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Great Wheelchair-accessible Hotels in Kyoto

2024-05-31

Kyoto is a city that takes great pride in preserving its traditional heritage while adapting to modern times. Beyond converting machiya townhouses and other old structures into contemporary establishments, the city is has been ramping up its efforts in recent decades to improve accessibility for people with disabilities.

While some cobbled roads and historical sites may be difficult for wheelchair users, it’s possible to see some of Kyoto’s well-known sightseeing spots: museums, temples, shrines, and so on. An increasing number of accommodations — including some ryokans and machiya guesthouses — offer accessible, barrier-free rooms. If you’re looking for wheelchair-accessible hotels in Kyoto, we’ve got you covered with these picks.

 

1. Matsui Honkan

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Just because ryokans tend to have a traditional design and ambience doesn’t mean they can’t be wheelchair-friendly, and Matsui Honkan is proof of that. Established in 1933, this ryokan most recently underwent renovation in 2013, but despite its changes, its commitment to heartfelt hospitality has withstood the test of time.

The inn is tucked away in a quiet street that’s part of Kyoto’s downtown Shijo Kawaramachi district. It’s about 10 minutes from Shijo Station on the Kyoto subway or Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyu Line. This is a prime area for sightseeing; Nishiki Market is just minutes away, and shopping, dining, and transportation options are aplenty.

Among the 27 rooms here, one is a universal design room. Strategically located right in front of the elevator, it combines traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern comforts. It’s furnished with two beds with lovely kimono motifs, as well as an adjustable incline. The separate toilet and bathing areas are barrier-free, with ample room for wheelchair users.

If you’ll be visiting Kyoto, you might as well take the opportunity to experience traditional Japanese accommodations, so how about doing so at Matsui Honkan? Book a plan that includes meals to savor seasonal Kyoto-style kaiseki-ryori haute cuisine and local specialties such as yudofu (boiled tofu).

 

2. Hotel Granvia Kyoto

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Directly connected to Kyoto Station's massive complex is the classy Hotel Granvia Kyoto, where comfort and convenience meet. Despite being part of a building that houses a major transport hub, the hotel's excellent soundproofing ensures that guests can unwind and get a good night's sleep.

The hotel's universal rooms ensure that guests with disabilities won't have their comfort compromised. Each room is 34 square meters, with fixtures such as light switches and the bathroom sink at a height appropriate for wheelchair users. The bathroom is equipped with sliding doors, handrails, and an adjustable chair, and next to the bed is a call button for assistance. What's more, the staff can loan out handy items such as bath boards, non-slip mats, and sound notification devices upon request.

Forget about having to make multiple transfers while hauling your luggage or taking a long trip to your hotel after a day of sightseeing; Hotel Granvia Kyoto offers hassle-free access to public transport.

 

3. Hotel The Celestine Kyoto Gion

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Explore Gion, Kyoto’s photogenic geisha district, with a stay at Hotel The Celestine Kyoto Gion. This sophisticated modern hotel has an exterior inspired by Kyoto’s iconic machiya townhouses. Masterfully utilizing subdued colors for relaxation and natural light to give the hotel a warm and welcoming ambience, this Michelin-recognized luxury hotel on Gion’s Yasaka Street can be thought of as an elegant home away from home.

Though it’s not a ryokan, the aesthetics and level of service feel very much ryokan-inspired. There is a communal bath on the premises, and one of its restaurants features a combination of signature dishes and exclusive kaiseki-style menus courtesy of Yasaka Endo, a prestigious, long-running tempura restaurant in Gion.

From time to time, the hotel also connects guests to local cultural traditions by, for example, holding matcha-making sessions and tours of the Higashiyama district, or offering dinner plans with geisha. But if you want to experience something else, feel free to ask the helpful concierge, who will do their best to make recommendations and necessary arrangements for you.

The hotel has an accessible twin room 30.5 square meters large with two beds. The toilet and bath areas are separated for comfort; both are barrier-free, with handrails installed. With comfortable bedding and soothing ambient lighting, this is a space where you can feel at ease and heal your senses.

 

4. Sotetsu Fresa Inn Kyoto-Shijokarasuma

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A budget-friendly alternative with a machiya-inspired interior is Sotetsu Fresa Inn Kyoto-Shijokarasuma, part of the Sotetsu chain of business hotels. Conveniently located in Kyoto’s downtown Shijo district, this hotel is close to many shops and restaurants, and sightseeing attractions like Nijo Castle and the Imperial Palace are just a short train or bus ride away.

The hotel has one universal twin room. Measuring 25.7 square meters, it’s one of the hotel’s most spacious rooms. (Business hotels in Japan, after all, are not usually known to be very spacious.) The toilet and bath are in one room but equipped with handrails. Simple as this room may be, you can still expect a comfortable stay and generous amenities here.

 

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