Higashiyama Shikikaboku


Higashiyama Shikikaboku is a stylish reimagining of the Kyoto luxury ryokan, conceived not as an urban escape but as an exclusive entryway to the authentic, lived-in city most tourists never get to see.

Lovingly designed from the ground up by the husband-and-wife team of architect Takafumi Kawakami and interior designer Masumi Kitayama, both long-term Kyoto residents, the property combines a chic modern sensibility with a deep connection to the city’s ancient culture and crafts. Kawakami’s layout makes excellent use of the canal-side Higashiyama location to offer views of Heian Temple’s iconic red torii gate and the lush eastern mountains from the 8 guest suites. A private open-air bath and rooftop lounge area, rarities in central Kyoto, grace the upper floors. Meanwhile, Kitayama’s thoughtful design weaves an ambiance of understated luxury with one-of-a-kind antiques, seasonally changing bonsai and ikebana, bespoke linens, and the use of handcrafted materials evocative of Japanese tea culture, such as woodblock-printed karakami paper from the centuries-old Karacho house and woven ajiro wickerwork ceilings.

Higashiyama Shikikaboku forgoes the traditional in-house dinner in favor of a concierge service that provides access Kyoto’s rich culinary world, leaning on an extensive local network to guarantee hard-to-get reservations and suggest off-the-beaten-track spots tailored to each guest’s preferences. Along with a fully stocked kitchenette in each guestroom, this flexible approach makes the property ideal for longer stays.

Like staying with a trusted friend, Higashiyama Shikikaboku offers an intimate experience of Kyoto enriched by local insight and human connection, revealing aspects of the ancient city no guidebook could capture.