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Best places to stay in Kyoto

Welcome, dear weary or perhaps excited traveller, to the Kansai Local top places to stay in Kyoto. These are our recommendations that we have personally stayed at, and find to be the best places to stay in Kyoto. 

Whether you’re into meeting new young people and a fun community vibe at one of Kyoto’s many hostels, or the exquisite luxury tradition and hospitality at a Kyoto Machiya, and everything in between, we hope this guide can help you decide where to stay when you’re in Kyoto.

Traditional places to stay in Kyoto

For the Luxury or one time treat yourself traveller, nothing beats staying in a traditional Kyoto Machiya. If you want to experience true Kyoto style architecture and hospitality and don't mind spending a buck or two for a treat, then you should try a night at one of the below Kyoto Machiya. Machiya are ‘Kyoto style’ townhouses. The general rule is they must have been built before 1920, to a traditional style and decor to qualify as a Machiya. They are very beautiful and a key cultural aspect of Kyoto. Unfortunately due to the massive influx of tourism over the past few years, Machiya townhouses have been smashed down to make way for highrise shops and hotels. There are no laws protecting them and the destruction of Kyoto Machiya is the destruction of Kyoto’s culture. However, a few companies preserve and rent them out, so by spending a night or two at one of the below Machiya rentals, you are not only experience true Kyoto culture but you are also helping preserve Kyoto culture!

 

Iori Machiya 

Founded by Japanologist Alex Kerr a decade or so ago for the sole purpose to protect Kyoto Machiya townhouses, this company lease/rent out Machiya all over Kyoto. They are self-service, i.e. you pick up the keys from the central office, and you’re then transported to the Machiya that you rent. They will clean and service the house while you’re out and prepare the beds etc before you come back. 

►Price range: $$$$

⇒ Click/Tap here to find out more and to book

Iori Machiya - one of the Machiya interiors. This living room area looks out onto the main river in Kyoto

Iori Machiya - one of the Machiya interiors. This living room area looks out onto the main river in Kyoto

Iori Machiya - the hang out area of one of the Machiya

Iori Machiya - the hang out area of one of the Machiya

The futon beds will be put out while you're out and about exploring

The futon beds will be put out while you're out and about exploring

Village Kiramachi Yado

A small collection of Machiya and Machiya style accommodations in the centre of Kyoto. Designed by an Italian designer who lives in Japan to the most beautiful and exquisitely Kyoto style, we highly recommend here if you want the Machiya experience but don't want to rent an entire Machiya house, and you want to be based in the centre of Kyoto.   

►Price range: $$$$

⇒Click/Tap here to find out more and to book

Kiramachi Yado - a little fire place in one of the apartments

Kiramachi Yado - a little fire place in one of the apartments

Entrance to one of the apartments. Very traditional!

Entrance to one of the apartments. Very traditional!

All of the rooms and apartments at Kiramachi Yado have beautiful handmade cedar wood baths

All of the rooms and apartments at Kiramachi Yado have beautiful handmade cedar wood baths

The mini street in the middle of the 'Village'

The mini street in the middle of the 'Village'

Sowaka 

A newly opened hotel which was a Machiya, and has been renovated to the traditional Machiya style standards. It's a 5-star Machiya hotel, so the difference with the above is you have hotel service included with the experience, and you get a room/suite instead of a whole Machiya. Highly recommended by us. Fantastic restaurant, intimate and beautiful bar and the rooms are exquisitely finished with the Kyoto Machiya style. The architect who worked on Sowaka is a family friend and is one of the most respected in Kyoto and indeed the Kansai region. 

►Price range: $$$$

⇒Click/tap here to find out more, and book

One of the suite rooms at Sowaka

One of the suite rooms at Sowaka

Beautiful Japanese and western fusion design

Beautiful Japanese and western fusion design

Handmade Japanese cedar baths are in all the rooms

Handmade Japanese cedar baths are in all the rooms

The cute and intimate bar at Sowaka

The cute and intimate bar at Sowaka

The inner garden area at Sowaka

The inner garden area at Sowaka

Some of the rooms have little tea houses

Some of the rooms have little tea houses

Hotel Granvia 

Probably one of the most conveniently located hotels for transport as it is part of Kyoto station. So if you are having a quick day or two visit, and fancy a nice luxury hotel, Hotel Granvia is perfect. It’s on the higher end of the spectrum of hotels, with a 4 /5-star rating. Top points for the convenience of location. 

►Price range: $$$

⇒Click/tap here for more details and to book

Main entrance to Hotel Granvia

Main entrance to Hotel Granvia

Hotel Granvia is part of Kyoto station

Hotel Granvia is part of Kyoto station

Hotel Unizo 

Hotel Unizo is a hotel chain. The one on Karasuma Dori (the main and biggest street that runs from west to east Kyoto right through the centre) is extremely well located as it is pretty much in the centre point of Kyoto. It is a simple yet comfortable and somewhat higher-end hotel. The little back streets behind the hotel are fun to explore. 

►Price range: $$

⇒Click/tap here for more details and to book

Hotel Unizo

Hotel Unizo

Standard room in Hotel Unizo

Standard room in Hotel Unizo

Karasuma Hotel Kyoto 

Another great hotel, very similar to Unizo Hotel, just around the corner from Unizo. Fantastically well placed and very comfortable and clean. If you don't want to spend loads on a hotel, but still want a decent, semi-luxury style city hotel, go for Karasuma Hotel Kyoto. Like the others on this list, this hotel has free WiFi throughout, 24 hour English speaking help desk and other useful amenities. 

►Price range: $$

⇒Click/tap here for more details and to book

Spacious double room. You can get your kids (or yourself) to jump between the beds like in those cringe family movies

Spacious double room. You can get your kids (or yourself) to jump between the beds like in those cringe family movies

The lobby. Pretty decent lobby as lobbies go. Do you like lobbies? Lobby, Lobby.

The lobby. Pretty decent lobby as lobbies go. Do you like lobbies? Lobby, Lobby.

Centurion Cabin and Spa

Slap bang on the main part of Karasuma Dori, right in the middle of the action is this very unique capsule-style hostel. Each cabin/capsule has its own bed, a little TV, fresh linen, heating and aircon and the same with the rooms. 

There is a 24 hour Spa and Sauna for guests to enjoy as well as a 24-hour front desk, fun games and hang out area and only a 2-minute walk from Shijo and Karasuma stations, which are the most central stations in Kyoto. Centurion Cabin and Spa scores highest on this list for location. 

►Price range: $

Click/tap here for more details and to book

The cabins

The cabins

Washing area

Washing area

The 24 hour Spa and Bath

The 24 hour Spa and Bath

Lobby and check in area, with cool games etc. A fun area to hang out. Lobby

Lobby and check in area, with cool games etc. A fun area to hang out. Lobby

K’s House Kyoto - Backpackers Hostel

Near Kyoto station is a really fun and vibey hostel called K’s House. The hostel has a fun bar/pub attached to it called Zen cafe and there is also a large communal area on the first floor of the hostel. It is a great congregation spot and a great way to meet people and join for a night out. For the budget or young/student traveller, defo check it out! 

►Price range: $

⇒Click/tap here for more details and to book

Kansai Local are doing private tours and adventures to places that tourists don't know about. If this sounds awesome, get in touch with us and we will get back to you! 

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