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If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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The Best Family Friendly Hotel in Kyoto - Hotel Imagine Kyoto

Not exaggerating when I mean THE BEST family hotel in Kyoto.

Finally have some time to post up a detailed review entry on one of the most family friendly hotel in Kyoto, when we talk about Japan hotels (especially city areas) it’s a common rule here that each room can only accommodate 2 adults & 2 children max, imagine those traveling with 3-5 kids (large families in general) or as a big group of friends but have to be split up because of this. I find it abit disheartening because booking 2 rooms just to fit in a family of 5 is quite expensive (double the cost) and having to split the family because of this.

That’s why most families turned to Airbnb (homestay style) alternative and have to sacrifice certain things as long they can keep the family under one roof. But ever since last June (2018) when the new minpaku law rolled out that required all Airbnb owners to have a specific licences to operate or else it would be considered illegal. So many cases of travellers being cancelled on last minute, like a few hours before arrival they get notified that their booking has been cancelled. That is a devastating situation, being caught stranded outside in the cold and with kids it’s even harder because if it’s just us adults, we can compromise by camping at the airport/ café/ station overnight before searching for hotels nearby that would take walk-ins (even harder during peak season). With children and elderly people in the group it’s a whole different story.

The hotel I’ve been recommending to all my friends is the new one near Kyoto station (strategic location!), Hotel Imagine Kyoto!

Exit through Kyoto station Hachijoguchi East exit (you'll see Avanti Mall), just walk straight about less than 5 minutes

They opened about 2 months ago and I took the opportunity to utilize their opening discount for a staycation with my family and no regrets booking it because the rooms are amazingly spacious! One of my pet peeves during travel is narrow hotel rooms and that means I have to move the furniture around the hotel room just to find some space to open my large luggage (worst case is on the bed which I personally don’t find it hygienic, especially the wheels). Traveling with kids you know how packing can be sometimes even if it’s just 1-2 days away from home, you are never be over prepared for what’s to come (and I was right, she made a massive tsunami poop that night we check in) lol.

Their lobby and also share space a.k.a kitchenette for guests to do light cooking.
And their staffs speaks decent English & French too!

Not sure if you guys are familiar with this electrical appliance brand- BALMUDA
Apparently it's quite popular in Japan and considered as "high end", something i know i can never own in my tiny home kitchen lol. 

I actually visited Avanti mall's Don Quijote to get bread and my favorite garlic butter so that i could use the hotel's BALMUDA toaster, and good lord it made it so crispy and fluffy at the same time😱 What sorcery is this?? Now i want a BALMUDA Toaster at home!


For once a hotel that actually looks like their photos, minimal to none photo distortion (photographers usually use wide angle lens when photographing small/ narrow spaces, the photo outcome can be quite deceiving). And we all know in Japan that space is sacred so buildings tend to be smaller than what we are used back in our home country and the only hotels with such space to spare are those luxury 5 star hotels that probably costs average earning people like me almost a month’s worth of salary (INSANE!). So it was really refreshing to see a hotel near Kyoto station that’s spacious & not expensive.

Good toilet mirror lighting here so i can easily do my make up, most hotel lightings are usually too yellow so it's hard to do make up that i usually have to stand near the window to do it or else i can't blend my eyeshadow properly.

The hotel’s room design to me is well thought out, I personally find it aesthetically pleasing as it’s simplistic colour & material coordination is something out of a Minimalist Home Design Magazine that all of us drool after and wish we could have it in our own house lol. The under bed lighting is genius!! No more foot stubbing in the dark lol.

When it comes to booking hotels I rely heavily on people’s reviews & actual photos to judge the place because I had a bad experience with a hotel room I’ve booked earlier this year during Chinese New Year when I was back in Melaka. The photos looked amazing (decent reviews but not much photos by guests) but after checking in we were shocked to find the condition of the place, it’s such an old run down building and the photos they used to sell were probably a decade old; we could clearly see no maintenance was done since it started operating :-/

They really thought of everything, USB charging ports next to your bed!
I don't need to bring travel adapter for my phone like this liao.

Room Cost Breakdown & Comparison

Their rooms can easily fit up to 7 people and they do not charge per head except for the new tourism tax which is 200 yen per person for 1 night (implemented for all hotels since 2019). So the cost of 1 room for example 20,000yen divided by 7 people that’s less than 3000 yen per person which is super cheap for a hotel room that you don’t have to share toilet with any other guests. I used to come to Japan on assignment often last time and the cheapest accommodation with similar rates (3000- 4000yen per night) are hostels (dormitory style). Small shared toilets with mediocre cleanliness and the worst is having a stranger bunk mate that snores louder than a trombone.

To keep costs low they do not serve breakfast here but they are surrounded by konbini (convenience stores) so you can grab something and bring it to the hotel to eat, you can also use their kitchenette to cook especially if you have certain diet restrictions or need to prepare baby meals (like me).

Family friendly because not only that it doesn’t require the group to split up unless more than 7 people, it also provide free rental service for baby amenities like a baby bed & small inflatable bathtub, and remember I mentioned about the poop tsunami lil penguin made after checking in, they allowed me to use their baby detergent to hand wash the clothes and I just paid 100yen for to use their clothes dryer. Yes, the hotel even has a washing machine & dryer so you don’t have to go out searching for one, it really feels almost like home instead of a hotel because it has everything you need.


