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The Best Places to Stay in Kyoto to Live Like a Local


Looking for the best places to stay in Kyoto for a true local experience? We’ve got you covered.

For many visitors to Japan, Kyoto is often seen as an essential destination.

This city was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years, and in that long span of time, much of the country’s history was defined and many of its most recognizable landmarks were erected.

In fact, the city of Kyoto is home to 17 UNESCO Heritage Sites alone, and alongside these long-standing structures of the past are charming streets filled with small businesses and hidden gems to discover.

Related read: Complete Kyoto Travel Guide

Best Places to Stay in Kyoto

Indeed, one of the best parts of Kyoto is how much it offers no matter where you are; the interesting stuff isn’t all centered around the main visitor attractions. By staying in accommodations located in residential areas, travelers can get a taste of what the locals of Kyoto experience and see on a daily basis.

The opportunity to explore spots that many visitors may never stumble upon makes for a great city experience, and simultaneously, there are many great options in these more modest locations to fit any traveler’s needs, from those wanting to live in the utmost luxury to those who want a very traditional feel.

Take a look at some of these accommodation options in Kyoto by Japan Experiences, which will provide a more authentic feel to your stay!

Places to Stay in Kyoto - The Best Places to Stay in Kyoto to Live Like a Local
Women exploring a japanese village in yukata. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

For a Traditional Japanese Home Feel

Kyoto is, naturally, heavily associated with historic and traditional Japan. It would make sense to want to stay in an accommodation that matches the aesthetic! “Koyasu” is built out of an old traditional home in the Ginkakuji neighborhood of Kyoto, not far from the famous temple of the same name and the iconic “Philosopher’s Path.” 

The interior is quintessentially Japanese in design, featuring tatami mat flooring and paper shoji sliding doors. Furthering the traditional feel, the wooden construction of the stairs and much of the furnishings are patina-rich over years of use, lending significant character to the decoration.

Various hina dolls are displayed throughout the house, and even the sleeping arrangement is very traditionally Japanese, with futons set up over tatami mats in the upstairs bedrooms. Also, be sure to take the time to relax in the garden at the back of the house.

Other accommodation options for a traditional Japanese feel in Kyoto include:

  • Kyomizu-an, near the iconic Kyomizudera temple.
  • Enso-an, built out of an old doll craftsman’s workshop in Higashiyama.
  • Gion, named after the famous Geisha district it is located in.
  • Yasaka, built out of a “machiya,” a type of Japanese town house.

For Staying in the Gion District

The Gion District in Kyoto is one of the most well-known locations in Kyoto. As the traditional Geisha District of the city, it is adorned with traditional style buildings, restaurants, and other structures nears nearby Kyomizudera. If there’s any locale to represent the city of Kyoto, it is likely Gion.

Indeed, being able to stay right in the heart of this district would be one of the ultimate ways of spending time in Kyoto, and such is possible with Gion Rokudo.” Located in the southern part of Gion, this is an area that is frequented by Geisha and Miko for cultural practices and events. 

The house has two floors and can accommodate up to five guests. Much of the flooring is made of tatami, which can be covered with futons for sleeping, though the main bedroom features a bed over wooden flooring.

The Zen Buddhist Kennin-ji Temple is very nearby, and just past that is Hanamikoji Street, with many shops, restaurants, and tea houses constructed in traditional fashion.

For other options for staying in the Gion district:

  • Tsukinowacho is a great option with more contemporary and Western-influenced decoration.
  • Gion Matsubara is also a great option for smaller parties (accommodating up to three people) and has a fully outfitted kitchen. 

For Stand-Out Architecture and Design

Kyoto is a city that prides itself on aesthetics. Stylish in both traditional eastern design and contemporary western design metrics, this is a city that appreciators of quality architecture will undoubtedly adore. Fortunately, that appreciation isn’t limited to when out and about, as there are accommodation options that boast amazing design as well.

