If you’re looking for the best Airbnb in Kyoto you’ve come to the right place.

Kyoto is Japan’s historical capital and one of, if not, the most visited city.  Gion is one of the few places in Japan where you can still spot Geikos and as you wander through the well-preserved streets of Higashiyama you may feel like you’re back in the old Japan.

Over 2000 temples are spread across the city.  The most notable is the gold-plated Kinkaku-ji temple but many others are also worth visiting for their own reason.

Kyoto counts plenty of hotels but the flood of tourists in the high season has the prices of hotel rooms go through the roof.  

Staying in an Airbnb may save you a few bucks. Airbnb’s tend to be cheaper than hotels, especially if you’re traveling with larger groups because there are properties that can sleep more people.

Not only will you save on your accommodation, but many of the rental apartments we handpicked also have more character and are much more quaint than your traditional hotel room.

We have arranged all properties by region. For each region, we share the pros and cons. It is not possible to proclaim one neighborhood as the best, but on the basis of this information, you can choose the neighborhood that best suits your preferences or plans.

 

There is a really good chance that this post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission (for which we are deeply grateful) at no extra cost to you.

Kyoto Essentials 

If you haven’t yet booked your flights, take a look here to find cheap flights to Osaka or Tokyo.

The JR Rail Pass is of limited use to travel around Kyoto as there are few JR lines within Kyoto’s city boundaries.  

If you want to combine a visit to Osaka with your stay in Kyoto you could purchase this sightseeing pass which is also valid on the Keihan line.

You might save money with the JR West Pass if you will visit other parts of the Kansai area such as Nara, Kobe, Himeji, and Osaka and you don’t have a Japan Rail Pass.

Kyoto sights are spread across the city and not as well connected by public transport as in Tokyo or Osaka. Here you can find a 2 day Kyoto itinerary. If you have less time in Kyoto or if you have difficulties walking, you may be better off with a guided tour. 

Not sure yet whether to stay in an Airbnb or a hotel?  Here’s a list of excellent hotels in Kyoto.

If this is the first time you will be staying in an Airbnb, you can enjoy a great discount by signing up through this link. 

Is this your first Japan trip and are you feeling a bit overwhelmed about planning this trip, what to see and to do. Check out our Japan trip planner. This document will help you plan your trip smoothly. 

In our Japan travel guide, you can find all our articles about Japan. 

 

Last but not least, be sure you have travel insurance. 

 

The night illumination at the Shoren-in temple in Kyoto

The main reason so many tourists visit Kyoto are the enchanting temples

Is Airbnb legal in Kyoto

Yes, Airbnb is totally legal in Kyoto. 

In 2018 the Japanese government introduced a law that obliged all hosts to register their property and display the license number of the registration on their listing page. 

Airbnb then removed all unregistered listings. If you find a property on the Airbnb site today it should be legit. 

Something you should always keep in mind is to use the Airbnb platform for all communications with the property.  This way the support team of Airbnb has a trace of all contacts and they will be able to help you if ever things would turn awry.

Make sure you’re always using the legit Airbnb website. This won’t be a problem if you started your search on the company’s website but you need to pay attention if you’re looking at a listing that you found through an ad or if somebody sent you the details of his apartment in an e-mail.

Hackers have created FAKE versions of the site.  They’re almost identical copies. Check the URL of the site, if it does not start with “airbnb.com/” you’re on an illegal copy of the site.

Here are some extra security tips.

 

The famous torii gates at Fushimi Inari

The iconic sight of Fushimi Inari in Tokyo: A seemingly endless sequence of torii gates.

What to look for when choosing an Airbnb in Kyoto

The list of Airbnb properties in Kyoto is seemingly endless but we used good criteria to narrow the search results down to the selection of charming and well-managed rentals that we show in this post.

Popular tourist areas

First of all, we only selected Airbnb’s in popular tourist areas. Kyoto’s public transit is not as good as that in Tokyo or Osaka. 

That makes it all the more important to stay near the major sights. 

We grouped the properties based on their location and we describe the pros and cons of each area.

