Kyoto has all kinds of accommodation options to suit every budget. The city’s more central areas like Kawaramachi and the Gion and Southern Higashiyama are very popular places to stay as they have easy access to the main sightseeing districts and are also convenient for shopping and dining. However, where you choose to stay will depend very much on your personal preferences and your own travel itinerary. If you want to be able to get in and out of the city quickly and easily, then you will probably choose the Kyoto Station Area. And if you fancy a quiet retreat at an onsen hot spring resort then you might choose the scenic Arashiyama district in the west of the city.
Kyoto Station Area
The main reason to stay in the Kyoto Station area is for easy access to the station and its inter-city connections. Kyoto Station has regular rail links to other destinations in western Japan like Osaka, Nara and Kanazawa, but also the shinkansen or “bullet train”, which can speed you west to Hiroshima and Hakata or east to Nagoya and Tokyo.
The Kyoto Station area has a good mix of luxury and mid-range hotels as well as traditional ryokan inns, some budget guest houses and hostels. Kyoto Station is located in the southern part of Kyoto city and is not so central, but there are still some interesting attractions in the area.
To the south of the station is Toji Temple, which has a famous five-story pagoda and a very popular monthly flea market. Shopping facilities around the station include the Isetan department store which is inside the station building and the Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera electronics stores.
- Hotel Granvia Kyoto is a stylish, contemporary hotel directly connected to Kyoto Station. It offers comfortable rooms with excellent facilities and easy access to the city’s attractions.
- The Thousand Kyoto is a sophisticated and contemporary hotel offering luxurious accommodations and exceptional dining experiences.
- Rihga Royal Hotel Kyoto is a comfortable mid-range hotel with excellent services and facilities which is located within walking distance of Kyoto Station.
- Miyako City Kintetsu Kyoto Station is a modern and comfortable hotel directly connected to Kyoto Station, providing easy access to the city’s transportation and popular attractions.
- Ibis Styles Kyoto Station is an affordable option right across Kyoto Station. It’s known for its clean, compact rooms and convenient location.
- Via Inn Kyoto Station is an affordable and functional hotel, ideally situated just a short walk from Kyoto Station, perfect for budget-conscious travelers seeking convenience and comfort.
Kawaramachi is the local name for Kyoto’s central downtown district. Just a few blocks in size, this area is bordered to the east by the Kamogawa river, to the west by Karasuma Street, to the north by Oike Street and to the south by Shijo Street. This area has plenty of hotels to suit all price ranges including high-end tourist hotels and mid-range business hotels. You can also find some of Kyoto’s most famous ryokan inns in this area, and a small number of guest houses and hostels.
Famous locations in this area include Nishiki Market and the Pontocho alley, but this area doesn’t have a huge number of sightseeing attractions — its main appeal is its accessibility. Everything is walkable and convenient in Kawaramachi with lots of shopping and dining facilities.
From here you can also easily walk into nearby sightseeing districts such as Gion and Higashiyama. And this area is especially well-served by public transport too, with easy access to both of the city’s subway line as well as the Keihan Main Line which runs north-south through the city and the Hankyu Kyoto Main Line which runs east-west.
- The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto sits on the banks of the Kamogawa river, offering a blend of luxury, style, and tradition. It’s located in a prime area with easy access to downtown Kyoto.
- Ace Hotel Kyoto is situated in a historic building blending modern design with traditional Kyoto aesthetics, Ace Hotel Kyoto offers a unique and culturally rich stay, featuring artistically decorated rooms, multiple dining options, and a prime location close to downtown Kyoto’s key attractions.
- The Gate Hotel Kyoto Takasegawa by Hulic is a stylish and contemporary hotel known for its elegant rooms, panoramic city views, and exceptional service, located near the Kamogawa river, offering guests a tranquil retreat in the heart of Kyoto.
- Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Kyoto Premier is a modern hotel offering stylish and comfortable rooms. It’s well-located for exploring the nearby historic districts.
- Hotel Resol Kyoto Kawaramachi Sanjo is a chic and comfortable hotel, located in the bustling downtown area, offering easy access to historical sites and shopping districts, coupled with modern amenities and a relaxing atmosphere.
- Tokyu Stay Kyoto Sakaiza is perfect for extended stays. This hotel combines the convenience of a central location near Kyoto’s main shopping and dining areas with the comforts of home, including fully-equipped kitchenettes and spacious rooms.
- Piece Hostel Sanjo is a budget-friendly option with a chic, modern design. It provides a comfortable and sociable environment, ideal for travelers looking to explore the city.
- Comfort Inn Kyoto Shijo Karasuma offers budget-friendly accommodations without compromising on quality, Comfort Inn Kyoto Shijo Karasuma provides a comfortable stay with essential amenities, ideally located near major transportation hubs and popular tourist spots.
