Where to stay in Kyoto – What you need to know

Kyoto is an imposing imperial city located in the central part of the Honshu island in Japan.

Where to stay in Kyoto - Best areas and hotels

Where to stay in Kyoto – Best areas and hotels

The city of Kyoto has a historical, artistic and cultural heritage that makes it one of the most visited destinations in the Japanese archipelago.

In contrast to the typical Tokyo bustle, Kyoto has a more relaxed and traditional atmosphere. In Kyoto, it is not unusual to see geishas strolling through the narrow streets of some of its wooden house neighborhoods, and its thousand-year-old temples are refuges of silence away from the comings and goings of the city.

Kyoto, the millenarian city, with a mixture between the traditional and the modern, has a humid sub-tropical climate, with hot and humid summers and rainfall throughout the year, so the winter season is very cold.

This city is considered the cultural center of Japan and preserves some of the most fascinating temples, gardens and sanctuaries as its major tourist attractions.

Kyoto also has a good transport network that includes metro, tram and buses to ensure mobility to locals and visitors.

This Japanese city has accommodation of all kinds. From traditional style single-family houses to the most modern five-star hotels.

While it is not difficult to find budget accommodation in Kyoto, prices vary throughout the year and are usually lower during the winter months (January-March). The high season includes the months of hanami (the flowering of the cherry and almond trees), summer and autumn.

For example, between the train station and the Shimogyo district, there are a variety of offers and categories to choose from, especially if you are looking for a comfortable, budget hotel that’s well connected through public transport. (See accommodation near Kyoto Railway Station).

Districts such as Nakagyo, Gion, and Higashiyama are high-cost areas because they are central and close to most attractions, which considerably raises prices during the high season. (See accommodation in central Kyoto).

This is a guide with the best areas to stay in Kyoto.

Accommodation options in Kyoto

Hotels in Kyoto

The best hotels to stay in the old Japanese capital.

Hostels in Kyoto

Hostels and cheap stays in Kyoto city.


Apartments

Do you want independence? Book an apartment in Kyoto.

Gesthouses & B&B

Guesthouses, bed and breakfast and pensions in Kyoto.

Best areas to stay in Kyoto

Top area: Central Kyoto

Due to its location in the heart of the city, Central Kyoto is the best area to stay in Kyoto.

Fairly popular among tourist due to being the commercial heart of the city, Central Kyoto id top shopping and entertainment area in Kyoto.

In the neighborhoods that make up Kyoto’s city center, you can find everything from traditional markets to large stores and shopping centers.

From here you can walk around the city, hop on a bus or use Kyoto’s extensive metro system to move to the most remote areas.

Central Kyoto has a variety of bars and restaurants, traditional recreational game parlors and lively karaoke bars.

One of its main thoroughfares: Shijo road, where the Tower and the Kyoto Station are located, gives you access to the lively shopping area of ​the Shimogyo-ku district.

Some of the attractions in this set of neighborhoods include the Nijo Castle, the traditional geisha neighborhood of Pontocho, the Higashi Honganji and Nishi Honganji temples, the Nishiki Market and the Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Best areas to stay in Kyoto, Japan - Central Kyoto

Best areas to stay in Kyoto, Japan – Central Kyoto

Kyoto - Central - Click to see all hotels on a map

Kyoto – Central – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Heart of Kyoto
  • Best area for tourists
  • Great for business travelers
  • Great connections
  • Tourist attractions
  • Temples and palaces
  • Nightlife

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Japan Hotels Gojo-Muromachi is located in the Shimogyo Ward district of Kyoto, just a 3-minute walk from Gojo Subway Station and a 10-minute walk from Karasuma Subway Station. The property offers free WiFi throughout the property. – from US$82.

  • Budget Option

    Grids Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi Hotel&Hostel is located in Kyoto, 800 meters from Kyoto International Manga Museum. It is about a 13-minute walk from Samurai Kembu Kyoto and 1.9 km from Nijo Castle. Free Wi-Fi access. – from US$56.

  • Midrange Option

    Guesthouse Koiyamacho was opened in August 2017 and is located in Kyoto, 500 meters from Shijo Karasuma Station and the Kyoto International Manga Museum. Free WiFi is available in all areas. – from US$63.

  • Luxury Option

    Hotel Gracery Kyoto Sanjo is a 7-minute walk from Sanjo Train Station and a 13-minute drive from JR Kyoto Station. It offers stylish accommodation with free Wi-Fi and a concierge service, and Kawaramachi Station is a 6-minute walk away. – from US$94 .

 

 

 

Kyoto Railway Station

South of the city center, you can find Kyoto Station, the transportation hub of the city and one of the most important railway stations in Japan.

It is a large futuristic building, with a complex of shopping centers, cafeterias, a hotel, cinemas and government offices.

This area is an important intermodal transport hub with all kinds of services.

Kyoto railway station contains restaurants, a museum, theater, and even a hotel.

A large shopping center is located northwest from the station. It houses several fashion brands.

The station is a key point in the historic city of Kyoto, and around it, you can find several streets with bars, food stalls, and restaurants.

It is a great area to stay in Kyoto for street food lovers.

The place is complemented by an exit to the Kyoto Tower and another to the Toji Temple, a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Best area to stay in Kyoto - Around the Central Kyoto Railway Station

Best area to stay in Kyoto – Around the Central Kyoto Railway Station

Kyoto - Station - Click to see all hotels on a map

Kyoto – Station – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Central railway station
  • All kinds of hotels
  • Best area for business travelers
  • Great connections
  • Shopping options

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Japaning Hotel Kyoto Hachijyoguchi offering free Wi-Fi, it is located in Kyoto, 1 km from To-ji Temple. The air-conditioned units have a fully equipped kitchenette with a microwave and a kettle. – from US$89.

