Where to stay in Kyoto: best areas and neighborhoodsOpen Index
Kyoto, the country's ancient capital, is a timeless city in which to experience the charm of ancient Japan. It is known as the city of a thousand temples and here you can stroll through traditional geisha neighbourhoods, visit ancient palaces and admire the beauty of its parks, especially during the cherry blossom season. There are so many things to see and do and the city is really big, so one of the first things to do is to decide where to stay.
So let's find out where to sleep in Kyoto: the best neighbourhoods to stay and which to avoid.
Useful tips: the best neighbourhoods to stay in Kyoto
Firstly: look for accommodation near a train or metro stop, this will make your stay a lot easier!
The area around Kyoto central station (Minami-ku district) is connected to the whole city, therefore highly recommended, especially for short stays. Here it is easy to find affordable accommodation.
The Higashiyama district is also excellent, a very convenient area, well served by public transport.
If you are looking for nightlife, the best solution is Nakagyo, which represents the centre of Kyoto. It is a fairly touristy area, but well served by public transport and with a lively nightlife.
If you are looking for tranquillity then we recommend Kamigyo and Sakyo, also ideal for families and those who want to try the experience of getting around by bicycle. However, these are districts further away from the centre, therefore recommended for longer stays, of at least a week (if you only stop for a few days, it is better to stay near the station).
Excellent neighbourhoods to stay but far from the centre are Arashiyama, Yamashina and Fushimi, they should only be considered if you are staying for at least two weeks.
- Recommended areas to stay on a budget: Kyoto station area, Higashiyama, Yamashina and Fushimi
- Recommended areas for families with children: Higashiyama, Kamigyo, Sakyo, Arashiyama
- Recommended areas for young people: Kyoto station area, Nakagyo
- Best accommodation: we have selected the best hotels B&Bs and hostels in Kyoto. Check out our recommendations and make your reservation on Booking
If you are in Kyoto for business or as a one-day stopover to other destinations, consider sleeping near the airport. Find the best solutions on booking.com
Guide to the areas of Kyoto
Capital of the prefecture of the same name and ancient capital of Japan for more than a millennium, before it became Tokyo, Kyoto extends over 827 sq km and has about one and a half million inhabitants. The city is divided into 11 different neighbourhoods or districts, each with its own identity and soul.
The best neighbourhoods to stay are the central ones, especially if you're short on time or if it's your first-time visiting Kyoto. The most suitable for a tourist stay are the following:
- Nakagyō-ku: the central district of the ancient city, today the main administrative centre, where Nijo Castle is located, and not far from the Imperial Palace of Kyoto;
- Kamigyō-ku: neighbourhood just north of Nakagyo, which includes the Kyoto Imperial Palace;
- Minami-ku: neighbourhood just south of Nakagyo, which also includes Tokyo Central Station, a great area to stay if you are visiting the city for the first time or are short on time;
- Higashiyama-ku: close to the central station, where attractions such as the Gion district, the famous Kiyomizu-dera temple and the Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine are located;
- Nishikyō-ku: district which in its northern part includes the area of Arashiyama, the famous bamboo forest of the city;
- Sakyo-ku: district in the northern part of the city, it borders the Nakagyo and Higashiyama districts;
- Yamashina-ku e Fushimi-ku: southeast of the city, ideal for stays of at least two weeks given its distance from the centre;
- Kita-ku, Shimogyō-ku and Ukyō-ku: more peripheral districts not recommended to stay, only due to distance and travel time by public transport;
Not recommended areas: Kyoto is one of the safest cities in Japan, if not the safest of all. The only neighbourhoods to avoid are the more peripheral ones such as Kita-ku, Shimogyō-ku and Ukyō-ku, but not for safety reasons, due to their distance from the centre and the main attractions.
Minami-ku District / Kyoto Station
The area around Kyoto Central Station is one of the best places to stay, especially if it's your first time visiting the city or if you only have a few days to spare. The station is located very centrally in the northern part of the Minami-ku district and is well connected to major attractions. Also nearby are the Tō-ji temple, the Kyoto Tower and the Kyoto Aquarium.
It is a recommended area especially for those staying less than a week in the city. Furthermore, you can find excellent solutions for all budgets, in fact there is no shortage of hostels and low-cost hotels, without sacrificing quality. However, it is not recommended for families, as it can be a bit chaotic.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €25,00 for low-cost accommodation to €500,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Hotel M's Est Kyoto Station South
|3-star hotel with 24-hour reception, shuttle service, concierge service and free WiFi. Ideal for couples and families
|Guest House Kyoto Inn
|Hostel 3 min walk from the station. Private rooms or beds in dorms. Private or shared bathroom. 24-hour reception, kitchen and common room. Ideal for young people
|Hotel Keihan Kyoto Hachijyoguchi
|4-star hotel 7 min walk from the station. Free WiFi, air-conditioned rooms, restaurant and shared lounge. Ideal for couples
Higashiyama-ku / Higashiyama District
One of the best neighbourhoods to stay if you want to immerse yourself in more traditional Japan, is the Higashiyama neighbourhood, east of the centre. The famous Gion district, known as the Geisha district, is here, as well as one of the most famous temples in the city, the Kiyomizu-dera. In the southernmost part, you can easily reach the wonderful Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine.
