Tailored Experiences Specially tailored tours of some of Kyoto’s most unique attractions
make for a truly memorable stay

Sowaka provides guests with various exclusive opportunities to experience Kyoto and enjoy their stay,
including tours of shrines and temples that are not usually open to the public,
as well as hands-on cultural experiences.

Sightseeing opportunities
for guests staying at the hotel

Special visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Exclusively for Sowaka guests

Take a special tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, guided by one of the priests of the temple, and get exclusive access to areas that are normally off-limits to the public, including the Sange on the Footprints of the Buddha, the inner shrine of the main temple building, and the temple’s famous Jojuin Moon Garden. Take a step back from the worries and cares of modern life to find serenity among these centuries-old sites.


We will let you know the details of the next tours that will be held as soon as they are available.

Night visit to Kodaiji Temple,
Exclusively for Sowaka guests

Kita-no-Mandokoro, the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the legendary 16th-century Imperial Regent of Japan, built Kodaiji Temple as a place to pray for the repose of her husband’s soul after his death. Many people visit this temple every year to witness the weeping cherry tree rising up from the Hojo Garden, or the splendor of the red autumn leaves reflecting in Garyochi Pond when the temple is lit up in the fall. Sowaka reserves Kodaiji Temple at night specially for its guests. Amid the silence, enjoy this luxurious experience set in a space rich with history and culture.


We will let you know the details of the next tours that will be held as soon as they are available.

Photo courtesy of Kodaiji

Garden Tour

It is Sowaka’s intention to enable our guests to experience “the real thing,” including the craftsmanship of the craftsmen involved and Japanese cultural tradition. One way for us to provide guests with this experience is by arranging garden tours led by a gardener of Ueyakato Landscape Co., Ltd., who takes care of the garden and planting at Sowaka’s main building. At the core of authentic Japanese culture and tradition, including the tea ceremony and flower ceremony, is the heart of the Japanese people who revere and cherish nature. How did our predecessors perceive and confront nature? This tour provides a look at the aesthetic sense of the Japanese people as seen in a Japanese garden, from the perspective of a gardener.

We arrange programs for our guests to experience the gardens at the temples Nanzenji, Murinan and Chishakuin, maintained by Ueyakato Landscape Co., Ltd., and even gardens that are not usually open to the public, at the best times to see them during each of the four seasons.

The details of the next time these tours will be conducted are not yet decided. We will let you know as soon as they're available.

Photo courtesy of Ueya Kato Zouen

Sowaka suggests the following ways
to enjoy your stay in Kyoto.

Sunrise Visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple

The striking Kiyomizu-dera Temple attracts more visitors than any other sightseeing spot in Kyoto. Avoid the crowds with a special visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site before breakfast, as the lights begins to touch the rooftops of Higashiyama and the wind murmurs in the trees of Mt. Kiyomizu. The silent precincts of the temple provide the perfect escape from the daily hustle and bustle, and make for a blissful start to your day.

PeriodAll year round
Time6:00 am ~

Available during the hours that Kiyomizu-dera is open to the public. Since the time is subject to change, please confirm the details on the Kiyomizu-dera website.
It’s a 15-minute walk to Kiyomizu-dera.
(Since it’s an uphill walk, please allow enough time.)
FeeA Kiyomizu-dera Temple admission fee is required to visit the main temple.
ReservationsNot needed

Evening Visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple

One method of Buddhist practice is Nissokan. The practitioner gazes at the sun setting in the western sky, keeping it in mind everyday. It’s that simple, but this daily act is said to have been spread to the general populace by Buddhist priests. Try to face yourself for a brief time with a tranquil mind, at the western gate of Kiyomizu-dera, one of Kyoto’s best evening sights.

PeriodAll year round
Time~ 6:00 pm
(sometimes open until 6:30 pm, depending on the season)

Available during the hours that Kiyomizu-dera is open to the public. Since the time is subject to change, please confirm the details on the Kiyomizu-dera website.
It’s a 15-minute walk to Kiyomizu-dera.
(Since it’s an uphill walk, please allow enough time.)
FeeA Kiyomizu-dera Temple admission fee is required to visit the main temple.
(There is no charge to visit the west gate.)
ReservationsNot needed

Walking Around the Vicinity of Sowaka

Sowaka is located in Higashiyama, which, with so many famous sites, is the best area for walking around Kyoto. Ishibekoji, Nenenomichi, Ninenzaka and Sanneizaka, whose townscape is strictly preserved and maintained by Kyoto City law as a historic building preservation district, have many must-see sights that you can enjoy while just walking around. Recommended is the walking course to Maruyama Park and Chion-in Temple by way of Ishibekoji to Nenenomichi. Beyond the stone-paved street of distinctive ambience are buildings you can enjoy while walking around, including Gionkaku of Daiun-in Temple, which can be seen from Sowaka, and Chourakukan, whose classic Renaissance exterior produces an elegant atmosphere.