Sowaka

Sowaka

480 Kiyoicho Shimogawaradori Yasaka Toriimae Sagaru, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto 605-0821 Kyoto Prefecture
Traveller (102)
そわか
Room & Suite (51)
石焼きしゃけご飯
Dining (19)

View prices for your travel dates

Contact accommodation for availability.
There are similar hotels available.
View all

About

4.5
#52 of 191 ryokans in Kyoto
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.4 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.4 of 5 bubbles
Service
3.6 of 5 bubbles
Value
Sowaka is a Sanskrit word meaning “happiness” or “wellbeing.” It is a word of blessing, often spoken at the end of the Buddhist sutras that echo through the innumerable temples of Kyoto. Once across the stone threshold, you are instantly transported to an oasis of calm. Relax in one of Sowaka’s 23 individually designed rooms, listening to gentle breezes blow through the green and tranquil courtyard.
Read more
Suggest edits to improve what we show.Improve this listing
Property amenities
Paid public parking nearby
Free High Speed Internet (WiFi)
Hot bath
Bar / lounge
Bicycle rental
Walking tours
Airport transportation
Spa
Restaurant
Breakfast available
Breakfast in the room
Complimentary Instant Coffee
Complimentary tea
Complimentary welcome drink
Wine / champagne
Car hire
Taxi service
Massage
Rooftop terrace
24-hour security
Baggage storage
Concierge
Currency exchange
Executive lounge access
Newspaper
Non-smoking hotel
Umbrella
24-hour front desk
Private check-in / check-out
Laundry service
Room features
Air purifier
Bathrobes
Air conditioning
Housekeeping
Room service
Safe
Coffee / tea maker
Bidet
Seating area
Sofa
Telephone
Wardrobe / wardrobe
Bottled water
Private bathrooms
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Minibar
Refrigerator
Electric kettle
Bath / shower
Complimentary toiletries
Hair dryer
Room types
City view
Landmark view
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
3.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Luxury
Boutique
Languages Spoken
English, French, Filipino, Finnish and 3 more

Location

480 Kiyoicho Shimogawaradori Yasaka Toriimae Sagaru, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto 605-0821 Kyoto Prefecture
Name/address in local language
Getting there
Great for walkers
Places to stay are graded on a 0-100 scale. The higher the grade, the easier it is for travellers to find restaurants and things to do within walking distance.
Grade: 100 out of 100
100
Itami Airport
39.3 km
See all flights
Kobe Airport
65.2 km
See all flights
38Reviews0Q+A7Room tips
Traveller rating
  • 29
  • 2
  • 3
  • 1
  • 3
Time of year
Traveller type
Language
Selected filters
  • Filter
  • English
Popular mentions
Sort by:
Detailed Reviews
Alexi Z wrote a review Jan 2023
23 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We spent 2 nights here on our honeymoon and it was such a treat. Beginning from check in, everything was so relaxing - you got to pick from a few different beverages (pro tip, drink the house made plum wine, it's incredible). The hotel is a 100 year old restaurant that they renovated and a few years ago added an addition to, so they'll show you some of the remaining parts of the restaurant like a well they used for water.

The room was a complete oasis, including heated floors and very comfortable beds. They also gave us a free upgrade being that we were on our honeymoon. The mini bar contained sake, beer, water and most importantly the best apple and grape juice we've ever had all for free.

The service of the entire ryokan was stellar, anything we needed they were available to assist with. I also loved that you take your shoes off when you enter (they store them for you at the front desk) and you walk around in socks the whole time, really felt like it was a spa.

The location was also perfect for walking throughout the downtown Kyoto area. We spotted a few geishas during our stay here which was SUCH a treat.

