Kyoto may be known for its classical Japanese atmosphere, but don’t think you’re missing out if you choose to save money on accommodation rather than splurging on a ryokan. Even the hostels can evoke the traditional vibe for which the city is known. Wherever you stay, you’ll be guaranteed to experience the world-renowned omotenashi spirit of treating guests with the utmost respect and helpfulness. Here is a list of the best hostels in Kyoto.
Guest House Hachi
Guest House Hachi | Courtesy of Guest House Hachi/Hostelworld
Much of Kyoto’s ancient architecture is immaculately preserved, and this hostel is no exception. Located in a renovated machiya (townhouse), Guest House Hachi offers an affordable alternative. Hachi has private rooms with tatami flooring as well as shared dorms. A small Japanese garden offers space for peaceful rest and reflection. Hachi is only one stop away from Kyoto Station in historic Shimabara, formerly a courtesan and later a geisha district.
K’s House is a reputable national chain with hostels all over Japan. The Kyoto location features Japanese and Western-style rooms, a lounge with computers free to use and a diner and bar called Zen Cafe. There’s also a rooftop terrace with a gorgeous view of the city, so the amenities are literally though the roof. Only ten minutes on foot from Kyoto Station, K’s House Kyoto is a fitting base for all your adventures in and around this historic city.
Who says a ryokan has to be expensive? Situated in the storied Gion neighborhood, Q-beh is a ryokan-themed hostel that’s just as good as the real thing. Capsule-style dorm beds are available for budget-conscious and solo travellers. Groups and families who prefer the more traditional experience can reserve a private tatami room, complete with an attached bathroom and a yukata (Japanese robe) for each guest.
This cozy hostel prioritizes guests’ comfort and ability to get a good night’s sleep. It’s a small, cute venue where guests are encouraged to socialise and have meals together, but becomes quiet and peaceful in the evenings. In and around each dorm bed are many shelves and hidden cubbies, perfect for storing your belongings. Hostel Ebi is right next to Nishiki Market, a popular shopping destination, and there are many restaurants and even a pub in the same building in case you are looking to get a little wild in the evenings.
Founded by a friendly team of ex-globetrotting backpackers, Mosaic was built for for the adventurous traveller looking to make like-minded friends. Set up to be both comfortable and conducive to socialising, the space regularly hosts jam sessions, food parties, cultural exchange workshops and other events for guests. There’s a game room, lounge area, bar, and an outdoor patio for hanging out as well as both private and shared room types for when you’re ready to relax.
This atypical capsule hotel is a must-stay for anyone fond of manga. Guests practically sleep in a library, as the bedrooms are decked out wall-to-wall in comic books, including many in English, so you can feel safe releasing your inner geek in this bubbly, vibrant space. Nestled right inside a shopping centre and only minutes away from Nishiki Market on foot, COMICAP is also great for those looking to save on accommodation in order to stock up on souvenirs.
Speaking of sleeping in a library, that’s exactly the mission of now world-famous Book and Bed Kyoto, a hostel that made the rounds on social media last year. Book and Bed, a Japanese chain that originated in Tokyo, is a haven for lovers of the written word. It operates as a hostel, library, shop and bar all in one. Even if you can’t spend the night here, it’s a great place to cuddle up with a book and a craft beer for a few hours in the heart of central Kyoto.
This stylish, spacious capsule hotel offers free breakfast, an evening happy hour, spacious bathrooms and kitchens and soft, comfortable mattresses – all for an affordable price. Friends can easily book adjacent pods, which are small but slightly larger than the typical capsule. Centrally located near Pontocho, an atmospheric dining area overlooking the Kamo River, The Millennials is sure to please.
Perched only a couple of blocks from the sprawling gardens of the Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto Morris Hostel is a friendly, modern hostel. Offering both dorm beds and private rooms, this hostel is decorated with sleek wooden and brick accents, providing an appealing alternative to the bamboo and paper décor of most of the rest of the city’s interiors. With free laundry facilities, all-you-can-eat breakfast every morning and a 24-hour front desk, this hostel hardly feels like a budget stay at all.