Superhosts

We also limited our selection to Superhosts. Superhost is a special title offered by Airbnb to its very best hosts.  To receive this recognition the hosts need to respond to guests quickly, have at least 80% 5-star reviews, and cancel rarely.

The latter is really important as you don’t want to see your travel plans ruined by a host who cancels your stay at the very last minute.

Finding a new place to stay close to your effective travel date can cost a fortune.

English speaking owner and number of English reviews

We only selected Airbnb’s where the owner speaks English.  If you’re unable to communicate with your host you lose a lot of the charm of what Airbnb is all about.

To make this selection we didn’t only look at the host language, we also had a look at the number of English reviews. 

The host language may not always be trustworthy as hosts indicate themselves which languages they speak.

If they wouldn’t adequately master the English language it will certainly pop-up in one of the reviews.

Private bathroom 

Lastly, all the below properties have a private bathroom.

In some instances the properties have no beds or a limited number of beds and some or all of the guests will sleep in the traditional Japanese style, on futons on the ground.   If this is the case it is clearly mentioned in the review below.

How to book an Airbnb

Watch this short introductory video if this is the first time booking an Airbnb. 

What’s the best area to stay in Kyoto

You may wonder if there’s a best area to stay in Kyoto.  The truth is that this very much depends on what you want to see and do.

All the areas have their pros and cons.  It all comes down to your plans for this trip.

All things considered, Downtown Kyoto is probably the winner but those that truly want to experience the charming side of the city are better to stay in Southern Higashiyama.

Below is a quick guide where we list the best districts for specific interests such as first-time travelers or families traveling with kids.

Further on in this article, we discuss the most famous districts in detail.

Kyoto lacks the extensive subway and train network of Osaka and Tokyo.  This makes it very important to pick a hotel near one of the stations if you want to explore the city efficiently.

Nijo Castle Kyoto Japan

The area surrounding Nijo Castle is a good place to stay in an Airbnb in Kyoto if you want to make use of the 2 subway lines that serve the city.

Where to stay in Kyoto – Quick guide

Where to stay in Kyoto for the first time

First-time travelers can choose between a number of good districts.

Downtown Kyoto

Staying in downtown Kyoto means you will be close to a number of sights such as the Nishiki Market, the Niijo castle, and the Imperial Palace. 

The area counts plenty of restaurants and is well-connected with 2 subway lines ( Tozai Subway line, Karasuma Subway Line) and 2 train lines (Keihan Line, Hanki Line)

Kyoto station

Kyoto Station is well-connected to places outside of the city but has limited direct train or subway connections to major sights within the city’s boundaries. 

This makes it a good base for day trips to Nara, Osaka, and Arashiyama but less so to explore the city itself. 

In and around the station building is a massive selection of restaurants in all price classes.

Southern Higashiyama

Southern Higashiyama is the heart of old Kyoto and consists of a maze of narrow lanes lined by well-preserved wooden houses in the architectural style of the late Edo period.

The streets are flooded by tourists in daytime but are incredibly atmospheric for strolling in the evening when most tourists are gone. 

Staying here makes it easier to explore the district at times when you have the streets for yourself.

Stay near the Keihan Line

When it comes to tourist attractions, the Keihan Line is the best rail line in Kyoto.  It runs through the city from North to South and extends all the way until Osaka. 

Even if you’re not staying in one of the above areas you’re still relatively well-connected as long as you’re close to a stop of the Keihan line.

Kyoto lacks a good JR network, your JR pass is not of much use here.  The Kyoto Osaka sightseeing pass is a good alternative and includes unlimited free travel on the Keihan line.  This line offers easy access to a lot of Kyoto’s most iconic sites such as the famous Fushimi-Inari Taisha Shrine, the Gion district, and the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. This makes the pass perfect for first time Kyoto visitors. 

Read reviews and buy your Kyoto-Osaka sightseeing pass here: Sightseeing Pass 1-2 days 

Where to stay in Kyoto for families 

Kyoto’s temples are truly impressive but may fail to keep kids entertained for the whole day.