You can always stay at the four seasons or the Aman hotel in kyoto - but this is something really special you'll never forget.
Read more
Date of stay: December 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Don't eat dinner at the hotel, I was told to eat dinner at the ryokan but i think it's unnecessary.
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
4TravelersEastCoast wrote a review Feb 2024
East Coast38 contributions20 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We had the pleasure of staying at Sowacka for 3 nights. It is a delightful, unique experience blending Japanese traditions with modern amenities. The room was unique. We stayed in 105 which was multi-level and included a mediation area and a shower room. The bed was very comfortable. A tea service and complimentary drinks were available in the room. A highlight was the dyson hairdryer! The staff is attentive and very friendly. Based on a ryokan, it is required to take your shoes off at the door which were kept at the front. It was fun wearing slippers around. There is a lovely bar that opens nightly at 5pm. Breakfast was a choice of Western or Japanese. We had both and they were plentiful and very good! We also had dinner one night at La Bombance. It was a multi course meal, delicious and beautifully presented. The location of Sowacka in Gion is ideal, literally steps from the Yasaka shrine and central to most touring sights. I highly recommend this lovely property with the most amazing staff.
Read more
Date of stay: February 2024
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Yuki Yamano, Other at Sowaka
Responded 10 Apr 2024
Dear 4TravelersEastCoast, Many thanks for taking the time to share your review and recommend to the readers here who have not decided where to stay in Kyoto. We are delighted to read the unique experience you had Sowaka was so memorable, including the interactions with our team, breakfast quality as well as the convenient location. It was a great pleasure to have you with us. When you plan the next vacation in Kyoto, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. Kind regards, Yuki Yamano, Assistant General Manager
Read more
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
familytraveljunkies wrote a review Jun 2023
Golden, Colorado29 contributions11 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We just spent two nights at Sowaka with our two teens. We let the teens have the traditional room, #104 - Maisonette with Tea Room as our son particularly loves tea. It was a mini-apartment, very traditional, and they both loved the space, especially how it opened to the lovely garden. My husband and I stayed in 211, which is on the modern side and was lovely as well. We had both Japanese and Western breakfasts, which were an experience in themselves as they were beautifully presented and served with such grace. The service at the hotel is exquisite! The one thing we would improve is the internet - it was hard to connect and not robust enough to stream videos. But that wasn't the point of our visit, so it didn't detract from the beauty of this hotel and its environs, which are great to explore on foot!
Read more
Date of stay: June 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Yuki Yamano, Other at Sowaka
Responded 1 Jul 2023
Dear familytraveljunkies, Thank you for taking the time to share your nice memory of the recent stay at Sowaka. With regards to the wifi connectivity, we are working on improving the reception. We are sincerely sorry for the inconvenience caused. I am happy to read that you liked our Maisonette with Tea Room which is very special indeed where you can enjoy the garden that shows different charms each season. It was a great pleasure to have you with us. As we have 22 more unique rooms, we all look forward to welcoming you back to Sowaka for your new experiences. Please do not hesitate to contact us directly when planning the next stay. Kind regards, Yuki Yamano Assistant General Manager
Read more
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Good Enough wrote a review Mar 2023
Singapore, Singapore64 contributions36 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a beautiful property with impeccable location for tourist to Kyoto Gion region. We booked for 3 nights from 22 - 25 March to celebrate my partner’s birthday. We did not take up the half board because there are just way too many restaurants in Kyoto that we were dying to visit. The Michelin star winning restaurant - La Bombance was very tempting and I would definitely have given it a try had I been blessed with more than one stomach. Still, we were able to have our daily breakfast there which was nice.

Much like all other upscale/ luxury hotels, the staff here carry that signature politeness and attentiveness.

Although, there is one annoying thing about this hotel and quite honestly,made me a little uncomfortable is their stinginess on toiletries. Silly me, when I booked myself into a luxury hotel, I made the assumption that I did not need to bring my own body lotion and toiletries. In all fairness, they do provide an amenities bag on check in but they were these tiny bottles of lotion, oil and 2 tiny bar of soap (attached photo to see for yourself). With 2 of us using them throughout the day, they don’t last very long and I would assume house keeping should replenish them the next day but I was wrong. So, I found myself having to call or walk myself to the front desk to ask for a bar of soap or some body lotion.

Come on guys, I get the whole protect the environment thing but you could maybe provide bigger bar of soap for guests who stay longer than one night? Or at least replenish items that already being used without the guest having to call or come ask for it? You do call yourself a luxury hotel charging at luxury prices after all. Be like one or at least act like it!
Read more
Date of stay: March 2023
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Bring your own toiletries
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Travis T wrote a review Jan 2024
1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
We’ve stayed at several luxury hotels, including Tokyo Station Hotel before staying at Sowaka.