- HOTEL UNIZO Kyoto Karasuma Oike is a blend of comfort and convenience, featuring modern rooms and facilities, positioned in a vibrant area of Kyoto close to historical landmarks, making it an ideal choice for both leisure and business travelers.
The Gosho area is located to the north and west of the Kawaramachi area. This area is quieter than Kawaramachi and its main attractions are the Gosho — or Imperial Palace Park — and Nijo-jo Castle.
Here you can find a large number of comfortable tourist hotels and mid-range hotels with reasonable room rates, there are also a lot of ryokan inns in this area and some budget guest houses. To help you get around, it’s a good idea to find accommodation near a subway station in this area, such as Nijojo-mae Station on the Tozai Line or Marutamachi Station on the Karasuma Line.
- Kyoto Brighton Hotel offers a luxurious stay with spacious rooms and traditional Japanese hospitality. It’s located in a quiet area, close to the Imperial Palace.
- HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, a Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa is a luxurious hotel that combines traditional Kyoto craftsmanship with modern elegance, offering sumptuous accommodations, a world-class spa, and exquisite dining, all set against the backdrop of a historic garden.
- Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto is a chic and intimate boutique hotel that offers a tranquil and stylish stay, nestled in a quiet neighborhood near the historic Nijo Castle.
- Hotel Monterey Kyoto is a stylish hotel with a blend of European and Japanese design. It offers comfortable rooms and is conveniently located for exploring the city.
- Moxy Kyoto is known for its youthful and vibrant atmosphere, a trendy hotel offering playful, contemporary design and social spaces, appealing to a modern and energetic crowd.
- The Royal Park Canvas Kyoto Nijo is a modern, artistic hotel that provides a comfortable and casual stay with a creative flair, located conveniently near the Nijo Castle and well-connected to Kyoto’s public transport.
- Smile Hotel Kyoto Shijo is an affordable option with compact, clean rooms. It’s well-situated for accessing both the Gosho and downtown areas.
- First Cabin Kyoto Nijojo is a unique capsule-style hotel that provides a budget-friendly, aviation-themed lodging experience, combining compact efficiency with a touch of luxury.
- hotel MONday Kyoto Karasuma Nijo is a modern and minimalist hotel that offers cozy and well-designed rooms, focusing on functionality and comfort, conveniently located in central Kyoto.
Gion and Southern Higashiyama Area
This area is located east and south-east of Kawaramachi. It’s one of the most popular areas to stay in the city, as it is fairly central, full of famous sightseeing attractions and has some of the most well-preserved historic districts.
This area includes Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kodaiji Temple, Yasaka Jinja Shrine, the scenic streets of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka, and the geisha districts of Gion and Miyagawacho. This is also a good area for fine dining — the Gion district in particular is famous for its upscale restaurants. Gion and the Southern Higashiyama area is best explored on foot, but it is bordered on the west by the Keihan Main Line
- Hyatt Regency Kyoto provides a luxurious experience with elegant rooms and top-notch facilities, located in the heart of the historic Higashiyama district.
- Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto – Set in the scenic temple district of Kyoto, this luxurious hotel offers an elegant fusion of traditional Japanese architecture and contemporary design, featuring serene gardens, a spa, and fine dining options.
- The Celestine Hotel Gion – Nestled in the historic Gion district, this refined hotel combines modern comforts with traditional Kyoto aesthetics, offering guests a peaceful retreat with thoughtful amenities and personalized service.
- Hoshino Resort OMO5 Kyoto Gion – A stylish and modern hotel with a local cultural twist, located in the heart of Gion, offering unique experiences and activities that immerse guests in the local Kyoto lifestyle.
- Nohga Hotel Kiyomizu Kyoto – This boutique hotel, located near the famous Kiyomizu Temple, blends art and local culture, providing a contemporary and artistic atmosphere with a focus on Kyoto craftsmanship.
- Kyoto Granbell Hotel – A sleek and trendy hotel offering a unique blend of modern design and traditional elements, situated conveniently for exploring Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant city life.
- Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto is a popular budget option, offering a mix of private and dormitory-style rooms. It’s a great choice for those who want to experience the historic area on a budget.
- Hotel Abest Grande Kyoto Kiyomizu – Located near the iconic Kiyomizu Temple, this hotel offers comfortable and contemporary accommodations, ideal for travelers seeking a blend of modern amenities and easy access to historic sites.
- TSUKIMI HOTEL – An elegantly designed boutique hotel, TSUKIMI HOTEL provides a cozy and artistic environment, located in a convenient area for exploring Kyoto’s major attractions and experiencing its rich cultural heritage.
Okazaki and Northern Higashiyama Area
This area includes the Okazaki museum district, Heian Jingu Shrine, Nanzenji Temple, Eikando Zenrinji Temple, the Silver Pavilion of Ginkakuji Temple and the Philosopher’s Path.