Luckily Kyoto also houses some child-friendly sights that are sure to amaze both young and old.  Animal lovers can add the Kyoto Zoo and aquarium to their Kyoto itinerary and most children, and their parents, have the time of their lives in Kyoto’s Railway Museum.

These sights are located in central Kyoto.  The aquarium and the railway museum are close to Kyoto station.  The zoo is in Southern Higashiyama.  

When traveling with kids we advise staying in one of these two areas. Not only are they close to child-friendly attractions, but you are also close to public transportation and other popular sights.

The Kiyomizu-dera temple

The Kiyomizu-Dera temple, one of the most famous temples in Kyoto, is located in Southern Higashiyama

The best area to stay in Kyoto for nightlife 

If vibrant and raucous nightlife is what you’re looking for then chances are you that you’re better of in neighboring Osaka.

Kyoto knows all about exquisite dining and entertainment but its party vibe does not come anywhere close to Kabukicho in Tokyo or Dotonbori in Osaka.

Pontocho alley and Kiyamachi Dori ( Kiyamachi Street) are both dotted with restaurants and bars. Both are in downtown Kyoto, close to the Gion district.

The dining options range from inexpensive eateries to highly exclusive restaurants that remain closed to tourists unless you know somebody who can introduce you.  The area is a nice place to hang out in the evening.   It’s the best district to spot geisha rushing to their customers.

During summer many restaurants are extended with a floating platform on the adjacent river.  The cool flow of the running river makes the summer heat a little more tolerable. 

The Japanese even introduced a word for this type of dining on platforms on rivers, it is called Kawauka in Kyoto and Kawadoko outside of the city. 

To experience it yourself you best make advance reservations, certainly for Friday and Saturday evenings.

Here you can read about fun things to do in Kyoto at night or about things to do in Gion at night. 

 

Where to stay in Kyoto with a JR pass

Unfortunately, your JR pass is of limited use to explore most of Kyoto’s popular tourist sights. 

You can use the few JR trains that traverse the city but the stations are usually relatively far from the sights, so you’ll have to walk a lot to visit them. 

Fushimi-Inari where the station is right in front of the temple is an exception.

If you didn’t activate your JR pass yet it is best to use the Keihan line in Kyoto and wait with the activation of your pass until you leave Kyoto.  You can activate the pass at the main JR ticket office in Kyoto Station. 

Here you find a complete article about whether buying a Japan Rail pass is worth it for you. 

You could use your JR pass to do day trips to nearby places such as Nara and Arashiyama.  If you plan on doing so it’s best to stay near Kyoto station

Where to stay in Kyoto on a budget

When you’re traveling on a shoestring it’s best to look for accommodations around Kyoto stationThis is where you will find the most budget-friendly options. 

Another option is to stay in central Kyoto.  This district embracing the Imperial Palace houses many capsule hotels. 

It may be a unique experience to spend the night in such a special hotel. 

You can choose from capsule hotels that have stayed true to the original concept to more modern variants where the capsule has grown into a small room that offers a little space to also store your luggage.

If hotels in Kyoto are too expensive but you don’t want to compromise on comfort you can stay near Lake Biwa. A lush green region about 30-minutes by train outside Kyoto.  The region counts several hotels among which a lovely Marriott hotel where we stayed ourselves. 

The downside of staying outside Kyoto is that you are a bit further away from most tourist attractions and that you need to rely on public transport for sightseeing. 

Golden Temple KinkakuJi, Kyoto, Japan

The Kinkaku-ji temple, popularly known as Golden Temple or Golden Pavilion, is a unique sight

What is the best location to stay in Kyoto-The in-depth guide

Let’s now have a look at each of the popular neighborhoods in Kyoto in detail.

The best area to stay in Kyoto: Downtown Kyoto

This is our preferred neighborhood for first-time visitors to Kyoto.

With Downtown Kyoto as your base, you have access to 2 subway lines and two train lines.  One of them is the Keihan Line, the best train line for tourists.

