Updated February 2024
Booked a trip to Kyoto, Japan, and not sure where to stay? This ultimate guide to the best hotels in Kyoto will help you decide which area to stay in. From uber-luxe hotels to corner beds and breakfasts, there is a range of accommodations to choose from. It’s important to know which neighborhood you want to be in if you plan to explore by foot or metro, and from there, decide on the right hotel for you.
If it’s your first time visiting Japan, you’ll definitely want to book a few nights in this cultural city. Kyoto is not as big of a city as Tokyo, however, it is still quite spread out. One thing I love about Kyoto is the endless list of things to do. Local shopping, incredible coffee shops and restaurants, and beautiful temples to visit are just a few of the things to add to the list. In Kyoto, you can even have a traditional ryokan experience — there are so many ryokans in the city!
Short on Time? Here Are My Top Picks for Where to Stay in Kyoto:
- The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, for the best downtown Kyoto hotel
- The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West, for the best central Kyoto hotel
- Four Seasons Kyoto, for the best Southern Higashiyama hotel
- Ryokan Inn Yoshida-sanso, for the best Northern Higashiyama hotel
- Hotel Kanra, for the best Kyoto Station hotel
- Suiran, for the best Arashiyama hotel
Travel Tip: Be sure to get your JR Rail Pass prior to arrival in Japan!
Where to stay in Kyoto, Japan
Before You Visit Kyoto
To help you better plan your time in Kyoto, here are a few guides to reference:
- The Ultimate City Guide to Kyoto
- The Best Restaurants in Kyoto
- Top Tips for Visiting Japan
- A Transportation Guide to Japan
**If you plan on getting a rail pass for Japan, I’d recommend booking your JR Rail Pass here.
Where to Stay in Kyoto: Neighborhood Map
Yellow: Kyoto Station | Green: Southern Higashiyama | Orange: Northern Higashiyama | Purple: Downtown Kyoto | Black: Central Kyoto | Blue: Arashiyama
Need A Japan Rail Pass? This Is Where I Book Mine
This is my favorite part of Kyoto to stay in due to its most central proximity to sights. You’re footsteps from the river, near Nishiki Market, and can be to any other sight in around 15 minutes. If you’re looking for the most convenient location to be based in, downtown Kyoto is the best place to be based.
Hotels in Downtown Kyoto:
- The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto ($$$) — This is certainly one of the top hotels in all of Kyoto. Having stayed here once, this hotel was an incredible experience and well worth the splurge spend. I’d book this if you want to be in the downtown area but want a more quiet area.
- Kyoto Hotel Okura ($$$) — As it’s connected with the Kyotoshiyakusho-mae subway station, it’s in the heart of downtown. Still an upmarket price point but not as expensive as the Ritz.
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Sanjo ($$) — This is more of a business hotel but the standard rooms are comfortable. I’ve enjoyed their other hotels in Tokyo before.
- Hotel Unizo Kyoto Shijo Karasuma ($$) — Close to good dining options and another standard yet elegant business hotel.
- Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto ($$) — Comes highly rated, known for both great service and a quick walk to the sights in the area.
- Hotel Mystays Kyoto Shijo ($) — One of the highest-rated budget hotels in all of Kyoto.
- WeBase Kyoto ($) — who knew hostels looked this good? A solid option if you’re looking for a hostel stay.
Though Central Kyoto covers quite a large area of the city and offers many hotels, it can often take time to get to many of the destinations. You are close to a few sights like Nijo-jo Castle and local gardens, but the predominant sights will be onwards of 20 minutes to get to by metro and some walking. When choosing a hotel in this area, it is recommended to book a hotel near a metro to ease travel.
Hotels in Central Kyoto:
- The Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace West ($$$) — Clean and minimal design, this 8-room boutique hotel is a neighborhood favorite for an upscale stay.
- Rinn Shiki Juraku ($$$) — The ultimate accommodation experience in Kyoto is staying at a traditional machiya or townhouse. Kyomachi has 10 of them to choose from, each unique and incredibly beautiful in design.
- Noku Kyoto ($$) — Close to the Marutamachi Subway Station, this mid-tier hotel is easy to access in Kyoto. Being close to this subway station will give you the chance to get out easily.
- ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel ($$) — Right next to the Nijo-jo Castle, you’re close to the major sight in this part of Kyoto. It’s also close to the Nijojo-mae Subway station.
- The Palace Side Hotel ($) — Close to the Imperial’s palace, this is a good, clean budget hotel option.
- Kyoto Morris Hostel ($) — Just on the border of downtown Kyoto, this hostel is one of the better options in the area. Hostels can be for anyone and serve as a great communal way of traveling.
With the mountains on the eastern border of the neighborhood, you’re situated close to the most beautiful sights in Kyoto. Close to Gion and the temples, you can really walk to most of the major sights in this area. Nearby, the streets of Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka boast beautiful shops and local restaurants. A quick metro ride will also get you to any of the other major sights. It is also the area that has the highest concentration of luxury hotels due to its location and a more local feel. The only downside would be the crowds during the peak months as this area is where most tourists will head to.
Hotels in Southern Higashiyama:
- Four Seasons Kyoto ($$$) — One of the best hotels in all of Kyoto, the Four Seasons opened its doors to this beautiful hotel with class and poise. I’d recommend this as one of the top hotels to stay at.
- Hyatt Regency Kyoto ($$$) — For all who want to use Hyatt awards, this is the top hotel to spend it on. Well located and great service at this hotel.
