Kyoto is one of our favourite spots in Japan- and we're hardly alone in thinking this. Accordingly, accommodation is often on the scarce side, so we recommend booking early. For some hotels you can only book so far in advance- so if they're completely booked out for your dates, double check. It could be that bookings haven't actually opened yet.
Across Japan you'll often find hostels that also offer private rooms, often with their own bathrooms, or conversely, boutique hotels that have a dorm room or two. We've included hostels in this list for a couple of reasons. Hostels in Japan tend to a lot nicer, cleaner and quieter than their counterparts on this side of the world. Accommodation in Kyoto can get a little expensive, and these offer a more wallet-friendly alternative. It's also just a nice way to meet people.
You won't find traditional ryokan listed here, but a night or two in a ryokan is a great idea in Kyoto, and these deserve a round-up all of their own, so stay tuned.
What we look for
In our search, we don't look for a lot of luxury, but location, a bed that fits a tall person, and a reasonable price are all high on the wish-list. Where possible we've included when the hotel was built, and any extras that are on offer.
We haven't stayed in all of these hotels, this is the product of a long Google search, cross-referenced with Agoda. Prices are estimates only, based on the dates we looked at. Be aware that hotel prices will change depending on whether you're staying across a weekend or a public holiday- sometimes spiking quite dramatically. You'll also find a map below.
Our Kyoto accommodation shortlist:
The original hotel opened in 2011, a conversion from a student dormitory. The hotel was updated and expanded in 2016, and a new Japanese art theme was added- today you'll find contemporary works for sale on offer throughout the hotel. The original rooms are in the North Building, and the new rooms, which tend to be more highly styled and more expensive are in the South. Breakfast is on offer, and there's a bar on site. It's a 20 min walk from Kyoto Station, or a five minute taxi ride.
Expect to pay around AU$220 a night for a room for two that's 26m².
This hostel consists of two houses that have been converted into hostels, with four rooms in each. There are also two adorably decked-out private cottages. If you're worried about sharing a bathroom or you're travelling in a group of four or five, one of the private cottages is your best option. These also come with free bicycles. You'll also be able to cook and do laundry. This is a more relaxed part of Kyoto- you're not right in the 'action' but it's a chance to get into the rhythm of local life. Hot tip- don't miss the amazing flea market at the nearby Tenmangu Shrine on the 25th of each month. You'll find all manner of treasures.
Expect to pay around AU$80 a night for a room for two, or AU$140 for a private cottage.
Opened in April 2017. The name seems to be roughly interchanged with Maurice Hostel at some points on the internet, and doubly confusing, there are two addresses listed. But don't be worried, it's just the one place. The hostel is well designed, and the room options include dorms, family rooms and private rooms. Bathrooms are shared, and you'll have to head downstairs to shower, but each floor has toilets. There's a kitchen, a laundry and free bikes. There's a breakfast buffet at a super reasonable ¥500.
Expect to pay around AU$90 a night for a room for two that's 12m² (but is spacious because, no bathroom).
Our love for Len is well documented, you can read all about it here. It's a place that we always look forward to heading back to, and while we love the building, the location, the coffee, and actually the fish and chips, it's the staff we really love. Sure, you share a bathroom per floor, but it's no big deal. Everything's super clean and the larger Queen and King rooms have a washstand. Len's simple to get to by bus from Kyoto Station.
Expect to pay around AU$120 a night for a room for two that's 14m² (but is spacious because, no bathroom).
Another new hotel, this one opened in 2017. The location is really fantastic, you're a stone's throw from the streets and laneways of Gion, but also close to the action. The rooms are really comfortable, although apparently smaller rooms can be a bit of a squeeze to get into. A small price to pay for a well-sized bed perhaps? One great highlight here is the bath, which is a bit of a rarity in such a centrally located spot. There are bikes for hire- but get in quick, there's only four.
Expect to pay around AU$260 a night for a room for two that's 18m².