It is an ideal neighbourhood for families and anyone who wants to experience a real Japanese atmosphere. The costs of some accommodations are slightly higher than average, but it is not difficult to find great accommodations at affordable prices too! And above all, this is the right area to stay in a Ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese inn.
Finally, the area is served by the Keihan Main Line, with numerous stations located along the Kamo River. From here you can easily get to the centre, even on foot (15 min).
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €20,00 for low-cost accommodation to €500,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Kyoto Hana Hotel
|3-star hotel on Sanjo Street, 10 min walk from Gion. Air-conditioned rooms with TV, fridge and private bathroom. Ideal for couples
|Shiki Shiki Higashiyama
|Japanese-style hostel with rooms for two or three people, with private or shared bathroom. Free WiFi . Ideal for young people and couples
|Connect inn Gion Shijo
|Residence with rooms for two to four people, with private bathroom and TV. Ideal for couples and families
|5-star ryokan in the Gion district. Interiors and Japanese architecture with period furniture and tatami floors. Restaurant with typical cuisine and garden. Ideal for couples
Nakagyō-ku / Nakagyo District
North of the central station is the Nakagyo district, which is the heart of the ancient capital. Today it is the financial and commercial district, the real centre of the city. Here you will find attractions such as the wonderful Ni-jo Castle, the famous Nishiki Market and The Museum of Kyoto.
It is an ideal neighbourhood for young people and those looking for fun. It has a lively nightlife, with numerous clubs, and of course there is no shortage of restaurants, including international ones, and shopping centres. Furthermore, it is possible to find really great offers and even sleep in the unique Capsule Hotels!
Finally, it is in a great location for getting around the city. Here you will find Karasuma Oike metro station and Nijo Station train station, which takes you to Kyoto Central Railway Station in just 7 minutes.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €20,00 for low-cost accommodation to €450,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Hotel Resol Kyoto Kawaramachi Sanjo
|3-star hotel with 24-hour reception, restaurant, common lounge and free WiFI, laundry service. Ideal for couples
|Hostel 800 m from the Imperial Palace. WiFi, bar, laundry service, bicycle rental. Private rooms or dorms, private or shared bathroom. Ideal for young people
|The Millennials Kyoto
|Capsule Hotel with 24-hour reception and bicycle rental service. Capsules with minimal and wooden furnishings, free WiFi. Ideal for young people
|Nazuna Kyoto Gosho
|4-star ryokan with 24-hour reception, laundry service and free WiFi. Units with bedroom and kitchen, some seating areas. Ideal for couples and families
Kamigyō-ku / Kamigyo District
The neighbourhood that you meet immediately after Nakagyo, moving north, is Kamigyo, a very quiet residential neighbourhood, also ideal for getting around by bicycle. Here the main attraction is the Kyoto Imperial Palace with its large gardens.
This area is mainly recommended for families and those looking for a bit of tranquillity, far from the nightlife of Nakagyo, for example. You can stroll through the streets or move around by bicycle and discover one of the most authentic sides of the city and immerse yourself in the most traditional Japan.
Another big point in favour of the neighbourhood is its excellent location: located just north of the centre, it allows you to reach attractions such as the famous Kinkaku-ji Golden Temple or Ni-jo Castle in a very short time. For example, from the Imadegawa Station metro station (in front of the Imperial Palace) you will arrive at the Central Station in just 10 minutes.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €40,00 for low-cost accommodation to €400,00 for more expensive options - compare the best places to stay on booking
|Kyoto Garden Palace
|Hotel in front of the Imperial Palace. Free WiFi, restaurant, bicycle rental, 24-hour reception and massage service. Ideal for couples
|Hostel Sui Kyoto
|Capsule Hotel with air-conditioned rooms, shared lounge, free WiFi, garden and terrace. Shared bathroom. Ideal for young people
|Guest House Kingyoya
|Guest House with traditional style furnishings, double or triple rooms with shared bathroom. Free WiFi throughout the property. Ideal for young people and couples
|Kyoto Brighton Hotel
|5-star hotel 5 minutes from the Imperial Palace. Rooms with air purifier / humidifier, matcha tea making facilities and bathroom with bathtub. Restaurant with traditional cuisine. Ideal for couples and families
Sakyo-ku / Sakyo District
Having seen the main and most central districts, we now move on to some slightly more peripheral areas, to be taken into consideration only if you are staying in Kyoto for at least a week. The first is the large Sakyo district, a wonderful residential neighbourhood on a hill, located east of the Kamo River and north of the Higashiyama district!