Your selected Amenities would be wrapped in a Furoshiki!
Furoshiki is basically a Japanese traditional wrapping method usually used to transport expensive/ precious gifts during Edo period.

Their comfy Yukata as bathrobes was a nice touch because it allows guests to experience wearing one of Japan’s traditional wear for free, if it was summer I would have just walked out in it (their room slippers are geta sandals!), they actually allow their guests to do so except it’s not recommended to during winter lol.

Me in my Yukata, was told that this design (Sakura) is pretty popular among their guests!

They have a really long list of free rental items you can request from the concierge (1F); I didn’t even need to bring my hair straightener along because they carry the same brand I use!! It’s a salon grade brand- HairBueron and they even have ReFa face massagers*. That’s like one of the most expensive face massagers in the market and I could rent it for FREE.

*Go google this and you'll understand why i'm so shocked.

There are 3 types of  ReFa face massagers

Such high level of Omotenashi service I’ve ever experienced in all my hotel stays in Japan. Usually other hotels you’ll need to pay a rental fee or deposit to use these “additional service items”. I wonder how do they earn from doing this??

They’ve basically thought about everything a traveler/ family needs when staying in a hotel, and that alone I have no complaints; it’s hard to find one as they have been so thoughtful!
Masking like a boss in my hotel room because i can't relax like this in my own messy house, also their adjustable reclining chairs at the tatami area is at a perfect angle to lay back and laze.

Look at that penguin

It feels like home staying with them, the beds are so comfortable that I found it hard to leave it every morning lol I’m not sure if it’s just me because whenever I stay in a hotel or any other place aside from home my body would automatically jumps out of bed at 6am (not my usual wake up time too), whereas in Imagine Kyoto I actually found myself sleeping in (something I would do only at home). To me their bed is so much more comfortable than my expensive bed back home, should have flipped over the bed to check out the brand they are using haha.

I'm not the only one who has a hard time getting up in the morning lol, even lil penguin likes their bed.


This is also a non-smoking hotel which is a great relief for me because with a baby it would be quite bad for her to stay in a place that has the lingering scent of smoke, because once when I was traveling with my girlfriends for work we all selected “non-smoking” rooms but one of our friend got a smoking room because they were out of “non-smoking” rooms, the place reeked so bad that even with the purifier on full blast & windows open (middle of winter) it still stank, we suspected they didn’t clean the air purifier! She had such a horrible headache from it so I offered to share my room for the night or else she can’t sleep and she had an early flight home the next morning. So yea, big NO-NO when it comes to smoking. With that being said, Imagine Kyoto still do provide a designated smoking area (with bench) for their smoking guests, outside of the hotel next to the vending machine.


Too bad we couldn’t catch their sakura & momiji blooming right outside of the hotel as it’s still quite young, probably come back next year to take photos with it, for now my Favorited photo spot is their grand front entrance leading to the lobby especially at night! All these mysterious hidden alleyways with a surprise at the end, mostly can be found in older districts of Kyoto; think that’s the kind of concept the hotel were going for!

Additional Services

The hotel even provides booking services for kimono rental and foot spa, coincidentally it's the same foot spa i've been visiting for the past 2 years back in Arashiyama and now they have opened a new branch 2 stations away from the hotel- outside of Fushimi Inari! Would highly recommend to try Arashiyu Fushimi out as they provide one of the most relaxing and beautiful foot spas in Kyoto, their concept is really original as they use seasonal flowers along with aromatherapy. Each spa package comes with a drink & dessert, they have a few packages available starting from 3000yen+

The kimono package i booked through the hotel was for Karen Fushimi Inari Kimono Rental store (walking distance from Arashiyu Fushimi), and was happy with their services because they not only have a large selection of high quality kimonos (for both women, men & children), the staff was super helpful and professional in helping to coordinate my entire outfit because i wasn't too sure which matched better.
Other kimono stores i've visited before this couldn't even be bothered to help me when i asked them for advise and their kimono quality you can tell is made from cheap polyester.

Kimono + hair done by Karen Fushimi Inari
Booking through the hotel is great additional service especially for guests who can't speak or write Japanese, yet would like to experience kimono wearing or relax at the foot spa after all that walking!  
For my case though i can, i rather let someone else do the talking for me because i think there's a problem with my pronunciation or accent, it always gets misheard lol T.T

Wow, really didn’t expect my review about them to be this long! But truly I am a satisfied customer of the hotel, so please do stay with them if you are looking for a large comfortable & affordable place in Kyoto.
This hotel definitely goes under my #arisacertified list!

You can book their rooms via Expedia, Booking.com, Rakuten Travel & Hotels.com as their website has yet to be launched, also do follow them on Instagram for the latest updates.

Haha i'm really vain when it comes to long mirrors, last photo😝

Extra Tips:
We found a family friendly restaurant not too far from the hotel (250 meters), it's chain restaurant called Washoku Sato. Super cheap, decent hearty meals that allows baby strollers in, and serves all kinds of Japanese home style foods so if you have picky fickle minded eaters in your company, then you can let them chose whatever they want to eat without feeling the pinch. It may not be your 5 Michelin star Japanese restaurant because those obviously would wrinkle their nose or turn you down at the sight of noisy kids but it's a good dining option for families with small children :)

My lunch set costed me only 600yen+ for all of this!

Can't miss this huge sign at the end of the street

Hope this post has been helpful!

Yours Truly,

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