Where to stay in kyoto?

HotbotBy HotBotUpdated: June 25, 2024

Introduction to Kyoto’s Accommodation Options

Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is a city with an enchanting blend of traditional and modern elements. When planning a visit, choosing the right place to stay is crucial to immersing yourself in its rich culture, historical landmarks, and tranquil gardens. The city offers a diverse range of accommodation options, from luxurious hotels to traditional ryokans and budget-friendly hostels. This guide will help you navigate through the best areas and types of lodging available in Kyoto.

Central Kyoto: The Heart of the City

Staying in Central Kyoto puts you at the epicenter of the city’s attractions. This area is ideal for first-time visitors who want to be close to major landmarks, shopping districts, and dining options.

Gion District

Gion is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district, known for its traditional wooden machiya houses, teahouses, and picturesque streets. Staying here offers a glimpse into Kyoto’s cultural heritage.

  • Gion Hatanaka: A luxurious ryokan offering traditional rooms with tatami mats and futons. Guests can enjoy kaiseki dining and geisha performances.
  • Sowaka: A boutique hotel that combines traditional Kyoto aesthetics with modern comfort. It’s located within walking distance of Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Downtown Kyoto (Shijo-Kawaramachi)

This bustling area is perfect for those who love shopping, dining, and nightlife. It’s also conveniently located near public transportation.

  • The Thousand Kyoto: A modern hotel offering contemporary rooms and extensive amenities, including a spa and several dining options.
  • Hotel Granvia Kyoto: Located within Kyoto Station, this hotel is perfect for travelers who prioritize convenience. It offers direct access to trains, buses, and a variety of shops and restaurants.

Historical Kyoto: Immerse in Tradition

For those who want to dive deeper into Kyoto’s history and culture, staying in areas close to historical sites and temples is ideal.

Higashiyama District

Higashiyama is home to some of Kyoto’s most iconic temples and shrines, such as Kiyomizu-dera and Yasaka Shrine. This area offers a peaceful retreat with easy access to cultural landmarks.

  • Hyatt Regency Kyoto: A luxurious hotel that blends traditional Japanese design with modern amenities. It’s located near Sanjusangen-do Temple.
  • Machiya Residence Inn: Offers traditional townhouses (machiya) for rent, providing a unique and authentic Kyoto experience.


Arashiyama, located in the western part of Kyoto, is famous for its bamboo groves, scenic river views, and historic temples. This area is perfect for nature lovers and those seeking a serene environment.

  • Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel: Situated along the Hozu River, this hotel offers elegant rooms with views of the river and mountains. Guests can enjoy private hot spring baths.
  • Ryokan Arashiyama Benkei: A traditional ryokan with tatami rooms, private onsen baths, and kaiseki meals. It's located near the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge.

Modern Kyoto: Contemporary Comfort

If you prefer modern amenities and sleek design, Kyoto has plenty of options that cater to contemporary tastes.

Kyoto Station Area

Staying near Kyoto Station provides unparalleled convenience for transportation, making it easy to explore the city and beyond.

  • The Kyoto Tower Hotel: Located right next to Kyoto Tower, this hotel offers comfortable rooms and panoramic views of the city.
  • RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto: A modern hotel with spacious rooms, a rotating sky lounge, and a variety of dining options. It's a short walk from Kyoto Station.

Nakagyo Ward

Nakagyo Ward, which includes the Nishiki Market and Nijo Castle, offers a mix of historical and modern attractions. This area is great for those looking to blend old and new Kyoto.

  • Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei: A stylish hotel that combines traditional Kyoto elements with modern design. It’s located near Nishiki Market.
  • Cross Hotel Kyoto: A sleek, contemporary hotel situated close to the Kamo River and Pontocho Alley, offering easy access to both historical sites and modern amenities.

Budget-Friendly Options

Kyoto also caters to budget-conscious travelers, offering a range of affordable accommodations, including hostels and guesthouses.

Guesthouses and Hostels

For those who want to save money without sacrificing comfort, guesthouses and hostels are excellent choices.

  • Piece Hostel Sanjo: A modern hostel with dormitory and private rooms. It offers a communal kitchen, lounge, and free breakfast.
  • Kyoto Hana Hostel: A cozy, family-friendly hostel offering both dormitory and private rooms. It’s located near Kyoto Station.

Capsule Hotels

Capsule hotels provide a unique and budget-friendly lodging experience, offering compact, individual sleeping pods with shared facilities.

  • First Cabin Kyoto Karasuma: A capsule hotel offering both "first class" and "business class" cabins. It’s conveniently located near Shijo Station.
  • 9 Hours Kyoto: A futuristic capsule hotel offering minimalist sleeping pods and communal areas. It’s close to the Gion district.

Unique and Unconventional Stays

For travelers seeking something out of the ordinary, Kyoto offers unique accommodations that provide memorable experiences.

Temple Stays

Staying at a temple (shukubo) allows you to experience the serene lifestyle of Buddhist monks, participate in meditation sessions, and enjoy vegetarian meals.

  • Shunkoin Temple Guest House: Located within the Myoshin-ji temple complex, this guesthouse offers meditation classes and cultural experiences.
  • Fumonken Guest House: A peaceful retreat within the Nanzen-ji temple complex, offering traditional rooms and a tranquil garden.

Machiya Townhouses

Renting a machiya townhouse provides an authentic Kyoto living experience, complete with tatami rooms, wooden architecture, and private gardens.

  • Gion Kyuraku: A beautifully restored machiya in the heart of Gion, offering modern amenities while preserving traditional charm.
  • Kyoto Machiya Zeniyacho: A luxurious machiya with a blend of traditional design and contemporary comfort, located near Nijo Castle.

As you explore the myriad of lodging options in Kyoto, it's clear that the city caters to every taste and budget. Whether you seek the elegance of a luxury hotel, the authenticity of a traditional ryokan, or the convenience of a modern stay, Kyoto promises an unforgettable experience.

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