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Best places to stay in Kyoto

Find out the top areas to stay in when visiting Kyoto

Whether you’re into temples and teahouses or keen on lively nightlife and stylish shopping, you’ll find it in Kyoto.

Check out our guide to the top areas to stay in Kyoto that will help you get the most from your trip.

Where should I stay in Kyoto?

It's good to have an idea of how you'll spend your time when you make those all-important Kyoto accommodation decisions.

If you want to be near the sights, then basing yourself in Downtown Kawaramachi is ideal. There are impressive temples and beautiful teahouses within walking distance of each other, as well as modern malls and top-class restaurants.

For traditional nightlife and the chance to glimpse a geisha or maiko, Gion is the place to be! Plus, you’re in striking distance of the clubs in Kiyamachi.

Meanwhile, the area around Kyoto station is one of the best places for tourists who need easy access to Kyoto's transport links, and Central Kyoto has for great value accommodation if you’re travelling on a budget.

Skip ahead to find out more about:  

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Downtown Kawaramachi

This is one of the top places to stay in Kyoto. There is a good choice of accommodation, from simple budget hotels to top end places with river views.

Plus, there are plenty of restaurants to relax in after sightseeing and taste local Japanese food.

Why should I stay in Downtown Kawaramachi?  

  • Easy to get around. Downtown Kawaramachi an easy area to explore on foot, but there’s good public transport including the subway and train line if you want to venture out to somewhere like Arashiyama.
  • Superb shopping. Modern malls and covered streets make this the top spot for shopping in Kyoto. You’ll find designer stores side by side with quirky souvenir shops. For something more authentic, visit Nikishi market, known as “Kyoto’s pantry” - it’s a fascinating market full of Japanese foods.
  • Japanese culture. Ponto-cho is one of the most beautiful Kyoto alleyways. It comes alive at night when dozens of lanterns light up the traditional wooden houses.

Gion and Southern Higashiyama

This is a one of the best places for tourists to Kyoto to immerse themselves in Japanese tradition.

In Gion you’ll see geishas making their way along traditional cobbled streets, while further west you’ll find the stunning temples of Southern Higashimaya. Accommodation isn’t cheap, but the experience of being here is priceless!

Why stay in Gion and Southern Higashiyama?

  • Foodie paradise. Gion is home to some of Kyoto’s best restaurants, including two places with three Michelin stars. The traditional restaurants in this area have been trading for over a hundred years, so you know you’re getting the real deal.  
  • Convenient transport. Walking is the best way to absorb the sights and sounds of this area. For getting in and out, there’s a bus service linking Gion to the rest of the city and the rail networks too. 
  • Unforgettable sights. Exploring this area will feel like the Japan of your imagination. There’s Sanjusagen-do Temple, home to 1000 golden images of the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and Kiyomizu-dera Temple with panoramic views and subterranean grottos.

Kyoto Station

This isn’t the prettiest part of Kyoto, but being the main route in and out of the city makes it one of the best places to stay in Kyoto for transport links.

You’ll also find good value Kyoto accommodation here like business hotels and backpacker hostels.

Why stay around Kyoto Station? 

  • Well connected. As you’d expect, this is a hub for Kyoto’s public transport. If you want to go further afield, staying here makes it easy to take a day trip to somewhere like Hiroshima.
  • Masses of multimedia. The area around Kyoto station has electronics outlets, so it’s ideal if you’re looking to upgrade your camera, phone, or audio equipment.
  • Modern architecture. This area is home to two of Kyoto’s most contemporary buildings – the Kyoto Station building and Kyoto Tower. The Kyoto Station building with its cathedral-like interior is uncompromisingly modern and is a spectacular piece of architecture. But for a different perspective, take a trip up Kyoto Tower for panoramic views across the city.

Central Kyoto

Home to two important sites, Kyoto Gosho and Nijo Castle, this is one of the best areas for tourists who want to discover Kyoto’s history.

You’ll have a great selection of restaurants, and accommodation options range from budget guest houses to high end luxury.

Why stay in Central Kyoto? 

  • Excellent transport systems. Kyoto’s subway lines intersect at Karasuma Oike Station, so you’re well connected with the rest of the city. If you’re using Kyoto’s bus service, you’ll find most journeys start and end in Kyoto Central.
  • Good food. There’s a good range of restaurants here, including a couple of Michelin starred options. If you’re looking for a snack, you’ll find plenty of options, including several with western style menus.
  • Space to relax. If you’re looking for somewhere to recharge, there’s some good options in Central Kyoto. Take a stroll round Sento Gosho, where you’ll find secret bridges and graceful pavilions, or visit Funaoka Onsen, regarded as the best bathhouse in Kyoto.

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What are the types of accommodation in Kyoto?

Hotels

You will find everything from five-star luxury hotels to simple budget-friendly hotel options in Kyoto. If you are looking for great value, business hotels have everything you need at a reasonable price.

Machiya Rentals

Machiya are long wooden buildings set around a garden courtyard with a design dating back to the Edo period. They are becoming rare, so it is worth taking the opportunity to stay in one while you can.

Ryokan

Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn. For the chance to sleep on a futon, wear yukata and experience traditional Japanese hospitality, a night or two in a Ryokan gives you chance to enjoy the best accommodation in Kyoto.

Guesthouses

These are apartments with private or shared facilities, and a good option for longer stays, as well as giving you the chance to experience day-to-day Japanese life.

How can I protect my trip to Kyoto?

It’s always a good idea to consider protecting your adventure with travel insurance. Find out more about Cover-More’s travel insurance options to see how you can travel with peace of mind.

Do you want more travel tips for Japan?

Whether you want to gaze at cherry blossoms, absorb years of history in shrines and temples, or dive headfirst into Japan’s unique modern culture - you’ll love our Japan travel content hub.

It is full of information about when to visit, how to get around and how to protect your holiday.

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