Unfortunately, our experience at Sowaka was disappointing. The room lacked natural light, felt cold in terms of energy and was significantly overpriced when compared to the rooms (which were slightly cheaper) at Tokyo Station Hotel and Como resorts where we stayed in past months. The service, while friendly, was chaotic and unfortunately several of the staff had body odour that lingered in the room after they did turn down service, brought in luggage, etc.

On both nights when we ordered in room dining, we had to call twice to ge the dirty dishes removed and the room ended up smelling like fish for the rest of the night. Turn down service and room cleaning also missed key items, left pillows disorganised and meant that we had to tidy up parts of the room. On one night, we were away from the hotel and then at the bar, only to return to our room and to be asked if they could do turn down service, meaning we then had to go sit in the lobby and wait for them to do the service.

We had a long day (and had not slept well) and needed to cancel our reservation for dinner and were told we would have to pay 100% cancellation, which is very poor given we had dinned at the restaurant several times and spent thousands of yen there. While the food was good, this was disappointing and felt poor as an experience.

The mattress was far too firm and the firmest bed I’ve ever slept on. I have a bad back and informed the hotel of that, but this results in significant pain and terrible sleep each night, something you wouldn’t expect from a hotel for 150,000+ yen per night.

Unfortunately we can not recommend this hotel to anyone and feel that, for the price, this was overpriced and left us disappointed.
Read more
Date of stay: December 2023
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Yuki Yamano, Other at Sowaka
Responded 10 Apr 2024
Dear K3085KFtravist, Greetings from Kyoto and thank you for sharing a review. First of all I would like to extend my sincere apologies for not meeting your expectations on your recent stay. I have shared your feedback with the concerned team and we will continue to take corrective steps and get better moving forward. Thank you again for your feedback. With my best regards, Yuki Yamano, Assistant General Manager
Read more
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
discerninglyenglish wrote a review Mar 2023
Leatherhead, United Kingdom428 contributions126 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Very, very comfortable. Couldn’t do enough for us. Beautifully presented and good sized rooms very nicely furnished. Japanese style but western breakfast available if required. In an excellent location in walking distance of a number of first class restaurants Would certainly recommend.
Read more
Date of stay: March 2023Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Yuki Yamano, Other at Sowaka
Responded 11 Jun 2023
Dear discerninglyenglish, We cannot thank you enough for taking the time for review and recommending Sowaka to the readers here who have yet to decide where to stay in Kyoto. Since oone of our rooms have the same layout /feature and the building itself is uniquely designed for Kyoto's authentic yet modern comfort, it might not be for everyone but we are happy to read you liked our boutique ryokan, a part of Small Luxury Hotel of the world. When you plan the next holiday in Kyoto, please reach out to us directly. Kind regards, Yuki Yamano Assistant General Manager
Read more
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Happytravel wrote a review Nov 2023
10 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Highly recommend. We stayed in Room 105 (main building) for 5 nights from Nov 19 to 24, 2023.

Hotel - modern ryokan style, very new & clean. Boutique & cosy with only 23 rooms. Good wifi internet access. Unlimited free cold drinks from the fridge which is replenished daily. Daily room service was perfect with attention to every detail in the room.

Location - Very good : quiet area away from the main street and within walking distance to multiple major attractions, subway stations, Hanamikoji Street and many restaurants & cafes.

Staff service - warm hospitality from Emin, Yuki, Ryuya, Wendy, Kaoru and Issa. All speak English well which make communication easy. All were very friendly and helpful.