  • Budget Option

    HARUYA Umekouji is an 8-minute bus ride from JR Kyoto Station and consists of a 100-year-old Japanese traditional townhouse with free Wi-Fi. – from US$45.

  • Midrange Option

    APA Hotel Kyoto-eki Horikawa-Dori is conveniently located a 10-minute walk from Kyoto Station and a 5-minute drive from Higashi and Nishi Hongan-ji temples. It offers massage services, a restaurant and free WiFi in all its facilities. – from US$82.

  • Luxury Option

    Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto is just a 5-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station. The hotel is an 18-minute walk from Tofuku-ji Temple and 2.3 km from Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The property is 3 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum. – from US$110.

 

 

 

Shimogyo

This district also boasts interesting museums, the public thermal baths (Onsen), as well as the Buddhist temples of Honganji and Jodo Shin-shu.

It is a vibrant district with bars, restaurants and a great nightlife; many establishments are located on upper floors and terraces with spectacular views.

During the day, you can find lots of coffee shops and quiet restaurants.

Shimogyo is definitely one of the recommended areas to stay in Kyoto due to its location and myriad of things to do.

Where to stay in Kyoto - Shimogyo

Where to stay in Kyoto – Shimogyo

Kyoto - Shimogyo - Click to see all hotels on a map

Kyoto – Shimogyo – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Very central
  • Hotels with onsen
  • Nightlife
  • Great restaurants
  • Good connections

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Vessel Hotel Campana Kyoto Gojo is located in downtown Kyoto, a few minutes walk from the Gojyo subway station, Karasuma line. The hotel offers a 24-hour reception, public baths and free sauna. Free WiFi is available in all areas. – from US$73.

  • Luxury Option

    Dormy Inn Premium Kyoto Ekimae Natural Hot Spring, ocated a 3-minute walk from Kyoto Station and Kyoto Tower, it offers rooms with free internet access. The property features large thermal baths, a sauna and massage services. – from US$173.

 

 

 

Nakagyō-ku

Nakagyō-ku is the most central district of Kyoto, in which you can find attractions such as the Nijo Castle, the Kyoto International Manga Museum, the Nishiki Market,
the Kyoto Museum and the Kyoto Art Center.

Since the old days, Nakagyo has been the heart of Kyoto, with many shopping streets.

Nakagyo was founded in medieval times as the business area and administrative center of the former Japanese capital.

The entire Nakagyo area contains glamor and action; shopping and entertainment make the place one of the top areas to stay in Kyoto.

Modernity and technology are very present in Nakagyo. It hosts the largest game parlor in western Japan, quite busy by visitors and locals.

It is one of the best areas to stay in Kyoto for travelers who seek to be close to everything and those interested in the art of Japanese comics known as Manga.

Best districts to stay in Kyoto - Nakagyo-ku

Best districts to stay in Kyoto – Nakagyo-ku

Kyoto - Nakagyo-ku - Click to see all hotels on a map

Kyoto – Nakagyo-ku – Click to see all hotels on a map

Why stay here:

  • Heart of the city
  • Manga Museum
  • Nijo Castle
  • Excellent connections

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    One More Heart at Nijojo 1 offers 2-star accommodation in Kyoto, 600 meters from Nijo Castle and a 19-minute walk from the Sanctuary of Kitano Tenmangu. The property is 1.8 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum. There is free WiFi. – from US$49.

 

 

 

Gion

Gion is the area that best evokes the soul of ancient Japan, with palaces and castles, symbols of the imperial city.

On the other side of the Kamo River, it is one of the most popular geisha neighborhoods, so it is not surprising to find some geiko and maiko (apprentices) on its streets.

The traditional tea houses along with antique shops and other traditional stores are also iconic in this area.

The whole area reflects the old Japan.

This area is a great place to stay in Kyoto if you’re interested in the more traditional side of this Japanese city.

Bear in mind that this area can be one of the most expensive districts to stay in Kyoto.

Best area to stay in Kyoto - Gion

Best area to stay in Kyoto – Gion

Kyoto - Gion - Click to see all hotels on a map

Kyoto – Gion – Click to see all hotels on a map

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Kyoto Gion Shinbashi-an is located in Kyoto, in the Higashiyama Ward neighborhood, 500 meters from the Samurai Kembu Kyoto. The air-conditioned unit is 1.3 km from Heian Shrine. Free WiFi is available in all areas. – from US$110.

 

 

 

Higashiyama

Higashima is located across the Kamo River, in the eastern side of Kyoto. It is one of the most picturesque areas of Kyoto.

The area boasts many city attractions such as a temple complex and Maruyama Park, one of the greatest spots to watch the cherry blossom.

Higashiyama is covered with forests and cobblestone alleyways stands out as one of the most beautiful places in traditional Kyoto.

It is a popular district due to its old wooden houses and merchants shops of yesteryear, where there is no lack of Japanese food and stalls of authentic Japanese green tea.

Where to stay in Kyoto, Japan - Higashiyama-ku

Where to stay in Kyoto, Japan – Higashiyama-ku

Kyoto - Higashiyama - Click to see all hotels on a map

Kyoto – Higashiyama – Click to see all hotels on a map

Hand-picked hotels in this area

  • Our Top Pick

    Kamoya Ryokan is located in Kyoto, 7 minutes on foot from Shichijo subway station. All rooms have tatami flooring and are equipped with flat-screen TV and private bathroom. – from US$63.

 

 

 
About the Author

My name is Luis Cicerone. When I was little, I would walk around the house with an atlas in my hand. My rainy Sundays were spent memorising maps and capitals. At fifteen I did my first solo trip and since then I travel whenever I can. I work in travel marketing. I love photography, movies and cat videos.

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