Sowaka KyotoJapan/Sowaka+Kyoto

An elegant balance between old and new Sowaka is one of the newest additions to Kyoto’s boutique hotel and luxury ryokan scene, and opened in 2018. The Sowaka luxury ryokan is set in the heart of the ancient Geisha district, Gion, the beating heart of Kyoto’s cultural history. Much of Kyoto’s must-see cultural sights are on your doorstep when staying at Sowaka. The 23 rooms and suites are set within 2 buildings - the main building was a restaurant built at the end of the Taisho Period, about 100years ago, that has been expertly repurposed as a stunning luxury ryokan boutique hotel by the renowned architect Shigenori Uoya and has been artfully complemented with the addition of the newly built Annex, in a perfect melding of traditional and modern architectural styles.
Interiors, created by Masa, reflect the best of Japanese interior design with attention to detail both traditional and modern in use of décor, art and antiques, creating harmonious and restful spaces wherever you may rest your gaze. Elegant, pleasing, and comfortable spaces are the signature of Sowaka. This luxury ryokan includes a restaurant, La Bombance Gion, headed by a Michelin starred team from La Bombance restaurant in Tokyo, serving stunning Japanese cuisine created from the finest seasonal produce. Sowaka also shares a well-stocked bar, lobby lounge, beautiful manicured Japanese garden and a rooftop balcony. The professional hotel team also provide unique travel experiences with tours to unseen Kyoto, shrines and temples rarely opened to general visitors, exclusive for our guests staying at Sowaka Kyoto.



Contact the concierge on




The 23 rooms and suites at Sowaka Kyoto are divided between the Main building and the Annex, and set over 3 floors. The Main building houses 11 guestrooms over 4 room types – 1 Suite, 6 Deluxe Rooms, 3 Superior Rooms, and 1 Standard Room. The Annex building houses 12 guestrooms over 4 room types – 1 Junior Suite, 7 Deluxe Rooms, 3 Superior Rooms and 1 Standard Room. Rooms at Sowaka Kyoto comfortably accommodate from 1 to 2 guests, to 2 to 3 guests. All of the rooms and suites are unique and individually decorated, air-conditioned, and set with en-suite bathrooms with a separate shower and bathtubs. Some of the rooms’ bathrooms are set with cypress-wood bathtubs, some also include an open-air bath too. Beds are western style mattresses and bedding with a mix of Queen and King beds set in the 12 rooms of the Annex, and Hollywood Twins, Semi-Double Twins, Wide-Double, Queen and King beds set across the 11 guestrooms of the Main building. Spaces are graceful and elegant, with delicate touches to the interior design and every room ensured a view of green spaces or views of Kyoto.

All rooms are air-conditioned, have complimentary WiFi, and are set with an electric kettle, minibar, fridge, wardrobe, private en-suite bathrooms and including a hairdryer, bathrobe and nightwear.

Facilities and Highlights


Facilities and Highlights

  • Sowaka Kyoto highlight
  • Sowaka Kyoto highlight
  • Sowaka Kyoto highlight
  • Sowaka Kyoto highlight

  • Restaurant: The La Bombance Gion shares seasonal menus with diners created from the best locally sourced ingredients with menus changing monthly. Located on the first floor of the Annex and overseen by a Michelin starred Chef, the restaurant is exclusively for guests of Sowaka for breakfast (7.30am to 9.30am) serving a choice of Japanese and Continental breakfasts, and open for bookings to non-residents and guests for lunch (12pm to 2pm) and dinner (5.30pm to 8pm).
  • Bar: open 6pm to 11pm, the bar at Sowaka Kyoto is an intimate space designed by a Kyoto master craftsman, Sotoji Nakamura. A fully stocked bar, the signature beverages are without doubt the curated selection of sake, shochu and Japanese whiskies.
  • Spa: providing guests with a choice of facials and massage treatments.
  • Rooftop Balcony: take your favourite beverage and enjoy the views across the ancient rooftops and lanes of Gion.
  • Lobby Lounge: a delightful space to simply be and contemplate your next move.
  • Bicycle Rental
  • Stroll Ishibekoji Alley and visit Kodaiji Temple
  • The UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kiyomizudera Temple, is just a 15min walk from the hotel.
  • The perfectly preserved streets of Hanamikoji-dori and Shirakawa-dori, the centre of ancient Gion and home to the Geisha, is just 7mins walk away.
  • The Yasaka shrine, one of Kyoto’s most important temples, just a few short steps from Sowaka.
  • Tailored and exclusive experiences and tours to share the secrets of Kyoto with Secret Retreats guests including:
    - Zazen meditation: a sitting form of meditation practiced by Zen Buddhist monks. The secrets of the practice are shared with you by "Kanza Kyoto" an organization led by monks from Kyoto.
    - An Evening of Kyoto Cuisine with a Maiko: A Maiko is an apprentice Geisha, sharing this ancient art of hospitality with you in an evening of dining, music, dance and parlor games.
    - The Chaji Tea Ceremony: a tea master of the Yabunouchi school will share the secrets of this ancient art with you.
    - Night visit to Kodaiji Temple.
    - Garden Tour.

Useful Information

Time zone: (GMT+09:00) Tokyo
Currency accepted: JPY
Electricity voltage: 100V
Electricity plug type:  
Your concierge is ready to assist you with planning and completing your reservation, contact them on
Transfers can be arranged from Kyoto Station by private car or taxi (15mins).
Airport: Osaka Kansai International Airport (KIX) - 105 km
Airport: Osaka Itami Airport (ITM) - 50 km
Train Station: JR Kyoto Station – 3.8km and 10mins by taxi. Or 10mins walk from Keihan Gion-Shijo Station.

480 Kiyoi-cho, Yasaka Toriimae-sagaru, Shimogawara-dori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0821 , Japan

“Inspired by the Sanskrit blessing uttered in Buddhist mantras, ‘Sowaka’, this luxury ryokan embodies the meaning of the word, ‘happiness and well-being’, in the stay experience. Set in the iconic Gion district of Kyoto.”
Kim, the discoverer.

Unique Travel Itineraries and Secret Experiences


Travel Asia with Secret Retreats

Secret Retreats is a curated community of independent boutique hotel, villas, yachts and river boats keen to share their Asian Homes with travelers, sustainably and responsibly. Conservation of the environment, culture and traditions of Asia is of paramount importance to all in Secret Retreats. A community of like-minded hospitality professionals, we offer our guests authentic travel experiences that go beyond typical offerings to unveil the essence of Asia. Supporting the Asia based hoteliers and hospitality professionals and providing incredible holidays in Asia and tailor-made Asia travel itineraries direct to public ad travel agents.
Get inspired and make savings!
By booking direct with Secret Retreats and enjoy peace of mind from our full on the ground support. Contact our concierge and plan then book your Asia holiday now!