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Header image courtesy of Aman Kyoto
Kyoto was the capital of Japan for a millennium and is known for its diverse culture and charm. There’s something to see at every corner of this rural city, showcasing the country in a new light, where old-meets-modern. Japanese wellness is celebrated nationwide, and Kyoto is no exception. The city offers a range of luxury spa hotels to choose from—here are our top picks.
Located in the peaceful Arashiyama district, Rangetsu is a hotel comprising 15 rooms—three of which have an outdoor bath. The Japanese-style accommodations are cosy and feature tatami floors and Japanese futon bedding. Guests can reside in the public indoor and outdoor baths for a rejuvenating experience. Although the inn doesn’t exactly have its own spa, the bathing concept provides another type of relaxation for a spa-like retreat.
Rangetsu, 7, Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8385, Japan | (+81) 75 865 2000
At Four Seasons Kyoto, intimacy is key. The temple district hideaway features an 800-year-old Shakusui-en, a pond garden which grounds itself in tradition, artistry, and natural beauty. The 10,000-square-metre circuit-style ikeniwa, is one of the last remaining gardens created at the end of the Heian Period, at the peak of Imperial Japan. Sunlight streams through the floor-to-ceiling windows every morning—and seasonal surprises in nature include blossoms in spring and greenery in summer. Enso (円相), in Japanese, means connecting the body and mind through the Zen Circle motion. Spa rituals at Four Seasons Kyoto do exactly that—it draws out the meditative realms of your inner and outer peace. Embark on an indulgent spa wellness break at this divine hotel—the results will not disappoint.
Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto, 445-3 Myohoin Maekawacho, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0932, Japan | (+81) 75-541 8288
Part of the luxury hotel group, Park Hyatt’s Kyoto outpost is located in the heart of Higashiyama, where art and soul meet elegance. There’s plenty to admire about the distinct neighbourhood, which features iconic landmarks, temples, and spiritual gardens—all within close proximity of one another. Indulge in this hillside retreat, which is not only an architectural gem but also a quintessential guesthouse, which combines a winning mix of modern and heritage.
Park Hyatt Kyoto, Japan, 〒605-0826 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Masuyacho, 360 高台寺 | (+81) 75 531 1234
Escape the downtown bustle and retreat away to the dazzling Ritz Carlton Kyoto, where legacy meets luxury. Boasting picturesque views of the Kamo River, the nature-clad hotel houses a Japanese-inspired spa, which pays tributes to traditional therapies. At The Ritz-Carlton Spa, a bubbling waterfall complements seven tranquil treatment rooms, which includes one spa suite. Begin your treatment at the beautiful relaxation room, where you can sip on freshly-brewed Matcha green tea, or take a dip in the 20-metre swimming pool. There’s also the steam room and a dry sauna.
The Ritz Carlton Kyoto, Nakagyo-Ku Kamogawa Nijo-Ohashi Hotori, Kyoto, 604-0902, Japan | (+81) 75 746 5555
Aman has a prestigious reputation in the wellness industry. So it’s no surprise that its Kyoto hotel thrives on serving customers with premium spa treatments. The traditional-yet-contemporary sanctuary is nestled within a once-forgotten garden. With only 24 guest rooms and two villas, the luxury resort features traditional onsen bathing facilities, using water from a local spring. There’s a range of healing treatments available at the spa, which incorporates Japanese healing ingredients and practices. Some of the most unique aspects on the menu include treatments which incorporate Kyoto green tea, tanba kuromame black beans, local sake, and cold-pressed camellia oil.
Aman Kyoto, 1 Okitayama Washimine-Cho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-0000, Japan | (+81) 75 496 1333
Located next to Mount Yoshida, Yoshida Sanso takes you away from the downtown hustle, and into a historic villa of Prince Higashifushimi, uncle of the current Japanese Emperor Akihito. The hotel offers traditional Japanese lodging and prime sightseeing spots for eager outdoor enthusiasts. Although there isn’t a dedicated spa in-house, the boutique hotel features a public bath and onsen services to its guests. There’s also an indoor public bath to take a dip in, Japanese style.
Yoshida Sanso, 59-1 Yoshidashimoojicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 606-8314, Japan | (+81) 75-771-6125