It is an ideal neighbourhood for families and those seeking tranquillity, completely immersed in woods and hills. There are numerous temples here, such as the Heian Shrine or Nanzen-ji Temple. The best solution is always to stay in the southernmost part of the neighbourhood, closer to the centre.
As for travel, the neighbourhood is served by two railway lines and several stations. Taking Demachiyanagi Station in the southern part as a reference point, you can reach Kyoto Central Station in about 20 min.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €30,00 for low-cost accommodation to €300,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Entire 52 square metre holiday home, in complete Japanese style. Two bedrooms, equipped kitchen, sitting area. Ideal for families
|Hostel with lounge, café and bar with happy hour serving local dishes. Bicycle rental service and WiFi . Private rooms or dorms. Ideal for young people
|Guest house with adult-only accommodation, shared lounge and garden. Ideal for couples
|Nanzenji sando KIKUSUI
|Japanese-style ryokan surrounded by greenery, with garden, restaurant, 24-hour reception and terrace. Ideal for couples
Nishikyō-ku / Arashiyama District
We now move to the western part of Kyoto, to one of the most fascinating neighbourhoods in the whole city, namely Arashiyama, located in the Nishikyō-ku district. It is also one of the hottest tourist spots, as the world famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is located here!
It is a suitable area to stay if you stop in Kyoto for more than a week, as the district is very far from the other attractions. Rich in greenery and ancient temples, it is also a very romantic neighbourhood, with luxury hotels equipped with all comforts, often chosen for honeymoons or romantic getaways.
As for transport, while staying here you will have to use public transport: from the Torokko Arashiyama railway stop it will take you about 30 minutes to reach Central Station, and slightly longer to get to other attractions.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €60,00 for low-cost accomodation to €700,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Hotel with 24-hour reception and luggage storage. Air-conditioned rooms with river views, a wardrobe and free WiFi. Ideal for couples
|Apartment complex with bedroom, seating area, bathroom and small equipped kitchen. 24-hour reception and pets allowed. Ideal for couples, families and groups
|The GrandWest Arashiyama
|4-star residence with rooms or apartments with kitchen. For up to 5 people. Restaurant, bar and room service. Ideal for couples and families
|Suiran a Luxury Collection Hotel Kyoto
|Japanese-style 5-star hotel surrounded by greenery, with a large garden. Spa and wellness centre, 24-hour reception, restaurant and room service. Ideal for couples and families
Yamashina-ku and Fushimi-ku / Yamashina and Fushimi District
Finally, if you are planning to stay for at least a week, two excellent neighbourhoods to stay are Yamashina and Fushimi. Located in the eastern part of Kyoto, they are two districts considered peripheral and very quiet.
This area is especially recommended for those who want to enjoy peace and tranquillity, away from city traffic. It is also an ideal area for families. Definitely worth considering during the cherry blossom season, when the banks of the river are filled with flowering trees!
Finally, the area is well served by train and metro. The neighbourhoods are crossed by the Keihan Main Line and, starting from Fushimi Station, you will arrive at Central Station in about 15 min. The important thing is to always look for accommodation near the stops.
Average prices in the neighbourhood range from about €40,00 for low-cost accommodation to €300,00 for more expensive options - compare the best accommodation on booking
|Zen Kyoto Apartment Hotel
|Residence with rooms or apartments with equipped kitchen, for up to 6 people. Terrace, parking and laundry service. Ideal for couples, families and groups
|Cocoro Hotel Kyoto
|Hotel with shared lounge and WiFi. Rooms with private bathroom, microwave and refrigerator. Ideal for couples
|Japanese-style Ryokan, with rooms featuring patios and garden views. Shared lounge, tour desk and express check-in and check-out. Ideal for couples and families
|Entire 60 square metre holiday home, with equipped kitchen, washing machine and air conditioning. Ideal for families and groups
Places to stay near Kyoto
Whether or not this is your first visit to Kyoto and regardless of the length of your stay, the best solution is to sleep in the city. Kyoto is really very extensive, made up of many heterogeneous neighbourhoods, and with a large supply of accommodation.
Sleeping outside the city is not recommended due to transport. Japan's public transport is recognized worldwide for its punctuality, especially the rail system, but here the problem is distance: to cross the city and reach attractions in opposite points, it could take more than an hour! Staying outside of Kyoto, the travel times would be further lengthened making you waste a lot of time, not to mention the cost of the ticket!