You are also within walking distance of Southern and Nothern Higashiyama.  These districts are home to a large part of Kyoto’s best highlights.  Here you find the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, the Gion district, the Kodai-Ji Temple, the philosopher’s path, the Silver Pavillion, and much more. 

The region also counts plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars.

The Keihan Line runs along the river.  Try to stay as close to the river as possible, this puts you closer to Higashiyama.  The best place to stay is around Gion-Shijo station.

Pontocho Alley in downtown Kyoto

Pontocho Alley is packed with restaurants that offer all kinds of cuisine

Main attractions in and around downtown Kyoto

  • Nishiki Market, Kyoto’s largest traditional food market
  • Pontocho Alley
  • The Manga Museum
  • The Teramachi and Shinkyogoku Shopping Arcades

As well as walking distance to Southern and Nothern Higashiyama.

Pros and cons

  • Close to the Nishiki-Market, Pontocho Alley and Southern Higashiyama
  • In close proximity to public transport that brings you to most of Kyoto’s highlights
  • Lots of shopping possibilities
  • One of the best places for nightlife with plenty of restaurant and bars
  • Less charming area to stay when compared to atmospheric old Kyoto
  • Although hotel prices tend to be cheaper than in Gion, the prices can still be expensive because you are staying in the heart of Kyoto

Conclusion

We think downtown Kyoto is the best area to stay in Kyoto because it is centrally located and well-connected to most parts of the city.  That you’re staying within walking distance to Northern and Southern Higashiyama is a big plus.  You can enjoy these charming districts after dark and won’t pay the usual hefty price of accommodation in that region.

Best Airbnb’s in downtown Kyoto

For couples

Hotel icon

Private room in apartment hosted by Hori 
  • 3 guests, 1 bedroom, 2 beds, 1 private bath
  • Up to 6 guests when the neighboring Sanjo room is booked together with this room
Private room in apartment

Photo credits Airbnb

This spacious one-bedroom, private bathroom accommodates two to three guests and offers true Japanese hospitality.

Guests rave about the host in particular, and the comfort of the homely touches—Hori embodies the Airbnb philosophy in every way.

The same host also houses the neighboring “Sanjo” room. 

If your party is 4 or more people you can contact the host to see if you can book both rooms together.

Rating:  4.96

Extra amenities

  • Pocket Wifi
  • Air Conditioning

 

Price-wise it’s hard to beat this property in such a convenient location.  It’s located steps from the Nishika market and there are loads of restaurants and shops nearby. Light sleepers must keep in mind that this downtown location can be rowdy on occasion.

 

Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

 

For families

Hotel icon

Sakura River Inn 2
  • 4 guest, 2 bedrooms, futons, 1 bath
Sakura River Inn

Photo credits Airbnb

Just outside of Higashiyama, this apartment offers two bedrooms and plenty of intrigue with its Geisha tales and natural lighting.

It is set scenic beside the river, but also within easy access of all major attractions.

It’s ten minutes by bus to Kyoto Station and walking distance to Nishiki Market, Gion, and the fine dining in Pontocho.

In these traditional rooms you will sleep on futons not beds, in keeping with the rich traditions of the region.

It’s ideal for a family traveling with kids, it may be a little cramped for 2 couples.

Rating:  4.91

Extra amenities

  • Private entrance
  • No Tv
  • Air conditioning

 

Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

 

A Geisha on its way to a customer in Gion

Gion is the best district to spot a geisha

Southern Higashiyama and Gion

There’s no better place to experience the authentic charm of old Kyoto than Southern Higashiyama. 

Gion, Kyoto’s famous Geisha district, is located in this district.  It is one of the major sights of the city.  Spotting a Geisha is usually high on every visitor’s bucket list.

Southern Higashiyama consists of a tangle of narrow streets.  Most lined by well-preserved wooden facades that hide teahouses, souvenir shops, and everything from eateries to fancy restaurants for a deep-pocketed clientele.

The streets are most charming early in the morning and after dark when most tourists are gone.

Numerous temples and Shrines are scattered across Southern Higashiyama.  The popular tourist route leads from the Yasake Shrine towards the Kiyomizu-Dera temple but to truly appreciate the beauty of the district you better wander of in one of the narrow side alleys. 

With some luck, you may also bump into a maiko, an apprentice geisha.

This is an excellent although usually expensive place to stay.  if you want to experience traditional Kyoto and all that it has to offer at night. 

Main attractions in and around Higashiyama

  • Kiyomizu-Dera Temple
  • Gion area
  • Yasaka Shrine
  • Chion-in Temple
  • Kodai-Ji Temple
  • Kyoto National museum

Pros and cons

  • Within walking distance of a lot of Kyoto’s highlights 
  • Traditional Japanese atmosphere
  • Good chances of seeing a Geisha between 6 pm and 8 pm when they’re rushing to their customers
  • Very atmospheric area to explore after dark
  • Very touristic area.  The streets are almost always crowded during daytime
  • The hotel prices tend to be higher than in other areas

 

Conclusion

Southern Higashiyama is the best place to stay in Kyoto if your budget allows. Here you can experience traditional Kyoto.  Exploring these well-preserved streets feels as if you have stepped back in time.  

It is a good base to visit many popular sights and if you go out around dinner time you have a good chance of seeing a geisha.

These age-old professional entertainers are a striking appearance on the streets. 

Geisha trace their roots all the way back to the 18th century, it is a good example of how deep-rooted the Japanese culture is.

The downside to staying in Gion is the prices for accommodation, they tend to be more expensive than in some other areas. 

A Street in Southern Higashiyama at night

The streets in Southern Higashiyama become very atmospheric after dark

Airbnb in Kyoto, Gion

Best Airbnb in Gion for couples
Hotel icon
Cool Gion downtown apartment
  • 3 guest, 1 bedroom, 3 beds, 1 bath
Cool Gion downtown apartment

Photo credits Airbnb

A quaint, minimalist one-bedroom apartment in downtown Gion, it’s only five minutes on foot to Gion Shijo Station and two minutes of the breathtaking Yasaka Shrine. Gion has both history and nightlife, both fully accessible right outside the door.

This Airbnb offers great value for a low cost.

The karaoke bar below the property can be noisy until late in the evening, especially on weekends, which is why you are given earplugs.

It’s spacious by Japanese standards and accessible by elevator.

 

Rating:  4.72

Extra amenities

  • Pocket Wifi
  • Long term stays allowed

 

Read reviews and book: Airbnb 
Best Airbnb in Gion for families
Hotel icon
Entire townhouse hosted by Anna
  • 5 guests, 2 bedrooms, 2 beds, 1 bath
Entire townhouse hosted by Anna

Photo credits Airbnb

A two-bedroom, traditional Japanese house just five minutes from Kiyomizu Gojo Station, this is a winner in both value for money and unrivaled convenience.

This is a two-storied apartment, both bedrooms are on the second floor and can only be reached by a quite narrow and steep staircase.

Rating:  4.75

Extra amenities

  • Portable Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer/Dryer
  • No baby beds 

 

Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

 

Kyoto train station, Japan

Kyoto station is not just a station, it’s an impressive modern complex that houses an observation platform, a theater, a museum as well as several shops and restaurants.

Kyoto station ( Shimogyo )

By staying near Kyoto station you are staying near Japan’s second-biggest train station.

The current station was finished in 1997, at that time it was futuristic by Kyoto’s standards. It is one of the country’s largest buildings. In addition to the train station, you will also find a movie theatre, a department store, and a large shopping mall.

It’s Kyoto’s major transportation hub, it is served by more than 15 trains, including Shinkansen and the Haruka airport express, as well as buses and subways.  This makes the area a good spot to stay for day trips as well as your last or first day in Japan.

Surrounding Kyoto station are more enormous shopping malls.  Shopaholics will love the area, you can find everything from clothing to electronics.  There’s also a wide selection of good and affordable restaurants.

The area is perfectly safe.

