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The Best Kyoto Spas for Your 2024 Trip

Ms Sasajima
Ayako Sasajima
Mar 21, 2024
Spa and Wellness Retreats in Japan

Planning a trip to the enchanting city of Kyoto in 2024? Amidst exploring the traditional temples, bustling markets, and tranquil gardens, don't forget to set aside some time for rejuvenation at one of the city's many exquisite spas. Known for their serene ambiance and healing treatments, Kyoto's spas offer a unique blend of age-old traditions and modern wellness practices. 

This blog post will take you through the best spas in Kyoto that promise a revitalizing experience like none other. Whether you're an experienced spa enthusiast or a curious traveler looking to add a touch of relaxation to your itinerary, this guide has got you covered.

Kayco Vivid Kyoto

Kayco Vivid Kyoto is a well-regarded spa salon known for its exceptional service and relaxing treatments. Clients have praised their massage and facial package, highlighting the thoughtful and accommodating masseuses. 

The spa offers a range of treatments tailored to individual concerns, and the therapists are also skilled in teaching simple massages that can be done at home. Many clients have described their experiences as "great," with the facial treatment being particularly praised for its relaxing properties and skin-enhancing effects.

  • Address: Japan, 〒604-0924 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Ichinofunairicho, 537-31 リベルタス御池 9F

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM - 8:00 PM (Closed on Tuesdays)

  • Specialties: Customized treatments, advanced beauty therapies

Young woman having massage in spa salon
Young woman having massage in spa salon

Arashiyu Japanese Foot Spa & Foot Massage

Arashiyu Japanese Foot Spa & Foot Massage is a tranquil salon located just a minute's walk from the Keifuku railway Arashiyama. Ideal for relieving travel fatigue, this wellness escape offers unique selections of soothing foot treatments. The spa prides itself in providing a "new style of Japanese foot spa cafe," where visitors can enjoy various foot spa treatments like seasonal flowers, matcha, and salt, along with foot massages in a traditional Japanese atmosphere. 

Pamper your feet with hot water, cream, and massages, or immerse yourself in a sensory foot bath while enjoying a favorite cafe drink and tea snacks. With its convenient location near famous sightseeing spots in Kyoto like Saga Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari, Arashiyu is an excellent choice for travellers looking for relaxation after a day of exploring.

  • Address: 35-40 Sagatenryuji Tsukurimichicho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8384, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 11:00 AM - 6:00 PM (Open daily)

  • Specialties: Traditional Japanese foot baths, reflexology

Arashiyu Japanese Foot Spa & Foot Massage
Arashiyu Japanese Foot Spa & Foot Massage

Gokoyu

Gokoyu is a popular onsen (hot spring) in Kyoto, known for its affordability and variety of baths. Open until midnight, it's the perfect place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing or work. Located in the bustling Shimogyo-ku area near Kyoto Station, Gokoyu is surrounded by trendy shops and cafes. 

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The onsen boasts six types of baths, including a medicinal bath, a jacuzzi, a milky bath touted for its skin benefits, and an extraordinarily hot tub. This large public bath, spread over two floors, has been described as a "destination sento" and is situated on the southwest side of Downtown Kyoto.

  • Address: Japan, 〒600-8357 Kyoto, Shimogyo Ward, Kakimotocho, 590-12 1F

  • Opening Hours: 2:30 PM - 12:30 AM 

  • Specialties: Diverse bath options, electric bath, traditional sento experience

Murasakino Onsen

Murasakino Onsen, located in the tranquil northern part of Kyoto, is a local favorite for its natural hot spring waters rich in minerals. This onsen prides itself on providing a traditional Japanese bathing experience in a more secluded and serene setting away from the city's hustle. 

Murasakino Onsen
Murasakino Onsen

The waters here are known for their therapeutic qualities, believed to aid in relieving muscle pain and improving skin health. Murasakino Onsen offers both indoor and outdoor baths, allowing visitors to soak in the natural beauty of the surrounding area. 

  • Address: 〒603-8217 Kyoto, Kita Ward, Murasakino Kamimonzencho, 16-1 紫野ビル

  • Opening Hours: 3 PM - 2 AM

  • Specialties: Natural hot spring waters, indoor and outdoor baths

Yamashiro Onsen

Yamashiro Onsen, a little outside the main city of Kyoto, offers a traditional hot spring experience in a historical setting. Known for its healing waters since ancient times, this onsen has been a destination for wellness for centuries. The facilities here blend traditional Japanese architecture with modern amenities, providing a comfortable and authentic bathing experience. 

Yamashiro Onsen is particularly famous for its large communal bath, which is artistically designed and resembles a historical art piece. Visitors here can enjoy a tranquil soak while immersing themselves in the rich history and culture of Japanese onsens.

