Looking for the perfect place to stay in Kyoto? Look no further! In this guide, we will take you on a virtual tour of the best areas to stay in the charming city of Kyoto. From historic neighborhoods steeped in cultural heritage to modern districts brimming with shopping and entertainment options, Kyoto has it all. Immerse yourself in the traditional charm of Gion, where geisha culture thrives and ancient temples dot the streets. Or explore the bustling streets of Downtown Kyoto, where you’ll find a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, and nightlife. If tranquility is what you seek, head to Arashiyama, where you can stroll through bamboo groves and visit the famous Monkey Park. From the serene beauty of Higashiyama to the trendy vibe of Shimogyo, each area in Kyoto offers a unique experience that will leave you wanting more. So pack your bags and get ready to experience the charm and convenience of Kyoto’s best areas to stay.
Factors to consider when choosing where to stay in Kyoto
When deciding on the best area to stay in Kyoto, there are a few factors to consider. First and foremost, think about what you want to experience during your stay. Are you interested in exploring the city’s rich history and cultural heritage? Or are you looking for a more modern and convenient location? Additionally, consider your budget and the type of accommodation you prefer. Do you want to stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan or a modern hotel? Once you have a clear idea of your preferences, you can start exploring the different areas of Kyoto and what they have to offer.
Central Kyoto: The heart of the city
If you want to be in the midst of the action, Central Kyoto (Shijo/Karasuma/Kawaramachi Area) is the perfect area for you. This bustling district is home to Kyoto’s main shopping streets, department stores, and entertainment venues. You’ll find a wide range of accommodation options here, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. One of the highlights of Central Kyoto is Nishiki Market, known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen.” This lively market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide array of local delicacies and fresh produce. Another must-visit spot in Central Kyoto is the Gion district, famous for its traditional wooden machiya houses and geisha culture.
Higashiyama: The historic district
If you’re a history enthusiast, Higashiyama is the area for you. This district is known for its well-preserved historic streets and traditional architecture. Walking through Higashiyama feels like stepping back in time, with its narrow alleyways, wooden buildings, and stone-paved paths. The area is home to several famous temples and shrines, including Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka Shrine, and Chion-in Temple. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the atmospheric streets of Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka, lined with traditional shops selling local handicrafts, souvenirs, and delicious street food.
Arashiyama: Nature and tranquility
For those seeking a peaceful retreat surrounded by nature, Arashiyama is the ideal choice. Located on the outskirts of Kyoto, this district is known for its stunning bamboo grove, scenic river views, and beautiful temples. Take a leisurely stroll through the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove and immerse yourself in the tranquility of this magical place. Visit the enchanting Tenryu-ji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and enjoy the serene beauty of its garden. Or, for a different kind of unforgettable experience, head to the Arashiyama Monkey Park, where you can see wild monkeys up close, as well as enjoy panoramic views of Kyoto from the mountaintop.
Gion: The geisha district
No visit to Kyoto is complete without a visit to Gion, the iconic geisha–known as “geiko” in kyoto–district. This historic neighborhood is known for its traditional wooden machiya houses, tea houses, and geiko culture. Take a stroll down Hanami-koji Street, the main street of Gion to admire the beautifully preserved architecture. Keep an eye out for geiko and maiko (apprentice geiko) dressed in their elegant kimono, as they gracefully make their way to appointments (but be sure not to disturb these ladies from their work). Gion is also home to several traditional theaters where you can watch traditional Japanese performing arts, such as kabuki and traditional dance.
Kyoto Station: Modern and convenient
Accommodation options in each area
In each area of Kyoto, you’ll find a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. From luxury hotels with stunning views to traditional ryokans offering a unique cultural experience, there’s something for everyone. In Central Kyoto, you’ll find a mix of high-end hotels, boutique guesthouses, and budget-friendly hostels. Higashiyama offers a range of traditional ryokans and guesthouses, where you can experience Japanese hospitality at its finest. Arashiyama has a selection of charming ryokans and modern hotels, perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat. Gion has a few luxury hotels and even some traditional machiya houses available for rent. Lastly, Kyoto Station offers a wide range of accommodation options, including international chain hotels and business hotels.
Transportation options in Kyoto
Getting around Kyoto is easy by public transit. The city is served by buses, trains, and taxis, making it convenient to explore all the different areas. The Kyoto City Bus is a popular mode of transportation for tourists because it covers most of the city and also have English announcements. The subway is another convenient option, especially for traveling longer distances. If you prefer to explore on foot, Kyoto is a pedestrian-friendly city, with many attractions within walking distance of each other. Renting a bicycle is also a popular way to get around, since the city center doesn’t have many hills, allowing you to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems along the way.
Kyoto truly offers a unique blend of charm and convenience, with each area offering its own distinct character and attractions. Whether you’re interested in history and culture, nature and tranquility, or modern conveniences, you’ll find the perfect area to stay in Kyoto. Central Kyoto, Higashiyama, Arashiyama, Gion, and Kyoto Station all have their own unique appeal and are well worth exploring. Consider your preferences, budget, and the type of experience you want to have when choosing where to stay in Kyoto. So pack your bags, immerse yourself in the beauty of Kyoto, and get ready for an unforgettable experience in one of Japan’s most enchanting cities.