The downside of this area is that it doesn’t count any noteworthy sights.   You will have to rely on public transport each day.  This makes it less attractive to explore the city itself but more to do day trips to places such as Nara and Himeji.

Main attractions in and around Kyoto station

  • Kyoto station
  • The To-Ji Temple famous for its 5 story pagoda
  • Kyoto Tower
  • Kyoto Railway Museum
  • Kyoto aquarium

 

Pros and cons

  • Better price value than in downtown Kyoto or Southern Higashiyama
  • A good selection of affordable restaurants 
  • Several malls and department stores make it perfect for shopping
  • Lots of transportation options with subways, buses, and trains from JR central and JR west
  • Perfect for day trips to Nara, Osaka, Himeji, etc…
  • None of the major tourist sights are within walking distance 
  • You will need to take public transport every day for sightseeing

Conclusion

Kyoto station is the best location to stay in Kyoto for those who want to stay near a major transportation hub or for those traveling on a budget.

The downsides are that there aren’t any of the key sights within walking distance and that the JR trains are excellent for day trips but less so to reach sights in Kyoto itself. 

Airbnb Kyoto station

Best Airbnb Kyoto station 
Hotel icon
Entire condominium hosted by Takahiro
  • 5 guests, 2 bedrooms, 1 bed, 1 bath
Entire condominium hosted by Takahiro

Photo credits Airbnb

This spacious condominium is in a great location. It has two bedrooms, one with a regular bed, another with futons on the floor.

Pokémon GO players will love that this place allows them to access the nearby PokeStop. 

It’s only two minutes from Kyoto Station and almost certainly the largest apartment you can find in this neighborhood for this price.

The elevator is tiny but makes the fifth-floor condo easily accessible.

Rating:  4.86

Extra amenities

  • Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer
  • Private entrance 
Read reviews and book: Airbnb  
Hotel iconEntire Japanese house
  • 6 guests, 2 bedrooms, 2 beds, 1,5 baths
Entire Japanese house

Photo credits Airbnb

The two-bedroom two-story home has one room with 2 double beds and another that can sleep people on futons.

It’s very close to Kyoto station and many restaurants.

The traditional Japanese style shines through, and most guests comment on the spaciousness of the house by local standards. 

Great value for money

 

Rating:  4.81

Extra amenities

  • Pocket Wifi
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer
  • Early luggage drop off allowed
Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

 

Entrance to Kyoto Gosho Imperial Palace in Kyoto

Kyoto Gosho, the former Imperial Palace, is located in central Kyoto

Central Kyoto ( around Kyoto Imperial Palace)

The area we refer to as Central Kyoto is located North of downtown and includes the Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) with its beautiful palace gardens (Kyoto Gyoen) and Nijo castle. 

Karasuma Dori runs perpendicular from north to south and divides the area in two.  Below the street runs the eponymous subway line which takes you straight to Kyoto Station.

Central Kyoto is more of a residential neighborhood.  Hotel rooms tend to be a tad larger and are usually also somewhat cheaper as they are further out of downtown. Despite being more residential you will have no problems finding restaurants.

Other noteworthy sights, besides the Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle are, the Daitoku-ji temple, Funaoka Onsen, and the Kamogawa riverside.  The latter makes for an enchanting stroll in the evening and gorgeous cherry blossom viewing in the Sakura season.

You will need to use public transport to travel to other parts of Kyoto so we advise picking a hotel not too far from the Tozai or Karasuma subway line. 

Main attractions in and around central Kyoto

  • Kyoto Imperial Garden
  • Kyoto Botanical gardens
  • The Nijo-Jo Castle
  • Daitoku-Ji Temple
  • Kyoto Manga Museum

Pros and cons

  • Lots of hotels to choose from 
  • Well-connected to downtown
  • Further away from Kyoto’s main attractions
  • You will need to use public transport to travel around Kyoto

Conclusion

There are several reasonably priced accommodations in Central Kyoto.   is not located too far from downtown Kyoto.  The region is connected to other parts of the city by the Karasuma and Tozai subway lines.