This is a much quieter part of town and most of the accommodation is concentrated around the Okazaki district and Marutamachi Street. However, there are still a good number of high-end tourist and mid-range business hotels in this area and some traditional ryokan inns too. Budget accommodation in hostels and guest houses might be harder to find here. In this area you can use the Keihan Main Line
- The Westin Miyako Kyoto enjoys a picturesque hillside location, offering luxurious rooms with spectacular views, and is close to many temples and cultural sites.
- Fufu Kyoto is an elegant and serene luxury ryokan, offering a tranquil retreat in Kyoto with its exquisite blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and modern design, complete with onsen baths and refined kaiseki dining.
- Hotel Okura Kyoto Okazaki Bettei – Located in the culturally rich Okazaki area, this upscale hotel combines classic Japanese elegance with modern luxury, offering spacious rooms, sophisticated dining, and proximity to Kyoto’s famous temples and museums.
- Hotel Heian No Mori Kyoto offers a balance of comfort and convenience, located near major attractions like the Heian Shrine and the Philosopher’s Path.
- Guesthouse Hyakumanben Cross is a cozy and affordable option, providing a friendly atmosphere and easy access to nearby attractions.
- Kyoto Traveler’s Inn is an affordable and comfortable option for travelers, Kyoto Traveler’s Inn provides simple yet cozy accommodations, conveniently situated near Kyoto’s major attractions, including Heian Shrine and the Philosopher’s Path.
Named after the Nishijin traditional textile production district, this area in north-west Kyoto may feel a little remote from the city center but it includes some of its most famous sights. Here you can find the Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji Temple, the famous Zen garden of Ryoanji Temple and the plum garden of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.
Accommodation is quite limited in this area however, with only a small number of luxury tourist and mid-range business hotels, ryokan inns, budget hostels and guesthouses. Probably the easiest way to access this area is by taxi
- Aman Kyoto – Set amidst serene forests and gardens, Aman Kyoto is a luxurious sanctuary offering minimalist design, tranquil spa experiences, and exquisite dining, all influenced by the rich cultural heritage of Kyoto.
- ROKU KYOTO – This high-end hotel, part of the LXR Hotels & Resorts, blends luxury with natural beauty, located in the scenic foothills of the Takagamine mountains, offering a peaceful retreat with sophisticated amenities.
- THE JUNEI HOTEL Kyoto Imperial Palace West – A boutique hotel known for its intimate and elegant atmosphere, THE JUNEI HOTEL provides personalized service and refined accommodations, situated conveniently near the historic Kyoto Imperial Palace.
- Ryokan Tanoya – A traditional Japanese ryokan offering an authentic cultural experience with classic tatami rooms, onsen baths, and kaiseki meals, Ryokan Tanoya provides a glimpse into the timeless hospitality of old Kyoto.
- KéFU stay & lounge – Combining modern design with a cozy atmosphere, KéFU stay & lounge offers a unique, boutique lodging experience in Kyoto, ideal for travelers seeking a blend of style, comfort, and cultural immersion.
Arashiyama in the west of Kyoto is an essential stop on any visit to Kyoto — but not particularly convenient for other areas. Stay here if you desire a quiet, peaceful retreat far from the busy city center. Here you can spoil yourself in one of the high-end hotels or traditional ryokan inns which are located on the riverside.
Some of the hotels in this area also feature natural hot spring baths. Attractions in Arashiyama include the famous bamboo forest, Mount Iwatayama Monkey Park, Tenryuji Temple, Togetsukyo Bridge, the Sagano Romantic Train Ride
Arashiyama is served by three railway lines. From Kyoto Station you can take the JR Sagano Line
- Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto is nestled along the Hozu River and offers exquisite luxury with traditional Japanese touches, perfect for a serene retreat.
- HOSHINOYA Kyoto – A luxurious retreat nestled along the picturesque Oi River in Arashiyama, HOSHINOYA Kyoto offers a blend of traditional Japanese elegance and modern comfort, complete with serene river views, exquisite kaiseki cuisine, and cultural experiences.
- The GrandWest Arashiyama – This contemporary hotel in the heart of Arashiyama provides a sophisticated and comfortable stay, featuring modern amenities, scenic views of the surrounding natural beauty, and easy access to local attractions.
- Hotel Binario Saga Arashiyama – A conveniently located hotel offering a blend of traditional Japanese hospitality and modern comforts, Hotel Binario Saga Arashiyama is an ideal base for exploring the historic and scenic Arashiyama area.
- Riverside Arashiyama – A charming hotel set by the banks of the Hozu River in Arashiyama, Riverside Arashiyama offers cozy accommodations with scenic river and mountain views, well-suited for travelers seeking a tranquil and picturesque setting.
Article by Michael Lambe. Photos by yama1221/pixta (1), gandhi/pixta (2), Sanga Park/pixta (3), anomeaSW/pixta (4), yamaken/pixta (5), Richie Chan/pixta (6,7), cmr_smn/pixta (8). All rights reserved.