Kyoto is renowned for its tranquil and traditional ambiance – so well-known, in fact, that this atmosphere has shifted slightly in recent years due to an explosive tourism boom. In response, the city’s hotels have transformed to accommodate tourists on almost any budget, offering cozy, friendly and charming lodgings. Read Culture Trip’s guide to the best cheap hotels in Kyoto to make the most of your stay in this incredible city.
Budget Hotel, Ryokan
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Ryokan Azumaya | Courtesy of Ryokan Azumaya/Hotels.com
Styled like a traditional Japanese ryokan yet priced for affordability, Ryokan Azumaya is the perfect place to stay for the adventurous but budget-conscious traveller. Ryokan are a type of historic inns that are gorgeous, luxurious and usually expensive. Azumaya retains the traditional charms of tatami flooring, bamboo accents and sliding doors without the unattainable cost by stripping it down to the necessities. The washrooms are shared and meals aren’t included, but with a nice rooftop view of Kyoto Tower and walking distance to Kyoto Station, this inn is a great value nonetheless.
COMICAP kyoto | Courtesy of COMICAP kyoto/Hostelworld
This atypical capsule hotel is great not only for those who are price-conscious; anyone fond of manga (Japanese comics) is encouraged to release their inner geek in this bubbly, vibrant space. Guests practically sleep in a library, as the bedrooms are decked out wall-to-wall in manga, including many in English. 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.
IMU is an especially great spot for couples or pals travelling together. This fashionable, new hotel has cozy rooms for two or more people, in both Western and Japanese styles, so take your pick! The lobby area is inviting and includes lounge space as well as a bar and restaurant with highly lauded dishes. Whether you plan to hole up with your partner, you’re a freelancer looking for good Wi-Fi in a friendly environment, or you’re a practical traveller trying to stay close to all the major sightseeing points, IMU HOTEL just may be the right one for you.
The capsule rooms at The Millennials are modern and spacious | Courtesy of The Millennials/Hostelworld
This stylish, spacious capsule hotel has everything millennial travellers could wish for: free breakfast, an evening happy hour, clean shared spaces, and soft, comfortable mattresses. 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, this hotel is sure to please young and old alike.
Sotetsu Fresa Inn is a convenient and straightforward hotel only a couple of minutes from Kyoto Station on foot. The rooms are minimal and chic, and the staff is friendly and English-speaking. The designer rooms may come off as small to some travellers, but they are actually fairly standard for Japan, if not larger than rooms tend to be here. Plus, each room is private and comfortable, and there are lots of free amenities for guests like tea, coffee and toiletries readily available.
Treat yourself without breaking the bank by staying at EL INN. This sleek, modern hotel has a large Japanese-style spa that includes hot tubs and saunas – totally free for guests! The location is excellent, close to Kyoto Station, shops, restaurants and more. Plus, the staff is multilingual and exceptionally helpful, making this a great gateway for any stay in Kyoto or Kansai.
The Gallery is an artsy, attractive hotel overflowing with amenities. There is an onsen bath, a fitness centre, a lounge with constant tea and coffee, laundry facilities and safety deposit boxes with fingerprint locks – all for free! The design is industrial and homey, natural and modern all at once. The on-site restaurant and bar has both indoor and outdoor seating and serves seasonal, artfully prepared meals. Plus, each guest gets one free drink per night. You might never leave.