- Park Hyatt Kyoto ($$$) — Set back off the hill with a view over Kyoto, the industrial yet minimal design here is incredible. Another beautiful hotel in the area.
- Rinn Gion Hanatouro ($$) — One of the newer boutique hotels to open in the area. I love that the rooms are large by Japanese standards and even come equipped with a Nespresso machine.
- Kyoto Hana Hotel ($$) — Close to the Sanjo Station, this is a good choice for a modern and elegant hotel.
- Kyoto Granbell Hotel ($$) — The Granbell hotels are always well done and incredibly hip for their style. This one is one of their bests. The only downside is that the rooms tend to run small so may be worth going up a few room classes.
- Laon Inn Gion Nawate ($) — Another budget option in the area and close to the river.
If you’re looking to emerge in a more local cultural area sans the crowds then Northern Higashiyama is the best area. You are a bit more removed from the rest of the city but still, have access to local sights like temples and shrines. The hotels here are much more limited but with it comes a boutique feel. In this area, you’ll want to be comfortable with using the local bus or riding a bicycle to get around. In this area are my favorite Philospher’s Path and the Hōnen-In temple.
Hotels in Northern Higashiyama:
- Ryokan Inn Yoshida-sanso ($$$) — The top-end ryokan in this entire area, the wooden entrance is a statement enough. It is shared bathrooms and matted rooms, but with that comes a chance for a traditional Japanese experience.
- Suminagi Shinpontocho ($$) — A conde hotel in the area with traditional Japanese rooms.
If you’re coming in for a quick stay or looking for a one-off night, booking near Kyoto Station is incredibly convenient. The train station is well-equipped with restaurants and shopping, so it’s like its own little world. You can easily use local transport to get around the city or even take day trips from here using the JR line. Convenient transportation would be the main reason for staying here, though with that comes the necessity to always get on a metro to get somewhere.
Hotels in Kyoto Station:
- Hotel Kanra ($$$) — A few blocks up from the train station, Hotel Kanra is a boutique hotel with Western amenities and Japanese minimalist design. A beautiful hotel and well-located in proximity to Kyoto Station.
- Hotel Granvia ($$$) — Another hotel chain you’ll often see in Japan is the Granvia collection, with hotels throughout. This is one of their higher-end options in Kyoto with good amenities and clean rooms.
- 22 Pieces ($$) — This boutique hotel with an amazing design is a great find for the area. Their apartment-style rooms are serviced like a hotel as well.
- Ibis Styles Kyoto Station ($$) — If you have ever stayed in an Ibis Hotel, their “styles” collection is a few steps up from their budget collection. Well located near the station, this is a solid choice.
- Century Hotel Kyoto ($$) — Grand in size and well-reviewed for its service and amenities, this is a good option near the station.
- Hotel Excellence Kyoto Station Hachijo ($) — A small business hotel with reasonable prices near to the station.
- Hotel Excellence Kyoto Ekimae ($) — One of the cheapest hotels in the entire area.
Don’t forget to book your Japan Rail pass before you arrive!
If you’re looking for a retreat that is emerged in the forest, then Arashiyama is the neighborhood to be in. It’s definitely more removed from the rest of the city but in return, you can find luxe accommodations that are a world away from the city. It’s close to a few sights like the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and local temples in the region. Arashiyama is a great choice for a getaway within the city.
Hotels in Arashiyama:
- Suiran ($$$) — One of the newer luxury hotels to open in this neighborhood, it’s a quiet retreat from the city. Well known for its location, the Japanese modern design is stunning.
- Hoshinoya Kyoto ($$$) — This ryokan is located up the river and easily one of the most unique stays in all of Kyoto. It’s right on the river and accessed by boat.
- Nagi Kyoto Arashiyama ($$) — About a 15-minute walk from the bamboo grove, this is a solid choice for an easy stay.
- Hotel Ranzan ($) — Not the cheapest hotel in the city but cheap for the location, Hotel Ranzan has public baths and modern rooms.
- Mulan Hostel ($) — For those looking for an uber-cheap stay, the Mulan Hostel is a few blocks away from the Arashiyama Train Station.
The Best Luxury Hotels in Kyoto
Arguably these are the highest-rated hotels in Kyoto for those looking for a splurge experience. Luxury in Japan is done in a tasteful way, with attention to detail and beautiful design.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Kyoto
- Four Seasons Kyoto
- Aman Kyoto
- Suiran Hotel
- Park Hyatt Kyoto
- Kyomachiya Hotel Shiki Juraku
- The Celestine Kyoto Gion
The Best Ryokans in Kyoto
A ryokan experience is a must when visiting Japan and what better place to do so than Kyoto. Staying at a ryokan is an opportunity to dive deeper into Japanese culture. Often times a ryokan stay includes breakfast and sometimes a set kaiseki dinner depending on your accommodations. Though you can do local, more affordable options, Kyoto is well-known for its uber-luxe experiences. Here are the best ryokans in Kyoto:
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PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!
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1. Book Your Flights
Use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.
2. Book Your Accommodations
Use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.
3. Book Your Tours & Experiences
4. Book Your Car
Use Discover Cars or Rentalcars.com to find the best car rental deals. I recommend comparing rental agency reviews on Google to ensure you are booking with the best company in that destination, as the reviews are often more accurate than the car rental search engines.
5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access
Get a Priority Pass membership to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.
6. Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.
My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are: