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

“Zazen”-meditation

"Zazen" -- literally "sitting meditation" in Japanese -- is a form of meditation practiced by Zen Buddhist monks and priests.
While its history goes back millennia, "Zazen" found a foothold in Kyoto in the early 13th century.

In collaboration with "Kanza Kyoto", an organization led by monks from Kyoto,
you can experience "Zazen" in your room at SOWAKA.

In a world full of entangled information and emotions,
slow down in our quiet little corner of Gion and find pure peace of mind.

PriceJPY12100 per group (incl. tax and service fees)
No. of guests1 - 4
TimeApproximately 50 minutes
ReservationUp to three days prior.
*Should the schedule of the monk change (due to a sudden funeral, or otherwise), your reservation may be cancelled.
Thank you very much for your understanding and cooperation.

An Evening of Kyoto Cuisine with Maiko

Kyoto is also synonymous with the word “Maiko”. Anyone can have the experience of spending time with maiko by taking part in “An Evening of Kyoto Cuisine with Maiko”, a dinner event held at Gion Hatanaka.
Sowaka can arrange attendance for its overnight guests at this event as well.
This incredible experience that includes a maiko dance performance and parlor games with maiko will surely create lasting memories of your travels in Kyoto.
Please inquire with us by phone or e-mail if you would like to take part.

-Event Information-

Regular Events / Every Friday
Sometimes Held on / Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays
Start Time / 6:00 pm (please arrive at Gion Hatanaka by 5:50 pm)
Fees / 19,000 yen/person (incl. meal, unlimited drinks, service charges and tax)
*19,500 yen as of October 1
Cancellation Fee / 2-7 days before: 40%, 1 day before or on the day: 100%
*Please note that fees will apply even in the event of a reduced number of attendees or a change in the date.

Notes
・Failure to arrive before 7:00 pm will result in a cancellation of your reservation. Thank you for your understanding.
・The maiko dance performance takes place at beginning of the event; you will not be allowed to enter or leave the room during the performance.
・All seating is non-smoking.
・All seating is at tables with chairs.
・The event will be hosted in English and Japanese with commentary and interpretation.
・While there is no dress code, please wear clothing that allows easy movement and is suitable for participating in parlor games with the maiko.
・As a multi-course meal of Kyoto cuisine will be served, please refrain from wearing cologne or perfume.

Spa

Refresh both your body and mind with our superb lineup of spa treatments.
Our Oil Treatment uses the finest organic jojoba oil as well as a fulvic acid extract that contains 26 types of amino acids, 39 minerals, vitamins, and more. The mineral supplement and detoxing effect help to alleviate stiff shoulders and swelling.
The Face Pack is a gentle massage given with plenty of beauty essence. This treatment will leave your skin in exceptional condition and your mind and body feeling refreshed.
The Massage and Stretch treatment is recommended for those with built-up fatigue. Our skilled therapists provide both gentle stimulation and deep treatment for relaxation down to the core of your body.

FeesOil Treatment
70 minutes: 20,000 yen, 100 minutes: 26,000 yen, 130 minutes: 32,000 yen, 180 minutes: 42,000 yen
・Pair Course 60 minutes: 27,000 yen
・Optional Face Pack 30 minutes: 10,000 yen

Face Pack
45 minutes: 14,000 yen

Massage & Stretch
60 minutes: 13,000 yen, 90 minutes: 18,000 yen
・Optional fulvic acid and lymphatic drainage massage 30 minutes: 7,500 yen, 40 minutes: 10,000 yen

(includes tax and service charge)

Kimono Rental and Fitting

There is a story behind each and every one of Sowaka’s rental kimonos. For example, the mysterious dyeing style known as Tsujigahana, kosode (short-sleeved kimono) that hearkens back to the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600), Kyo-Yuzen that adds extravagance to any setting, and Edo-Komon in an Ameiri-Mansuji pattern with its modern, poetic air. Wearing one of these kimonos gives you a direct experience with traditional Japanese culture.
The next question is where to go in your kimono. Each kimono is carefully chosen to match with the occasion and formality of the wearer’s destination. This means you can wear a perfectly suited kimono with confidence to any occasion, whether it’s to watch Noh or Kabuki theater, a tea ceremony, or dinner at a top-class restaurant.
English-language support is available from the time of fitting.

Kimono Rental FeesPure Silk Kimono Plans
・Komon (casual wear): 18,000 yen ~
・Tsukesage/Homongi (formal wear): 30,000 yen ~
Premium Plan (made with high-quality Toray Sillook): 13,000 yen ~
Gentleman’s Kimono Plan: 15,000 yen ~

(When visiting a kimono shop. All prices shown include tax.)
Optional FeesFitting (includes delivery to hotel): Above cost + approx. 10,000 yen
Hair styling: 3,000 yen/person
Early morning fee: 3,000 yen/person
Hotel return fee: 2,000 yen/return

(All prices shown include tax.)
ReservationsAt least one week in advance

Chaji Tea Ceremony Experience

Participate in an authentic “chaji” tea ceremony that takes place in a tranquil tearoom. Chaji is the most highly valued form of hospitality by tea ceremony masters. From Sumitemae (initial charcoal setting) to Chakaiseki (multi-course meal), Koicha (thick tea), and Usucha (thin tea), the tea master of the Yabunouchi school of tea ceremony for samurai families will guide you through this experience. You can feel the compassion in each and every step of the ceremony as you come to know and understand the true nature of tea.
The whole experience lasts for two and a half hours. The beautiful moments you experience in this small teahouse will fill your heart with joy.
The chaji tea ceremony is typically done only among people with very close personal relationships, so it is a very rare thing to experience even for people who have spent a long time in Japan. This experience is highly recommended. English and Chinese language support are also available.

Fee30,000 yen ~ (up to 3 people; 10,000 yen per each additional person)
Includes Sumitemae (initial charcoal setting), Tenshin (meal), Koicha (thick tea), Usucha (thin tea), dried sweets, fresh sweets
LocationBikouen
Minimum required participants1 person
Required time2 and a half hours
ReservationsAt least three days in advance

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

Bicycle Rental

Hop on a bicycle and take a cruise around Kyoto as if you lived there.
The city is compact and has lots of things to see; it’s like a treasure chest of a city. Bicycles are the perfect way to get around town.
The Gion District where Sowaka is located lies in the heart of Kyoto. This makes it an ideal starting point for anywhere you want to go. From historical spots, temples, and shrines to cafes and used bookstores, pedaling your bike through the breeze of this ancient capital is a great way to become familiar with both the old and new aspects of Kyoto.

Fee2,000 yen/day

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.