan stay in Southern Higashiyama’s most atmospheric streets.

RELATED: Best Hotels in Kyoto: Design Hotels To Book

Mid-Range Ryokans in Gion

For great hospitality without blowing your budget, these ryokans balance convenience and charm. Most offer a mix of private and shared bathrooms. Nightly rates range from $100-300.

Kyoto Ryokan Kinoe

Nestled next to Keninji Temple in Southern Gion, Kinoe Ryokan charms guests with traditional architecture and a 750 year-old Buddha statue. The ryokan’s Zen rock garden and ornate family baths can be privately reserved.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/the-best-ryokans-in-gion-kyoto/

Ryokan | Gion, Kyoto

9/10 rating

Guest rooms open onto well-manicured gardens and feature ornate woodwork with tatami seating. Decorated with calligraphy scrolls and ikebana arrangements, rooms feel classically Japanese.

Price mid-range

Multi-course kaiseki dinners focus on Kyoto cuisine using seasonal ingredients. Options are available for various dietary needs. Breakfast includes grilled fish, homemade tofu, mountain vegetables and more. Yukata robes and slippers are provided for relaxing after sightseeing. With gracious service and a quiet location, Kinoe Ryokan makes a wonderful home base.

TIP: Try reserving the open-air family baths for a relaxing soak under the stars. Available for private bookings.

Kyoto Higashiyamaso

Escape the bustle of central Gion at this traditional inn nestled near Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Kyoto Higashiyamaso charms guests with beautiful gardens and partial views of Yasaka Pagoda.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/the-best-ryokans-in-gion-kyoto/

Ryokan | Gion, Kyoto

9/10 rating

Guest rooms feature intricate woodwork with tatami seating and Japanese art. Airy yukata robes and comfy futon beds ensure sound slumber after full days out.

Price mid

The friendly staff help arrange sightseeing tours and book restaurants. They also serve a Japanese or Western breakfast showcasing seasonal flavors. Unwind in the inn’s public bath or look out at the lovely gardens. With its quiet side-street location and gracious hospitality, Higashiyamaso makes a wonderful Gion retreat.

Budget Ryokans in Gion

For backpackers and budget travelers, Gion has affordable ryokans too. Most are smaller inns with shared bathrooms and basic amenities. But hospitality and charm still abound! Prices range from $50-150 per night.

Kyoto Inn Gion

Fusing modern conveniences with cultural touches, Kyoto Inn Gion offers an excellent budget stay in Northern Gion. Its chic rooms feature raised platform beds instead of futons.

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/the-best-ryokans-in-gion-kyoto/

Ryokan | Gion, Kyoto

9/10 rating

While compact, rooms contain air purifiers, adjustable lights, WiFi routers and smartphone connections for creature comforts. Grab complimentary coffee, tea and snacks from the lounge. After a long day walking about, recharge in the footbaths.

Price luxury

The friendly staff help arrange sightseeing trips, bike rentals and restaurant bookings. They also provide maps with key landmarks highlighted, making it easy to explore top attractions nearby. Enjoy a casual buffet breakfast with both Western and Japanese options. With its central location and thoughtful facilities, Kyoto Inn Gion checks all the boxes.

What Makes a Ryokan Stand Out in Gion

With so many ryokans touting “traditional hospitality,” what sets the truly great ones apart? Here are the key markers of an exceptional ryokan in Gion:

  • Location – Sitting on quiet side streets near top attractions
  • Service – Friendly, polished and unintrusive
  • Rooms – Spacious with elegant touches enhancing a relaxed vibe
  • Meals – Artistic, seasonal kaiseki breakfasts and dinners
  • Baths – Immaculate family-size ofuro soaking tubs
  • Experience – Cultural activities like tea ceremonies, geisha dances and cuisine classes

Ryokans that check these boxes excel at creating an authentic Japanese experience soaked in rich culture. Guests feel transported back to a quieter, more refined time that contrasts wonderfully with present-day Kyoto outside.

