The Best Areas to Stay in Kyoto: Top Districts & Hotels

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. It has a historical, artistic and cultural heritage that makes it one of the most visited destinations in the country. In contrast to the typical Tokyo bustle, Kyoto has a more relaxed and traditional atmosphere. In this post, we will tell you all about the best areas to stay in Kyoto, Japan.

Where to stay in Kyoto - Best areas and hotels
Where to stay in Kyoto – Best areas and hotels

Kyoto offers a mixture between the traditional and the modern. Here, it is not unusual to see geishas strolling through the narrow streets of some of its wooden-house neighborhoods. Its thousand-year-old temples are refuges of silence away from the comings and goings of the city.

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 great 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.

Kyoto has a humid subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers and rainfall throughout the year, so the winter season is very cold.

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.

When it comes to the best areas to stay, the area between the train station and the Shimogyo district offers a wide range of accommodation of all 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 higher-end areas since they are very central and close to most attractions. (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 Kyoto

Hostels in Kyoto

Hostels and cheap stays in Kyoto

Apartments in Kyoto

Would you like independence? Book an apartment in Kyoto

Bed & Breakfast in Kyoto

Inns, B&Bs and guest houses in several areas around Kyoto

The Best Areas to Stay in Kyoto, Japan

1. Recommended area: Central Kyoto

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

This area is fairly popular among tourist due to being the commercial heart of the city, as well as the top shopping and entertainment area in Kyoto.

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

From this district, you can walk around the city, hop on a bus or use Kyoto’s extensive metro system to move to other 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

What makes this the best area to stay in Kyoto

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


2. Around Kyoto Railway Station

South of the city center lies Kyoto Station, one of the most important railway stations in Japan.

It also serves as an an important intermodal transport in the city hub with all kinds of services.

The station itself is a large futuristic building, with an integrated complex of shopping centers, cafeterias, a hotel, cinemas and government offices.

The station is a key access point to the historic city of Kyoto, and around it, you can find several traditional streets with bars, open-air food stalls, and restaurants, which makes it a great area to stay in Kyoto for street food lovers.

The main attraction in this area is Toji Temple, a World Heritage Site by Unesco, and the Kyoto Tower.

The area around the station offers a wide array of accommodation, from budget guest houses to swanky 5-star hotels.

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

What makes this the best area to stay in Kyoto

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


3. Shimogyo

The Shimogyo Ward stretches north of Kyoto’s main railway station.

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

Shijō Street, on the north end of Shimogyo, is the busiest shopping district in Kyoto.

Shimogyo 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

What makes this the best area to stay in Kyoto

  • 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.

  • 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.


4. Nakagyō-ku

Nakagyō-ku is the most central district of Kyoto, where 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 both glamour and action; shopping and entertainment options 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.

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

What makes this the best area to stay in Kyoto

  • 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.


5. Gion

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

Located on the east 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.


6. Higashiyama

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

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 green areas.

Its cobblestone alleyways and wooden houses make it one of the most beautiful places in traditional Kyoto.

Higashiyama is a popular district due to its old wooden houses and merchants shops of yesteryear.

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.


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