When you go to a ryokan (Japanese inn), don't you look forward to getting in and soaking in the hot springs? Guests in a ryokan usually get in the bathtubs in their own rooms or in the huge bathhouse inside the inn where men and women bathe separately. However, there are now many ryokan where the bathhouses can be reserved for private use. Here are four ryokan in Kyoto with chartered or private baths.
Yuuhigaura Hot Springs - Kashoen Hanare Fuka Hotel is a hotel for the exclusive use of adults where guests can enjoy the quiet. As its name suggests, Yuuhigaura Hot Springs is famous for its sunset ("yuuhi") and has been chosen as one of the places in Japan with the most beautiful sunset. With an ocean view in every room, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Japan Sea whatever room you get. It is a magical place where you can gaze at the evening sky as it changes. At this hotel in Yuuhigaura Hot Springs, where the bath is famously known as "Bijin-no-yu" (hot spring of beauty), every guest room has natural spring bath with a view, while each floor has different kinds of bathtubs - the stone bath, hinoki cypress bath, aritayaki porcelain bath and shigarakiyaki chinaware bath. Aside from those, this hotel also offers a secluded, chartered open-air bath made of stone (1,200 JPY for 45 minutes) where you can fully enjoy in private, as well as a big bath where men and women take their turn according to their specific bathing times. It has an abundant supply of hot water, so you will surely enjoy it there every time you visit. We also recommend partaking of their dishes that are skillfully prepared in the open kitchen. Try crab during winter, abalone, sea urchin, and Tajima beef broiled over charcoal in the spring, and a host of other dishes that will let you savor the deliciousness of the season! So, if you want to relax in a place exclusive for adults, in a town by the sea where you can smell the ocean, then you should definitely consider staying in this hotel.
Nanairo no Kaze - Hamanoji Rinko An is a hot springs ryokan with a total of seven rooms that is located by the Kumihama coast in Tango. All rooms in this hotel are floored with tatami mats, so you will feel the relaxed Japanese vibe. Its hot springs use natural hot springs completely from the source, and they offer baths for men and women, as well as open-air baths and private rooms with chartered open-air baths. The private open-air bath (500 JPY per 45 minutes (incl. tax)), where guests can see the canal called Mitoguchi that flows to Japan Sea from Kumihama Bay, is set in a great location that will let you relax and enjoy the hot tub while relishing the sea wind from the Japan Sea. The exhaustion you feel from traveling will just melt away. Further, this hotel prides itself in its delicious dishes that you can savor in an exclusive room with a beautiful backdrop. Here, you can taste unique flavors of seasonal ingredients harvest from Tango (old name for northern Kyoto) such as Iwagaki oyster in the summer and snow crabs in winter. It is indeed a rather small hotel, but because of that, you will get to enjoy every minute of their hearty and thoughtful hospitality.
2. Nanairo no Kaze - Hamanoji Rinko An
Yuuhigaura Hot Springs - Yuhiroman Ichibokan, which sits adjacent to Yuuhigaura Hamazume Coast, is just a 30-second walk to the shore. Yuuhigaura is famous for its being a scenic spot for sunsets, and this ryokan is well known as an idyllic hideaway where you can watch the setting sun. Its lobby, where Japanese and modern inspirations are fused according to the design of the famous ryokan architect Hiroshi Matsuba, looks like a resort up to the very smell of the sea wind. This ryokan's main star is the so-called "bijinyu" hot spring that will make your skin very smooth, with the large bathhouse and private-use bath (1,500 JPY per 45 minutes) to choose from. With the luxurious private bath that is made from elegant stone, you will be able to enjoy your bath in peace without the need to be self-conscious, so we definitely recommend it! As for the guestrooms, there are rooms with shigarakiyaki chinaware baths and hinoki cypress baths, and rooms with stone hot springs baths with a view. When you get the rooms on the side of the sea, you can marvel at the panoramic view of the Yuuhigaura Hamazume Coast. This hotel would be a good place if you want to spend some quiet time in a private space while looking at the sunset.
Arashiyama Benkei is a purely Japanese-style ryokan with 10 rooms that stands on the best location right in front of Arashiyama. Built in the style of a Japanese tea ceremony building surrounding the garden, there is always something different in every room in this hotel. Arashiyama and Oi River can be seen from the rooms, giving the rooms a feel of luxury. The Arashiyama hot spring is good for the skin, so you'd probably want to stay soaked until you get sick of it. Aside from the large bathhouse and open-air bath, this ryokan also offers a private open-air bath (2,160 JPY per 45 minutes (incl. tax)), so we would recommend reserving this bath to people who want to enjoy the hot springs and the Arashiyama landscape in private. The rooms here have an open-air hot tubs, stone baths with a view, and hinoki cypress baths, so you can enjoy the Arashiyama Hot Spring whenever you feel like it. After your bath, indulge in their Kyokaiseki (Kyoto's traditional local cuisine) course and see for yourself how the skills of their chefs shine in the dishes they prepare. Come here and let the Kyoto cuisine and Arashiyama hot spring enrich and calm your body and soul.
Kyoto is home to delicious cuisine and many hot springs that will warm your spirit. Wouldn't it be nice to stay at any of these ryokan and spend time with your loved ones while soothing your tired muscles from the journey? So, find the hot spring ryokan that fits you and just go!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.