We will not hesitate to recommend Sowaka to anyone.
Read more
Date of stay: November 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Yamano Yuki, その他 at Sowaka
Responded 8 Dec 2023
Dear Happytravel30062018, Arigato gozaimasi for taking the time to share your review with the readers here. The team and I are so happy to read that you liked 105 and enjoyed the whole experiences with us. When you plan the next trip to kyoto, please do not hesitate to contact any of us. We all look forward to one day welcoming you back to Sowaka, “place of blessing”. Kind regards, Yuki Yuki Yamano Assistant General Manager
Read more
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
hoteluserNottingham wrote a review May 2024
Nottingham69 contributions177 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
From the moment you arrive you know that this is going to be something truly special. The staff are simply amazing, greeting you by name and making you feel like royalty for the duration of your stay. Every room offers something unique, so just pick any, you won’t be disappointed. It is the staff that make Sowaka special. The location in Gion cannot be beaten. Thank you to everyone at Sowaka, one of the best stays ever.
Read more
Date of stay: May 2024
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: Room 104 the Tea Room Maisonette was outstanding and totally unique
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Wilton L wrote a review Apr 2023
London, United Kingdom578 contributions347 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
A charming ryokan. Wonderfully helpful and polite staff. Nothing is too much for them. The place is beautifully designed, some well known designer furniture set the scene in the large lounge. We were lucky with our room 103 overlooking the lovely inner garden courtroom. Highly recommended.
Read more
Date of stay: April 2023Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Yuki Yamano, Other at Sowaka
Responded 11 Jun 2023
Dear WiltonL1999, Thank you so much for sharing the review of your recent stay at Sowaka, and to recommend our 103 to the readers here. When you think of having a zen time again in Kyoto, perhaps in autumn next time, please do not hesitate to contact us directly. The team and I look forward to welcoming you back to Sowaka in the near future. Kind regards, Yuki Yamano Assistant General Manager
Read more
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
cuyler wrote a review Jul 2023
River Forest, Illinois6 contributions3 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This hotel and the people that run it spectacular. The service, the attention to detail, the location and the friendliness are amazing. It is right next to everything and provides such a unique and comfortable stay. The staff is so warm and friendly and speak several languages - speaking to them in English was never a problem. We couldn’t recommend this hotel enough. If you are thinking about it you won’t be disappointed.
Read more
Date of stay: July 2023Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Yuki Yamano, Other at Sowaka
Responded 31 Jul 2023
Dear OnAir13852739723, Thank you so much for taking the time to share your review and recommending Sowaka to the readers here. We are very happy to read that you had a good time with our hospitality and that you enjoyed the unique and comfortable experience. It was a great pleasure to have you with us, we already look forward to welcoming you back to Sowaka in the near future. Kind regards, Yuki Yamano Assistant General Manager
Read more
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
No results found.Try changing or clearing your search to read questions and answers.
hoteluserNottingham wrote a tip May 2024
Nottingham69 contributions177 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Room 104 the Tea Room Maisonette was outstanding and totally unique "
Read full review
Katherine W wrote a tip Nov 2023
San Francisco, California57 contributions14 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"Room 105 is very special"
Read full review
Kurtg wrote a tip Oct 2023
Brisbane, Australia19 contributions12 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"I put a few negatives in my main review"
Read full review
milad v wrote a tip May 2023
2 contributions3 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
"Not worth the price, stay elsewhere"
Read full review
Good Enough wrote a tip Mar 2023
Singapore, Singapore64 contributions36 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
"Bring your own toiletries "
Read full review
Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Kyoto area.
PRICE RANGE
HK$4,342 - HK$10,504 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
LOCATION
JapanKinkiKyoto PrefectureKyoto
NUMBER OF ROOMS
23
Prices are the average nightly price provided by our partners and may not include all taxes and fees. Taxes and fees that are shown are estimates only. Please see our partners for more details.
Is This Your Tripadvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

SOWAKA - Updated 2024

Frequently Asked Questions about Sowaka
Which popular attractions are close to Sowaka?
Nearby attractions include Geisha and Maiko Makeover Experience in Kyoto Gion Aya (0.05 km), Kennin-ji Temple (0.4 km), and Kodai-ji Temple (0.3 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Sowaka?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free wifi, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
Which room amenities are available at Sowaka?
Top room amenities include a minibar, air conditioning, and a refrigerator.
What food & drink options are available at Sowaka?
Guests can enjoy an on-site restaurant, a lounge, and breakfast during their stay.
Is parking available at Sowaka?
Yes, paid public parking nearby is available to guests.
What are some restaurants close to Sowaka?
Conveniently located restaurants include Premium Pound Gion, wakana, and TEPPAN TAVERN TENAMONYA.
Does Sowaka have airport transportation?
Yes, Sowaka offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Which languages are spoken by the staff at Sowaka?
The staff speaks multiple languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Thai, Filipino, and Finnish.
Are there any historical sites close to Sowaka?
Many travellers enjoy visiting Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine (3.9 km), Kiyomizu-dera Temple (1.0 km), and Sanjusangendo Temple (1.6 km).
Does Sowaka have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the city view available here.
All Kyoto HotelsKyoto Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in KyotoHotels near Sowaka
Things to DoRestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesCar Hire