DELTA Stay, located near the Kamogawa River, features combined elements of Japanese design as well as Scandinavian design. Gorgeous domestic wood panneling contrasts bold and muted brutalist walls. Of course, when it comes to interior design, the beauty always lies in the details, and the number of different textures and materials masterfully worked throughout the property are ones to behold. 

DELTA is actually located right above Gallery DELTA Bistrot, which is the permanent space for the internationally lauded KYOTOGRAPHIE Photography Competition. The accommodation’s emphasis on aesthetics is reflective of this.

Design lovers will also love:

  • Teppanyaki House, built out of an old Teppanyaki restaurant and outfitted with bright, retro coloration and decor.
  • Uta Yomi Dori, with sleek eastern design elements and a traditional Japanese garden in the back.
  • Miyagawacho, featuring a tatami room with contemporary design elements incorporated. 

For Families or Large Groups

Of course, many visitors to Japan may be sharing the experience with their family and friends. In these situations, it may be ideal to find lodging that accommodates large numbers of guests to keep things easily organized and, naturally, enjoy the experience together.

Hibiki House is perfect for such an occasion, allowing up to seven total guests within its 100 square meters of living space across two floors. 

A spacious kitchen with a large table emphasizes this communal feeling. During leisurely times, a small table looks over the charming garden in the back, which is also spacious enough to allow people to walk through and enjoy some time taking it easy. 

Hibiki House is also located in the Gion district, allowing for easy access to many of the city’s great attractions. Nearby is also a grocery store, a number of restaurants, and even a bike rental for a more personalized means of getting around Kyoto.

If you have a large party when coming to Japan, you can also check out options such as:

  • Enso-an, which can actually have up to eight people.

For the Ultimate Luxury Experience

A trip to Kyoto is a luxury in itself, so sometimes the occasion to go all out and enjoy a lush journey in all aspects, even down to the times when not exploring, is called for.

For us, the ultimate luxury accommodation comes in the form of Genmachi House. Located in the Gojo area of Tokyo, Genmachi House is a renovated home from the 1920s during the Taisho Era in Japan. It has design elements that reflect this, including vintage, patina-rich wood furnishings, a retro-styled, large kitchen, and a long, Japanese-style corridor that leads to the sleeping quarters. This corridor has largely been maintained in its original condition over the last century. 

Genmachi also boasts two beautiful Japanese-style gardens for leisure and a number of different sleeping accommodations, such as a western-style room with a queen-size bed and a Japanese bedroom that can have up to three futons set up. Two large tatami rooms open up to each other for maximum space and comfort, one of which features a TV inside an alcove, the best spot for spending time and entertainment.

Other high-end lodging options include:

  • Miyagawacho, which is a bit more modern in aesthetics.
  • Yasaka, filled with top-tier amenities and outfitted with gorgeous decorations like indigo-dyed noren and beautiful wood panneling. 

Reasons to Pick Japan Experience Housing and Accommodation

Japan Experience has specialized in travel to the Japanese archipelago for over 40 years, well-acquainted with local customs and sensibilities along with the optimal approach to enjoying the country as a visitor. This includes high-quality accommodations that have all been meticulously chosen, renovated, and maintained.

Japan Experience makes a point to choose properties located within more residential or modest areas that are still easily accessible, allowing for the benefits of a typical hotel while also immersing our guests in the local culture and communities. A journey to Japan with us is far more than a trip!

  • Japan Experience

    As a team of enthusiasts, we seek to pass on our love and knowledge of Japan to any prospective traveler, in order to make their experience as smooth as possible. Whether you’d like to organize your trip yourself, or let us handle all the details, we have everything you need among our large catalog of products.



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    As a team of enthusiasts, we seek to pass on our love and knowledge of Japan to any prospective traveler, in order to make their experience as smooth as possible. Whether you’d like to organize your trip yourself, or let us handle all the details, we have everything you need among our large catalog of products.



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