Places To Stay In Kyoto – Where to Stay in Kyoto – Our Favorite Neighborhoods and Hotels by Espen Egeland Last Updated Mar 23, 2021 | 33 comments
If there’s one city in Japan that’s on almost everyone’s itinerary, it’s Kyoto. Although it’s the temples, shrines, and beautiful historical sites that draw most people to Kyoto, the city has much more to offer.
Places To Stay In Kyoto
As more than a million foreign visitors discover each year, the city offers world-class shopping, mouth-watering cuisine (Kyoto has seven three-Michelin-star restaurants!) and some of the most diverse accommodation options in Japan. With so many hotels and guesthouses to choose from, deciding where to stay in Kyoto can be a challenge.
Imu Hotel Kyoto (s̶$̶2̶0̶2̶) S$130: See 30 Reviews, Price Comparison And 79 Photos (japan)
Kyoto is divided into districts, each with its own personality. Where you want to live depends on what you consider your top priority. Is it easy to access public transportation, close to popular sights, restaurants and nightlife, or are you looking for a place to get away and enjoy beautiful nature?
In this article, we’ll summarize what we think are the best areas to stay in Kyoto and why. For each neighborhood, we have listed our favorite hotels and Ryokans for all budgets: high-end, mid-range and budget.
Whether you are looking for a world-class luxury hotel, with impeccable Japanese service, a night in a traditional Ryokan (Japanese inn), a beautiful mid-range hotel or a budget and comfortable accommodation house, we have a recommendation for YOU.
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In Kyoto you can find everything from luxury hotels that can rival the best in the world, to affordable business hotels for the businessman who hasn’t returned home after a night out, a glass or anything in between.
If you want to stay in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, where you sleep on futons and eat a traditional Japanese dinner, Kyoto has more Ryokan than any other city. If you are curious about staying in a Ryokan, you can read our Ryokan experience.
Researching this guide was a huge undertaking that began before we even left for Kyoto and continued throughout the time we spent there and beyond. To make this resource as comprehensive and useful as possible, we have, in addition to our own, included recommendations from people we know and trust.
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Important: None of the hotels recommended here are chargeable or have sponsored us in any way. If you book through one of the links, we will collect a small commission, at no additional cost to you. This keeps our site running – so thank you in advance for your support! ♥
Below are the 6 most popular Kyoto neighborhoods for visitors to stay in, ranked first by the most attractive location:
On the map above: Downtown = purple, South Higashiyama = orange, Kyoto Station = red, Central Kyoto = green, North Higashiyama = blue, Arashiyama = brown.
Hoshinoya Kyoto, A Hidden Gem In Japan
Downtown Kyoto covers an area in central Kyoto, on the west bank of the Kamo River. It includes the historic Ponto-Cho Geisha district as well as the new Shijo shopping district.
Most visitors to Kyoto choose to stay in this area, and for good reason. There are some very nice hotels here and the area provides a nice respite from all the temple sights. If you want to live in a neighborhood with easy access to hundreds of stores, malls, restaurants, bars, food markets, and vibrant nightlife, this is the place for you.
The famous tourist areas of southern Higashiyama are within walking distance. The city also has two main metro lines as well as a few rail lines that make traveling throughout the rest of the city easy.
Where To Stay In Kyoto, Japan: The Best Hotels & Areas
Downtown has lost some of its old-world charm to modern development, and once hand-painted signs have been replaced with bright neon signs.
The elegance and luxury of the Ritz-Carlton combined with the unique Japanese taste for style, it is truly an oasis of tranquil luxury in the heart of Kyoto. It’s pricey but perfect for a honeymoon or a one-off splurge! The service is world class as expected and its location overlooking the river is stunning. The rooms are large and nicely designed, the pool is beautiful and the hotel’s many restaurants are all excellent.
Hotel Okura is an older hotel, but it is surprisingly affordable. The rooms are spacious, comfortable, nicely furnished and thanks to robust sound insulation, very quiet. A direct connection to Kyotoshiyakusho-mae subway station is right next door, making it easy to get around the city. Ponto-Cho and the shopping areas of Shijo and Karasuma are all within easy walking distance. The breakfast buffet is excellent and served on the 17th floor with a view of the river. They even have a bakery on site as well as several restaurants.
Ace Hotel Kyoto, Kyoto
A modern hotel in a beautiful location overlooking the Kamogawa River. It is within walking distance of Gion and South Higashiyama temples as well as public transportation. Rooms are modern in style, spacious and comfortable with nice touches such as rain showers, large flat-screen TVs and fast Wi-Fi. There is a nice Onsen (public bath) inside that you can enjoy when you return from a sightseeing tour.
This popular hotel is ideally located! Here you are right in the center, surrounded by many restaurants and shops and with easy access to public transport. The famous temples and Geisha quarters of Ponto-cho and Gion are within walking distance. Rooms are relatively small but modern and comfortable, with private (and surprisingly spacious) bathrooms including a shower area and bathtub. The staff are great and also serve a great breakfast.
A charming hotel in the heart of the shopping district, but within walking distance of the temples and the old town of Gion. The rooms are small but clean, modern and comfortable. There is a free onsen/spa on the third floor.
Where To Stay In Kyoto [most Reliable Guide For 2023]
A budget hotel that offers excellent value for money. The rooms are relatively large, modern and spotlessly clean with beautiful decoration and equipped with air conditioning, refrigerator and free Wi-Fi. It’s also great, almost in the middle of Sanjo shopping street, which is a pedestrian only area, which makes it nice and quiet inside the hotel.
A clean, no-frills budget hotel conveniently located in the heart of downtown Kyoto. The rooms are small but the beds are comfortable and the metro station is only a minute away.
We stayed at the Mystays hotel in Tokyo and we loved it! The Mystays Hotel is a chain of business hotels. The rooms aren’t the biggest but have everything you need and more (even slippers!). The location of Mystays Kyoto is close to Maruyama Park and many shrines, and very close to a subway station (300 m) and a bus stop. There is a good selection of restaurants nearby and a supermarket next to the hotel. It is a quiet hotel and all rooms have good wifi. There is a laundry room with washing machines and a dryer, as well as a coffee machine in the lobby which can be used free of charge.
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“The narrow road lined with old Machiya houses is lit tonight by the warm glow of lanterns, as it has been for hundreds of years. Inside a nearby house, behind thin windows covered in light paper, I can make out the silhouettes of girls in their kimono robes pouring tea during a traditional tea ceremony. I’m in Gion, Japan’s most famous geisha district, in downtown Kyoto. Here time seems to stand still and for a long time modern life seems like a distant dream.”
Gion is arguably Japan’s most famous geisha district and offers a fascinating insight into Japanese history. Here you can always meet Geiko’s daughter and her student Maiko in their beautiful traditional kimonos, as they head out to entertain their guests. The architecture is one of the best preserved examples of this period in Japan.
A little further west in the mountains are the temples of Higashiyama South, Kyoto’s most famous attractions. The area is full of colorful temples, shrines, parks and Zen gardens.
Hotel In Kyoto, Japan
Living in the southern Higashiyama area puts you right in the heart of the finest ancient temples and shrines Japan has to offer.
Gion (northwest of South Higashiyama) is Kyoto’s oldest geisha district. The streets here are lined with beautiful old wooden shops, restaurants and tea rooms.
It will be busy, so expect to wander the streets and temples with many other tourists from Japan and the rest of the world. Accommodation prices here tend to be high and there aren’t many budget options.
Where To Stay In Kyoto With Kids
An upscale ryokan a short walk from the historic Gion district popular with foreign visitors. So if you’re a little nervous about your first Ryokan experience, this is a great option. The rooms are large, with a nice Japanese-style decoration as well as a seating area and a balcony. Each room has a private bathroom with a traditional Japanese bathtub. The staff speaks good English and the
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