  • Address: 218 Shimoyokocho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-8373, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 3:00 PM - 1:00 AM

  • Specialties: Historical setting, large communal bath

Yamashiro Onsen
Yamashiro Onsen

Hinodeyu

Hinodeyu, located in the heart of Kyoto, offers a traditional sento experience with a touch of local culture. This public bathhouse is known for its Showa-era architecture and interior, giving visitors a glimpse into the past. Hinodeyu features a variety of baths, including medicinal and bubble baths, and is especially famous for its mural of Mt. Fuji, which adds to the nostalgic atmosphere. 

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This facility is popular among locals and tourists alike, providing a community feel and an authentic Japanese bathhouse experience. Hinodeyu is an excellent choice for those looking to experience everyday Kyoto life and enjoy a relaxing soak in a culturally rich environment.

  • Address: 26-6 Nishikujo Karahashicho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, 601-8423, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 4:00 PM - 11:00 PM, closed on Thursday

  • Specialties: Showa-era architecture, variety of baths, Mt. Fuji mural

Tenzan no Yu

Tenzan no Yu, located on the outskirts of Kyoto, offers a luxurious onsen experience with a wide range of bathing options. This spa is renowned for its extensive facilities, including various types of baths such as open-air baths, rock baths, and saunas. 

The natural hot spring waters here are rich in minerals and are said to have healing properties for both skin and overall health. Tenzan no Yu is also known for its beautiful architecture that blends modern design with traditional Japanese elements, creating a serene and inviting ambiance. 

  • Address: Japan, 〒616-8315 Kyoto, Ukyo Ward, 峨野宮ノ元町55-4-7

  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

  • Specialties: Variety of baths, natural hot spring water, modern-traditional architecture

Tenzan no Yu
Tenzan no Yu

Ryugu Onsen

Ryugu Onsen, situated within the city, is a charming onsen known for its intimate and traditional ambiance. This onsen offers a quintessential Japanese hot spring experience with its focus on tranquility and simplicity. The waters here are praised for their therapeutic effects, particularly beneficial for relieving stress and muscle tension.

Ryugu Onsen features both indoor and outdoor baths, allowing guests to enjoy the changing seasons while soaking in the soothing waters. The onsen's modest size and traditional decor, including natural wood and stone, create a cozy and authentic atmosphere, making it a favored spot for those seeking a peaceful retreat in the heart of Kyoto.

  • Address: 1054 Shuzeicho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto, 602-8155, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 3:00 PM - 11:00 PM, closed on Thursday

  • Specialties: Traditional Japanese onsen, indoor and outdoor baths

Kinkakujiyu

Kinkakujiyu, located near the famous Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) Temple, is a popular public bathhouse known for its cultural and historical significance. This sento (public bath) offers a traditional bathing experience, featuring large communal baths and a classic Japanese sento design. Kinkakujiyu's claim to fame is its proximity to one of Kyoto's most iconic landmarks, making it a convenient stop for tourists. 

Kinkakujiyu
Kinkakujiyu

The facility is modest and unassuming, yet clean and well-maintained, providing a genuine glimpse into the local lifestyle. The bathhouse is particularly known for its warm, friendly atmosphere and is a great choice for visitors wanting to experience a traditional sento after exploring the nearby temple.

  • Address: 34 Kinugasa Kitatenjinmoricho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8376, Japan

  • Opening Hours: 2:00 PM - 12:00 AM

  • Specialties: Proximity to Kinkaku-ji, traditional sento experience

A Final Note on Kyoto's Spa Haven

In wrapping up, it's clear that Kyoto is not just about temples and traditional tea ceremonies. It's also home to some of the world's best spas, each offering a unique blend of traditional and modern treatments. So in 2024, as you plan your Kyoto itinerary, remember to schedule some downtime at these spa sanctuaries. 

They provide not just relaxation but also a chance to immerse yourself in an authentic Japanese wellness experience. You'll leave not only with a refreshed body and mind, but also with unforgettable memories of serene moments spent in the heart of Japan.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much are massages in Kyoto?

The cost of massages in Kyoto varies depending on the type, location, and duration of the treatment. For instance, a 2-hour oriental body and head massage could cost around $158.89. Olive Spa Pantheon in Kyoto Gion offers a 30-minute foot massage for ¥5,000 (approximately $45), while a 60-minute massage of your choice could cost between ¥11,000 to ¥12,000 (roughly $98 to $107).

Are there any onsens in Kyoto?

Yes, there are several onsen (hot springs) in Kyoto. Arashiyama Onsen, located in western Kyoto, is one of them. These hot springs are often part of spa facilities and offer a traditional Japanese bathing experience.

What is massage like in Japan?

Japanese massage, often referred to as Shiatsu, focuses on pressure points, muscle tension, and the flow of energy within the body. It is designed to promote relaxation, improve circulation, reduce stress, and contribute to overall wellness. Some places, like Hiyoshido in Southern Higashiyama, offer traditional Japanese massages in a classic Japanese house setting.

Do you tip for a massage in Japan?

Tipping is not typically expected or necessary in Japan, including for services like massages. The service charge is often included in the bill, and great service is considered standard. However, if you feel inclined to tip for exceptional service, it's best to put the money in an envelope as handing cash directly can be seen as impolite.