Kyoto is a beautiful and intriguing destination for the adventurous family!
On the one hand, it is the epitome of traditional Japan, where you can meet geisha, discover ancient temples, explore the stone-paved narrow alleyways and pagodas, and enjoy the wooden teahouses and delicious food. On the other hand, it bristles with the trappings of modern Japanese life, with lots of fun activities and events for the whole family.
If you’re planning your trip to Kyoto and need to know the best places to eat, sleep, and play, we’ve got you covered. Little Steps has done the research for you and created this guide to the top places to stay, eat, and play in Kyoto with your family. Enjoy your vacation!
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Kyoto has a huge range of accommodation options, from modern hotels to traditional Japanese Ryokans. Consider the type of experience you want from your stay, and whether you want to taste some of the local culture, or indulge in modern luxuries. Ryokans feature tatami mats, sliding paper doors, Japanese cuisine often served in your room, and sometimes communal baths and gardens.
Below are the top hotels and Ryokans in Kyoto for families.
Seikoro (Higher Budget)
This luxury ryokan has family rooms available. They have private baths in your room, traditional Japanese cuisine, and access to public baths, also. This is a good choice if you have a higher budget and want to sleep in style.
Seikoro, 467 Nishi Tachibana-cho, 3 Cho-me, Tonyamachi-dori Gojo Sagaru, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan, email@example.com, www.ryokan.asia/seikoro
Garden Ryokan Yachiyo (Mid-high range budget)
This ryokan is close to Nanzen-ji Temple, Okazaki park, and even the Kyoto Zoo. They have multiple rooms available to fit small to large families, with the biggest sleeping 5 people.
Garden Ryokan Yachiyo, 34 Nanzenji Fukuji-cho Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan, +81 75 771 4148, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.kyoto-ryokan.co.jp
Watazen Ryokan (Mid-range budget)
The large family rooms at Watazen Ryokan can sleep up to 5 people. It’s close to Nishiki Market, which is nice to be able to walk to local attractions with your family. They provide traditional meals in your room and give you great tips for your trip with a sightseeing guide.
Watazen Ryokan, 413 Itsutsuya-cho Rokkaku Sagaru Yanagibaba Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan, +81 75 223 0111, www.kyoto-ryokan-w.com
Ryokan Shimizu (Lower Budget)
If you’re on a tiger budget, you can still stay in a ryokan! Ryokan Shimizu is a non-smoking ryokan that is close to the Kyoto Station, and it's pretty budget friendly. You can get private rooms to fit a small family of three with an ensuite bathroom.
Ryokan Shimizu, 600-8317 Kyoto, Kyoto, Shimogyo-ku Shichijo dori Wakamiya agaru Kagiyacho 644, Japan, www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Ryokan_Shimizu
Ryokan Hostel Gion (Lower Budget)
This quaint ryokan is located at Gion, and is budget-friendly but can accommodate families. They have private rooms for four with an ensuite bathroom, and toiletry amenities are provided. The rooms also come equipped with a fridge and electric teapot. The staff speak English, Japanese and Korean, so it's convenient to communicate with them and there will likely be no language barrier.
Ryokan Hostel Gion, 391-2 Motomachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0089, Japan, www.ryokanhostel.com
Four Seasons Kyoto (Higher budget)
This luxury hotel is for families with a big budget. They have plenty of inclusions for kids, like babysitting services, a pool, and big family rooms. There are two restaurants on-site, and a fitness center, sauna, and spa for parents to get a little ‘me-time.’
Four Seasons Kyoto, 44503, Myohoin Maekawa-Cho, Higashiyama-ku, 605-0932, Kyoto, Japan, +81 75 541 8288, www.fourseasons.com/kyoto
Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa (Mid-range Budget)
Stay in the heart of Kyoto overlooking a beautiful river view at Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa. The rooms are pretty luxurious, with choices like a Suite With Spa Bath or Deluxe Twin Room With Open Air Bath. Both these rooms accommodate four, so it's great for families. Located nearby are the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, which are around 2km to 3km awe from the hotel.
Riverte Kyoto Kamogawa, 202 Seiryucho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-0822, Japan, www.rivertekyoto.com
The Kyoto Uraraka House (Lower budget)
The Kyoto Uraraka House is a great option for a family on a budget. You’ll be staging just a 10-minute walk from the famous Nijo Castle and a short bus ride to many other tourist attractions. Their biggest rooms fit a family of up to 6 people, so it’s a great option for a bigger family. An extra bonus is a free bicycle rental (but they have limited availability, so enquire about it when you book).
The Kyoto Uraraka House, 740 Kitaiseyacho Kamigyoku, Central Kyoto, 602-8152, Kyoto, Japan, +81 75 812 8066, email@example.com, www.kyoto-uraraka.jp
Hotel Muso (Lower Budget)
Hotel Must is a family-friendly hotel that can accommodate large families. Their King Suite fits up to five people, and their regular suite can accommodate up to six people in total. Popular points of interest nearby include TKP Garden City Kyoto and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The hotel is also less than 1km away from Gion Shijo Station, making it accessible when the family goes sightseeing together.