Top Things to Do Near Gion Ryokans

One of the best parts of staying in Gion is having Kyoto’s top historical and cultural sites right at your doorstep. Most ryokans sit within walking distance or a quick taxi ride away. Here are my favorite attractions near the Gion ryokans:

  • Yasaka Shrine – Gaze up at the towering vermillion pagoda glowing at sunset. Don’t miss the dance performances at the adjacent Gion Corner theater.
  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple – Marvel at the wooden stage’s steep views of Kyoto from this 17th century Buddhist temple set against a hillside forest.
  • Kodaiji Temple – Admire zen rock gardens with raked gravel patterns and art by famous names housed at this Rinzai sect landmark founded in 1606.
  • Kenninji Temple – Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple has serene zen gardens and one of the city’s most important early paintings from the 14th century.
  • Maruyama Park – Rest under the giant weeping cherry blossom tree during hanami season as locals celebrate spring with sake picnics.
  • Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka – Browse souvenir shops and snack on traditional street eats as you walk these quaint preserved streets.
  • Ishibei Koji Lane – One of Kyoto’s most photographed spots thanks to its line of tiny restaurants with low-hanging red lanterns. Perfect for an afternoon tea break!
  • Gion Corner Theatre – Catch artistic performances of the tea ceremony, koto music, bunraku puppets, ikebana flower arranging and more.
  • Miyako Odori – Watch spring geisha dances held annually every April at Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (additional fees apply).
  • Gion Geisha District – Try spotting elusive geisha and apprentice maiko scurrying between tea houses as you explore Hanamikoji street.

How to Best Experience Gion’s Atmosphere

Beyond temple-hopping, there are other quintessential things to do to soak up Gion’s old neighborhood charm:

  • Wander narrow alleyways like Ishibei Koji lined with tiny shops and restaurants glowing under red lanterns. It makes you feel like you’ve stumbled back in time!
  • Sit at an open-air cafe on Shijo-dori people-watching – look out for kimono-clad women posing for photos by the canal.
  • Hear monks sounding the massive gong at Yasaka Shrine at 6am daily – a tradition dating back centuries to wake parishioners.
  • In summer, attend Gion Festival, one of Japan’s biggest annual celebrations featuring enormous parade floats, food stalls and more!
  • Come early spring to see plum blossoms blooming against Kenninji Temple’s striking black-and-white painted screen walls.
  • Take part in cultural workshops like the tea ceremony, ikebana flower-arranging or calligraphy writing offered at most ryokans.
  • Book tickets to watch Miyako Odori in April or go see dance and music performances year-round at Gion Corner.
  • Time your visit for hanami season in early April and picnic under the flowers at Maruyama Park for an iconic Kyoto experience!

By slowing down to admire temples’ zen gardens, tuning into monks’ gong rituals or watching a Maiko’s delicate dance steps, you’ll see why Kyoto was once Japan’s royal seat of culture. Gion provides a magical window into this imperial heritage.

How to get to Gion kyoto

Gion is located in Higashiyama, east of the Kamogawa River. It sits between Kyoto’s main geisha districts of Miyagawacho, Pontocho and Kamishichiken. The best way to access Gion is:

  • Train – Take the Keihan Main Line to Gion Shijo Station or Kawaramachi Station
  • Subway – Get off at the Higashiyama subway stop
  • Bus – Multiple bus lines stop along major roads Shijo Dori and Kawaramachi Dori
  • Taxi – Taking a 15-minute taxi from Kyoto Station costs around $15-20

Once you’re in Gion, the streets are best explored on foot. Most attractions sit within walking distance of each other. For travelers with mobility issues, you can rent electric scooters and bicycles in Kyoto to get around.

TIP: Purchase a 1 or 2-day bus pass which gives you unlimited use of Kyoto’s bus and subway lines. This saves both time and money for exploring different parts of the city.

Ryokan Etiquette and Customs

As traditional accommodations focused heavily on hospitality, ryokans have certain cultural rules to follow so you don’t accidentally offend staff:

  • Remove shoes when stepping up onto tatami mats or entering ryokan rooms
  • Use slippers when walking along ryokan corridors to avoid dirtying tabi socks
  • Fold and store futon bedding away in closets during daytime to allow room cleaning
  • Dress appropriately when moving around ryokans – avoid scanty clothing
  • Be quiet during night-time hours so as not to disturb other guests
  • Avoid using soap or shampoo in onsen baths – a quick rinse shower must be taken beforehand

Adhering to these customs shows respect towards staff working hard to maintain peaceful sanctuary. Most faux pas arise from cultural differences rather than intentional rudeness. So relax and simply follow what the locals do.

FAQs about Visiting Ryokans in Gion

Here are answers to common questions travelers have about staying at a Gion ryokan:

How much does a ryokan in Gion cost?

  • Ryokan rates range vastly depending on amenities, room size and season. Budget ryokans start around $70 per night for a simple tatami room with shared bathroom. Luxury ryokans with elegant suites, private baths and garden access
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