The best places to stay in Kyoto
Kyoto is Japan’s second most visited city, just behind Tokyo. Traditional and contemporary at the same time, it is one of the essential steps during a trip to Japan. To fully enjoy your stay, it will be important to find the best accommodation in Kyoto. In this short guide, I will give you some tips to help you in your search, and tell you a little more about the best areas to stay in Kyoto.
Choosing the right accommodation in Kyoto
Kyoto is a very touristic city, in which it can be quite difficult to find a good place to sleep, especially during the high season (i.e. autumn and spring), when hotels are often full.
But Tokyo is also a city where the Japanese themselves enjoy coming on weekends, and throughout the year, so you may face some difficulty in your search for accommodation. The first precaution to take will therefore be to start looking for a room as soon as you know the date of your stay, and to book as soon as possible to get the best prices!
But to be able to book months in advance in the right establishment, you will need to have a relatively precise idea of what you want to do during your trip to Kyoto, both in terms of the sites you want to visit , that the moods and atmospheres you want to experience.
Kyoto is a big city where not all neighborhoods are well served by train and subway. You can always take the bus to reach your destination, but I really advise you to try to find a place to sleep near a train or metro station, in the center, in order to save a lot of time when of your travels.
You will also have a choice when it comes to your type of accommodation. Classic hotels are numerous in Tokyo, but you can also find a large number of ryokans, the typical Japanese inns, especially in more traditional areas.
The best areas to sleep in Kyoto
Depending on the neighborhood you choose, you can also enjoy a quieter and more traditional atmosphere, or a dynamic and modern atmosphere, with a very lively nightlife.
Kyoto station area
If you mainly want to find accommodation in the center of Kyoto, which will be much more convenient when you arrive and leave, but also throughout your stay when you need to move around the city and in its surroundings, then the Kyoto station area is undoubtedly the one you should focus on.
This part of the city is really central, since from the station you can take the metro and the buses to go anywhere in town, but also the suburban trains to get away from the central areas. You can even take the Shinkansen, the Japanese high-speed train, to reach other major cities such as Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya or even Tokyo. In this part of the city, accommodation is often classic and modern hotels, but you can also find typical hostels.
Where to stay in the Kyoto station area?
Granvia Kyoto is a 5-star hotel ideally located a few steps from the train station. It has a swimming pool, gym and restaurant. Large double rooms are available from around $132.
Matsumoto Ryokan is a traditional inn located in a new building, just opposite Kyoto Station. You can find rooms in the purest Japanese style, with 2 futons, for around $110per night.
Where to sleep in Kyoto in Arashiyama
Just north of the station area is Karasuma, a very lively area with lots of shops and restaurants. This is the most central area of Kyoto. This is where you can find the Nishiki market, one of the best places to taste a traditional dish in an authentic atmosphere, or to find a souvenir to bring back from your stay. More than 120 stores are grouped together over almost 500 meters.
One of the big advantages of this sector is that it remains very close to the train station, and that several metro stations are located there. You can find a great diversity of establishments there, with ryokans and classic hotels for all budgets. For the atmosphere and the total immersion side, if you don’t know where to sleep in Kyoto yet, the center is one of the best options 🙂
Where to sleep in the hypercenter of Tokyo?
Kyono Mori Yurinsha is a hostel that has a bar and a restaurant, and offers a view of the center of the city. Double rooms are available from around $130.
KiKi CASA KYOTO is an aparthotel located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of several stations and Karasuma station. You can find very spacious rooms with a balcony and a view of the city, for around $80 per night.
Where to sleep in Kyoto? Direction Pontocho
Pontocho can also be considered part of the hypercenter. This district takes its name from the small pedestrian street that runs along the river. Very popular with tourists, this central area has remained more traditional, and there are still many wooden buildings.
Close to the Kamo-gawa River, you can also enjoy a very warm atmosphere. This is where the people of Kyoto like to come to relax and party. You will find restaurants, bars and nightclubs where you can spend a memorable evening.
Where to stay in Pontocho?
The Gate Hotel Kyoto Takasegawa by Hulic is a perfectly located hotel within walking distance of Kawaramachi and Gion-Shijo stations. You will find large rooms from around $120 per night.
Good Nature Hotel Kyoto is a luxurious property located in the heart of the city, about 300 meters from Pontocho Alley. It has a bar, restaurant and garden, and offers rooms for around $165 a night.
Here is the most touristic district of Kyoto. This is where Hanami-Koji Street, the most famous avenue in the city, is located. By visiting this district which remains close to Kyoto station, and therefore to the center, you can immerse yourself in the history and culture of the city.
You will have the opportunity to discover a good number of landmarks in this district, such as Kiyomizu-Dera, the great water temple and Yasaka-Jinja, the Gion shrine. As in all central districts of Kyoto, you can easily go to other places in the city thanks to the metro. Also here you can find a lot of traditional Japanese inns. Unlike Pontocho, this district is much quieter once evening comes, when all the shops and the temples have closed their doors.
Where to stay in Kyoto in the Gion district?
Kyoto Inn Gion The Second is a small, friendly hotel conveniently located within walking distance of Hanami-Koji Dori Street from Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple. It offers clean, modern and spacious rooms from $95.
Rc Hotel Kyoto Yasaka is housed in a renovated 50-year-old building that offers beautiful mountain views. The establishment has a garden and offers beautiful air-conditioned rooms with private bathrooms. For one night, count from $117.
Higashiyama is a slightly less central district, which occupies the eastern part of Kyoto, and which extends to the foot of the mountain of the same name. This large and very traditional district is particularly appreciated by visitors, it is one of the places to discover without fail during a stay in Kyoto.
By moving away from the main axes to stroll through the small alleys of this district, you can discover old houses and a wide variety of temples. This is where you can join the path of philosophy, one of the most soothing places in the city. The whole of this borough is very lively during the day, but becomes much quieter in the evening.
Where to sleep in Kyoto in Higashiyama?
Stay SAKURA Kyoto Higashiyama Shirakawa is an aparthotel located right next to Shoren-In Temple. You can find modern and spacious rooms, with a lounge area and a kitchenette, for around $62 per night.
Gozan Hotel & Serviced Apartment Higashiyama Sanjo is a short walk from the Samurai Kembu Kyoto show and offers modern, fully-equipped apartments with private kitchens from $125 for two.
Unlike the other neighborhoods that I have presented to you so far, Arashiyama is much more remote. Farther from the major tourist sites, it does not lack charm, and could be perfectly suitable for a slightly longer stay, or if you have already visited Kyoto for the first time.
In the past, this whole part of the city was a place for the imperial court to stroll. Even today, you can see beautiful temples and gardens there, and you can even visit the nearby Sagano Bamboo Forest. You will enjoy a quieter atmosphere, and discover another side of Kyoto’s history by visiting this district of the western suburbs.
Where to sleep in Kyoto in Arashiyama ?
Ranzan is a superb ryokan that has a large Japanese garden, public baths and a restaurant that serves traditional meals. The double room is available from $220 per night half-board for 2 people.
The Binario Saga Arashiyama Hotel is a ryokan-like hotel. It has a restaurant, cafe and public baths, as well as a common lounge in the purest traditional Japanese style. Very well located in Arashiyama, you can find rooms for two there from around $93.
And that’s it for this article on accommodation in Kyoto! I hope it will be useful for you to organize your stay 🙂 If you are wondering what to do in Japan, I have prepared a two-week itinerary in Japan that should help you organize your stay! And if you want to stay connected during your trip, I advise you to take a Japan SIM card!