By staying close to Nijo-Jo Castle or the Imperial Palace you will also be close to the subway lines and you won’t waste too much time when visiting the other sights in the city.

 

Airbnb in Central Kyoto

For couples
Hotel icon
Room in guesthouse Goettingen
  • 2 guests, 1 bedroom, 2 beds, 1 bath
Room in guesthouse Goettingen

Photo credits Airbnb

This luxurious room in a comfortable hotel setting is located centrally in the Kamigyo ward. 

A convenient spot to explore both the Kyoto Imperial Palace as well as Nijo castle.

The closest subway station is a short 13-minute walk. Heavy luggage may be a problem up the stairs, but hotel staff is there to assist you.

The hotel is easy to find and the beds are super comfy so you can enjoy a good night’s rest.  Most guests agree that it is not easy to leave this place behind.

The low price is the icing on the cake, this property offers good value for money.

 

Rating:  4.94

Extra amenities

  • Wifi
  • Washer
  • Free breakfast
  • Luggage drop off allowed
Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

 

Airbnb in Kyoto central for families
Hotel icon

Entire house hosted by Kumo Machiya

  • 5 guests, 2 bedrooms, 5 beds, 2 baths
Entire house hosted by Kumo Machiya

Photo credits Airbnb

Bamboo and brews invites guests into this traditional Japanese home with two cozy bedrooms.

It is a treat-with-care type of house with antique wooden frames, steep stairs, and beautifully attended surfaces that reflect the careful attention of traditional life in Japan.

Western guests will probably want to request TWO-floor mattresses to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep on the traditional Japanese futons.

This one-of-a-kind property is a true zen retreat. 

It has everything to offer a truly traditional stay with modern facilities but it has no TV to provide pure mental relaxation. 

It’s hard to beat the centrality of the location, close to the Imperial Palace, the river and the subway station. This is one of the best Ryokans on Airbnb in Kyoto.

Rating:  4.85

Extra amenities

  • Wifi
  • Washer and dryer
  • Airconditioning
  • No tv
Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

 

Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, Kyoto

The Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama

Arashiyama

Arashiyama is one of Kyoto’s most splendid suburbs and an area we absolutely recommend visiting if you will be spending several days in Kyoto. 

The area gets flooded with tourists during the day. By staying here you can avoid the crowds by going out early or after 4 pm when most tour buses have already left.

Another plus of staying in this region is that it is a charming and quaint area, closer to nature and without a doubt more open than downtown Kyoto. 

The most photographed sight is without any doubt the Bamboo Grove and there are several amazing temples with neatly manicured gardens.

The downside of staying in Arashiyama is that it is at least a 30-minute train ride to other sights in Kyoto. This makes it great to spend a night while you visit this suburb but less so to stay all the days in Kyoto, certainly if you also want to discover Kyoto by night.

Many restaurants and shops close after the tourist buses have disappeared.  The number of dining options is limited in the evening.

Main attractions in and around Arashiyama

  • Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
  • The Tenryu-Ji Temple 
  • The Jojakko-Ji Temple
  • The Adashinno Nenbutsu-Ji Temple
  • Togetsukyo Bridge
  • Monkey Park Iwatayama

 

Pros and cons

  • Beautiful and peaceful green area
  • Perfect to beat the crowds when visiting this touristy area
  • You have to rely on public transport to visit other highlights of Kyoto
  • Many restaurants only offer lunch and are closed in the evening
  • Arashiyama is very lively during the day but a dead town once the tourists leave
  • Not well located if you want to discover Kyoto by night

 

Saga Toriimoto Street, Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

Saga Toriimoto Street, one of the best-preserved streets in Arashiyama

Conclusion

Arashiyama is a lovely green suburb of Kyoto.  It is very atmospheric and houses many charming temples.  Nature lovers will love that they can make early strolls to enjoy the serenity of this place before the crowds arrive.

We don’t advise basing yourself here for the entire time, it’s a little too far from Kyoto for that.

The lack of restaurants is another drawback.

