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Gay Kyoto Kyoto City Guide

Visit Japan and one of the first things you’ll notice is the country’s intense cultural duality. High-speed trains, flashing neon lights and a futuristic skyline set the scene in Tokyo, the country’s mecca of modernity. In stark contrast, Kyoto remains the cultural capital of the archipelago, perfect preservation of traditional Japan. Here, elegant geishas amble along cobbled roads before disappearing into wooden teahouses. Fragrant incense wafts from within centuries-old temples. Tranquil Zen gardens provide moments for relaxation and contemplation. It’s classical Japanese heritage in a nutshell—and it’s absolutely mesmerizing. Given Kyoto served as Japan’s historic capital for over 1,000 years, this cultural cred doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Neither, then, should Kyoto’s vibrant local cuisine and thriving arts and crafts scene that showcase Japan’s globally admired flavours and handicrafts. And while Kyoto might keep one foot rooted in the past, the city has a significant gay community that follows suit with Japan’s reputation as a leader for gay rights in Asia. Discover the best of this spellbinding destination with our ultimate gay Kyoto guide.

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The best hotels in Kyoto

From peaceful, tatami-mat adorned ryokans (Japanese inns) to modern hotels with Western amenities, any stay in Kyoto promises a memorable encounter with omotenashi—Japan’s unique approach to hospitality. There are, however, a few hotels that stand out from the rest and must be included in any Kyoto gay city guide. One such is Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel tucked away in scenic Arashiyama on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Natural wooden accents, shoji screen doors and healing hot spring baths (onsens) showcase authentic ryokan characteristics, while marble-topped vanities, oversized walk-in showers, and complimentary high-speed wifi ensure a five-star luxe getaway. Many of the 39 guest rooms also feature lovely mountain and Hozu river views. For an even more traditional getaway, Yoshida-sanso is the obvious choice. This expertly preserved piece of Japanese architecture dates back to 1932 when it was constructed as the imperial home of Prince Higashi-Fushimi. Today, the family-run guest house retains the building’s original grandeur while offering a veritable ryokan stay, complete with customary futon bedding, tatami floors, and sweeping Mt. Daimonji views. Attention to detail is next-level, from the welcome sweets and tea to the hand-written calligraphy notes to the perfectly manicured rock garden.

Hotel Kanra Kyoto

Hotel Kanra Kyoto

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Hotel Kanra Kyoto translates to ‘experience Kyoto,’ a title perfectly befitting this elegant 68-room hotel

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