Hotel Muso, Japan, 〒600-8047 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Ishifudonocho, 678 HOTELMUSO, www.hotelmuso.com
You won't be short of options for fun activities to do with your kids in Kyoto. There's something for every age, and parents will have just as much fun as their little ones in these experiences and attractions.
Below are the top family-friendly activities in Kyoto:
Kyoto City Zoo
Visiting the zoo is a classic family outing, and it’s especially fun when you visit the zoo of the country where you are on vacation - the animals are more exotic and maybe there are even creatures your family has never seen before. There are pandas, monkeys, lions, and more at the Kyoto City Zoo.
Kids love visiting the monkey park, which has more than 100 monkeys of all different Japanese varieties. Walk through the pretty paths and see the monkeys play and go about their daily life. The park is close to the Bamboo Forest, so you could visit them at the same time if you want a full day of activity. More Info Here
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
You’ll get the picturesque experience of traditional Japanese nature by walking through the Bamboo Forest in Kyoto. Close to the Iwatayama Monkey Park, you could visit both in one day. There will be plenty of photo-ops at this stunning forest, and you will be led through the paths by a knowledgeable guide.
Samurai And Nijina Museum
For an interactive burst of fun for the whole family, visit the Kyoto Samurai and Ninja Museum. You can be guided through the exhibits, dress in some traditional samurai clothing, and even do some swordsmanship and ninja throwing star lessons!
Nara Deer Park
The Nara Deer Park is a sweet place for the family to come and watch the deep roam freely around the parklands. If it’s a nice day out, your kids love animals, and you’re okay with a little drive (less than an hour from Kyoto), then visiting the Nara Deer Park is a good family-friendly activity.
This is one of the more well-known attractions for families visiting Kyoto. There are exciting exhibits of interesting Japanese freshwater and saltwater marine life. You’ll see penguins, fur seals, dolphins, and lots more.
Kimono Tea Ceremony
This is a great activity to get a taste of Japanese culture (and also a good pick for a rainy day!) You and your kids can dress up in a Geisha, a ninja, or even a samurai kimono and take part in an authentic tea ceremony.
When visiting Kyoto with your family, be sure to sample the traditional Japanese cuisine. Of course, like almost all city tourist destinations in the world, you'll be able to find a range of international restaurants, too. But definitely don't visit without exploring the tastes of this rich culture.
Famous for amazing soba, ramen and tofu, Kyoto has incredible food. Culturally, parents aren’t always taking their kids out for dinner, especially to fine dining resturants. This means that you'll have to plan ahead, as not all resturants are family-friendly.
The following restaurants are some options to consider that will welcome your little ones.
After a hearty meal, relax for a bit at a cafe nearby. Kyoto may be a more traditional place with lots of traditional sightseeing attractions, but they do have modern cafes littered all around the tourist areas.
One of the most popular cafes in Japan, % Arabica is loved worldwide and has grown into a huge global coffee brand. You'll definitely find good-quality coffee here, and the aesthetic is also very calming and minimal. There are three branches in and around Kyoto, so you'll easily be able to locate the one closest to you. There usually is a crowd at the cafe, so be prepared to wait a little if you're heading there during peak hours.
% Arabica, Multiple Locations, www.arabica.coffee
Language barriers can be a tough and tiring issue to face when on a holiday, but at Vermillion, you'll have no problems communicating with their staff because they're mostly English-speaking. The cafe also uses quality coffee beans that are roasted locally, so you can be assured that you'll have delicious, fragrant coffee to sip on when you visit Vermillion. They also have snacks like cheese toast and granola if you're feeling a little peckish.
Vermillion, 5-31 Fukakusa Kaidoguchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, 612-0805, Japan, www.instagram.com/vermillion_cafe
Yes, Starbucks can be found in almost every country and city in Japan, but the one here in Kyoto is different. It's housed in a traditional Japanese townhouse, and some parts of the interior also mirrors the way townhouses were furnished in the past. When you head down for drinks or dessert at Starbucks, you'll feel like you've taken a step back in time.
Starbucks Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya, Japan, 〒605-0826 Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, Masuyacho, 349, www.starbucks.co.jp
Cafe Bibliotic Hello!
If you're visiting the Kyoto Imperial Palace, this cafe is just a short walk away, so it's the perfect place to take a break in in the middle of the day. The interior of the cafe is pretty dark and cozy, so you can even bring along a book to read if the family is having a slow day and just want a nice place to chill. They also have cakes and dessert that the kids can enjoy and devour while you relax at the cafe.
Cafe Bibliotic Hello!, 650 Seimeicho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto, 604-0951, Japan, www.instagram.com/cafebibliotichello