Best Airbnb’s in Arashiyama 

Best Airbnb in Arashiyama for couples and families
Hotel icon
Entire House Hosted by Yamano
  • 7 guests, 3 bedrooms, 7 beds, 2 baths
Entire house hosted by Yamano

Photo credits Airbnb

Three bedrooms (one with beds, two with futons) and two bathrooms make this stunning traditional home the perfect stop for couples and family groups alike.

It’s only three minutes from Arashiyama Station, which also puts it within easy walking distance of the many attractions in the area.

The home is warm, and so is Yamano’s hospitality, as many previous guests are happy to say aloud.

Rating:  4.94

Extra amenities

  • Wifi and pocket Wifi
  • Private entrance
  • Luggage dropoff allowed
  • Washer

 

Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

 

discover lake biwa eastern shores with a local guide in hikone

Hikone castle at Lake Biwa.

Lake Biwa

Lake Biwa is a lush green region East of Kyoto.  It is the biggest lake in Japan and the area is popular in summer when many Japanese spend the weekend biking or doing one of the many water activities.

It is well-connected by train with Kyoto, it’s a short and easy 20-minute one-way journey, and the trains run well into the night.

Lake Biwa is a great location to escape the crowds in Kyoto.  Accommodation is cheaper and it offers some off-the-beaten-path activities.

There is Hikone Castle, a national treasure, and the lake has its own floating Torii gate similar to the one at Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island.  Biking trips around the lake are very picturesque and you can stop at a local farm and learn how to make rice cake.

Main attractions in and around Lake Biwa

  • Lake Biwa
  • Lake Biwa’s floating Torii gate
  • The canal of Omihachiman
  • Hikone castle

Pros and cons

  • More reasonably priced accommodation
  • Off-the-beaten-path area
  • Only about a 20-minute train ride from Kyoto station by JR
  • Less suitable if you want to visit Kyoto at night
  • You will need to take public transportation daily if you’re only interested in visiting Kyoto

Conclusion

Staying near Lake Biwa can be a great alternative if you want to escape the crowds and prefer to stay in a green setting.

You can combine your stay with a visit to some of the often-overlooked local sights.  

JR trains take you to Kyoto station in about 20 minutes.  The JR pass is valid on this route.

If you’re not planning on seeing anything in this region it might be better to look for accommodation in Kyoto itself to avoid the daily commute.

Airbnb in Lake Biwa

Airbnb in Lake Biwa for couples or families
Hotel icon

Entire house hosted by Shizuka

  • 6 guests, 2 bedrooms, 1 bed, 1 bath
Entire house hosted by Shizuka

Photo credits Airbnb

The stunning lakeside home is filled with light, and it is only ten minutes on foot from Karasaki Station.

There are two bedrooms with futons, and the house is right next to Lake Biwa—perfect for yoga, star-gazing, and deep breaths out of bustling Kyoto.

The price is an absolute bargain for the beautiful surroundings and perfect Japanese hospitality form Shizuka.

Rating:  4.96

Extra amenities

  • Wifi 
  • Air conditioning
  • Washer and dryer
Read reviews and book: Airbnb 

Conclusion

This concludes our overview of Airbnb’s in Kyoto.  We’ve handpicked all these properties based on their excellent recent reviews and their good locations.

Location is all the more important in Kyoto as it lacks the superb public transportation that you may have become used to if you have been to Tokyo or Osaka.

Kyoto only counts 2 subway lines and your Japan Rail Pass is of limited use as JR only operates the Nara and the Sagano line within the city’s limits.  These 4 lines combined serve only a small part of the city.  They do have stops near many of Kyoto’s highlights but the Keihan Main Line is actually the best line for tourists.  It’s privately operated and has stops near a lot of Kyoto’s attractions. 

The JR pass is not valid on privately operated train lines. Keihan has their own pass and we recommend buying this pass if you want to spare your feet while exploring the city.

Southern Higashiyama is the best place to stay in Kyoto if your budget allows.  If Airbnb’s in Southern Higashiyama are too expensive you can look at Downtown Kyoto.

Have a great stay!

 

Categories: Japan