The Best Cheap Hotels in Kyoto
Byodoin temple in Kyoto, Japan. | © Horizon Images/Motion / Alamy Stock Photo
In Japan’s cultural capital, affordable means old-world stays with tatami-mat floors, Anime-themed dorms with capsule-style pods and in-house onsen baths for all.
From epic Unesco-protected temples to towering bamboo forests; geisha-graced tea rooms to an imposing castle – Kyoto is one of Japan’s must-see cities. Don’t have deep pockets? Despite the myriad ways to burn through cash in this ancient capital, there are also plenty of tips to enjoy the city on a budget. Top of the list should be an affordable stay, so here are the best cheap hotels in Kyoto.
Budget Hotel, Ryokan
3.8/5 (52 Reviews)
Courtesy of Ryokan Azumaya / Hotels.com
Now from $82 per night
With its location just a few blocks north of Kyoto station, even getting to Ryokan Azumaya is cheap: it’s possible to walk here straight from the Shinkansen bullet train. Inside, you’ll still be rewarded with proper Japanese-style character: tatami mat-lined bedrooms with low tables; traditional sliding doors; an on-site vending machine. Some rooms sleep up to four people, making it a great pick for cash-strapped families looking for an authentic local experience.
Imu Hotel Kyoto
4.6/5 (176 Reviews)
Courtesy of Imu Hotel / Hotels.com
Just off Kyoto’s main shopping strip – and snack-packed Nishi Market – Imu Hotel has a cool, contemporary vibe that will appeal to business travellers on a budget as much as those here for leisure. Most of the private and bunk bed-style dorm rooms are dressed in crisp whites and greys, with black accents, though you can also opt for a tatami-style space to get a feel for traditional Japanese living. A restaurant serves up three meals a day and, unusually for Japan, offer a strong vegan lineup.
The Millennials Kyoto
4.5/5 (318 Reviews)
Courtesy of The Millennials / Hostelworld
Set between foodies’ favourite Nishi Market and geisha-haunt Gion, The Millenials is just what it sounds like: a hip, modern hotel that appeals to a younger age bracket. Exposed ceilings in coworking spaces meet pod-style sleeping areas, a fresh take on Japan’s popular capsule hotels. There’s 24-hour free coffee on tap, but much more exciting is the daily free happy hour, with frosty draft beers in full-flow.
Sotetsu Fresa Inn Kyoto-Hachijoguchi
4.5/5 (557 Reviews)
Courtesy of Sotetsu Fresa Inn Kyoto-Hachijoguchi / Hotels.com
Now from $45 per night
Neutral rooms dressed in whites and light woods make Sotetsu Fresa feel like a cheery crash pad. Japanese nods – a Kyoto-style illuminated lantern out front; bamboo screens – give it a sense of place, while the onsite restaurant has an international, crowd-pleasing lilt. The location near Karasuma station isn’t only handy for getting around, but also for making the most of Kyoto’s shopping scene – try nearby Lisn for incense or Daimaru for clothing.
4.4/5 (996 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Elcient / Expedia
Now from $61 per night
Directly south of Kyoto station, Hotel Elcient enjoys a prime location – you can be on your way to any of the city sights within minutes via affordable public transport. However, one of the main draws for visitors is its onsen, or Japanese thermal bath – where you can spend an evening enjoying a leisurely soak and scrub, buffing your skin to newborn softness. The onsite restaurant fuses Japanese and French cuisines, with seafood rice or stewed beef tenderloin.
Sakura Terrace The Gallery
4.5/5 (1066 Reviews)
Courtesy of Sakura Terrace The Gallery / Hotels.com
Now from $63 per night
Lobby fire pits aren’t a common sight in Kyoto, but Sakura Terrace does things a little bit differently. This hotel is split into two wings: the north, which is chilled out with neutral, natural tones and soothing golden woods; and the south, which is dressed in crisp whites with bold punches of colour. Something else that’s distinct? The nightly free drink and a fresh takeaway menu to enjoy in-room or on the patio.
Hotel Vischio Kyoto by Granvia
4.7/5 (751 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Vischio Kyoto by Granvia / Expedia
Breakfast is a proper event at Hotel Vischio: expect a ‘steak buffet kitchen’, as well as gratin with Kyoto-style miso, to join around 100 other Japanese and Western items on their daily menu. The rest of the hotel’s amenities are just as generous: slick modern onsen baths; saunas and steam rooms; a chic library-style lounge. A coin laundry on the second floor comes in handy if you’re staying in Kyoto for a while.
Mimaru Kyoto Horikawa Rokkaku
Budget Hotel, Chain Hotel
4.6/5 (190 Reviews)
Courtesy of Mimaru Kyoto Horikawa Rokkaku / Expedia
Now from $151 per night
Steps from Unesco-protected Nijo castle, a popular visitor spot for its photogenic moat, squeaky ‘nightingale’ floors and landscaped garden, Mimaru Horikawa Rokkaku has apartments perfect for travelling families (especially given two under-12s stay free). Kitchen equipment lets you prep your own breakfasts and dinners, while low-set dining tables mean you can enjoy the feast Japanese-style. The largest spaces can sleep up to eight adults and two children.
Hotel Kuu Kyoto
4.6/5 (133 Reviews)
Courtesy of Hotel Kuu Kyoto / Expedia
Now from $86 per night
Walking distance from Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple, one of Kyoto’s most famous sights, Hotel Kuu Kyoto is a great pick for busy types who want to pack in the culture. Rooms dressed in bamboo greens, woods and whites – as well as fluffy French duvets – are a comfortable place to return to after a day of exploring. The indoor and outdoor onsens will go a long way towards soothing tired feet, too.
Floral Green Maple House
4.1/5 (7 Reviews)
Courtesy of Floral Green Maple House / Expedia
Now from $134 per night
To the west of Kyoto’s best-known sights, Floral Green Maple House gives you insight into a slightly more local corner of the city. Rooms are simple and homely, with button-back chairs, classic light fixtures and, in some cases, a kitchenette for brewing morning green teas or prepping an afternoon snack. If you’re a Japanese manga fan, the International Manga Museum is less than 2mi (3.2km) away.
Nagi Kyoto Arashiyama
4.9/5 (63 Reviews)
Courtesy of Nagi Kyoto Arashiyama / Expedia
Arashiyama is famous for its towering bamboo forests, meandering river lined with cherry trees and landscaped gardens. The Nagi Kyoto puts you right in the thick of this quaint district of Kyoto, in a modernised build with traditional-style paper screen windows, balconies and wooden detailing. Comfy beds and furnishings make the spaces feel high-end, while in-room coffee machines (and free wifi) help you save on cash.
Nagi Kyoto Shijo
4.6/5 (11 Reviews)
Courtesy of Nagi Kyoto Shijo / Booking.com
Tranquility is the theme at Nagi Kyoto Shijo – you feel it as soon as you step through the doors at this stay near Nishi Market. Pebble-lined paths, flecked with lanterns; mini koi ponds and a lobby with greenery all contribute to a zen-like vibe that pervades into the rooms, which are decked-out in tones of fig or shimmering blue. Deep enamel bathtubs are perfect for soaking after a long day’s exploring, while staff can help sort tours and experiences.
These recommendations were updated on June 14, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.