Top Places To Stay on a Budget in Kyoto

From budget hotels and capsules to traditional-style inns, theres plenty of affordable but wonderful places to stay in Kyoto
From budget hotels and capsules to traditional-style inns, there's plenty of affordable but wonderful places to stay in Kyoto | Courtesy of Cross Hotel Kyoto / Expedia
Jo Fernandez

Travelling on a budget? While Japan isn’t the most wallet-friendly country, its former capital boasts a wealth of reasonably priced accommodation. Yes, business hotels in Kyoto are commonplace, but there’s also a smattering of cheap, clean and characterful places to stay in the City of a Thousand Years. From traditional ryokans to design-forward boutiques, here’s a handful of the best places to stay in Kyoto – bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Hotel Amanek Kyoto Kawaramachi Gojo, for communal Japanese bathing


A double room at Hotel Amanek Kyoto Kawaramachi Gojo features modern decor and compact use of space
Courtesy of Hotel Amanek Kyoto Kawaramachi Gojo / Expedia

There’s a jetlag busting communal bathhouse at this slender build on a side street, an eight-minute stroll from the Gojō subway station. After a thorough public cleansing, you’ll sleep well wrapped in a cotton kimono in streamlined rooms with subtle backlighting and low platform beds. The next day, go out in search of the famous Kyoto sights such as the red-painted Sanjūsangen-dō Buddhist temple, which houses 1001 carved wooden statues of Kannon – the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, barely a five-minute walk away.

2. Miru Kyoto Nishiki, for polished perfection


The reception area at Miru Kyoto Nishiki features Japanese design and detailed accents
Courtesy of Miru Kyoto Nishiki / Expedia

Follow your nose to the Nishiki Market, a narrow shopping street lined with hundreds of shops and restaurants, a three-minute walk from this polished hotel. Soft greys and taupes keep rooms classic – with delicate green and red silken fabrics draped across low beds livening up the scene. Use the kitchenettes for stashing your goodies from the Nishiki food stalls, but don’t miss out on the hotel’s own chawanmushi – a teacup-steamed savoury egg custard dish.

3. Hotel M's Plus Shijo Omiya, for city centre simplicity


A family room at Hotel Ms Plus Shijo Omiya features large beds, a flatscren TV and wall decor
Courtesy of Hotel M's Plus Shijo Omiya / Expedia

Light and airy rooms – with ingenious shelving nooks for stashing iPads and chargers and the odd wall of geometric-print wallpaper – are the perfect base for exploring this part of central Kyoto. No need to break a sweat as you’re under a mile from Kyoto International Manga Museum, an enormous collection for die-hard fans. For middle-of-the-night hunger pangs, there’s a vending machine that includes alcoholic drinks. If you’ve overdone the pavement pounding, book a soporific in-room massage.

4. Cross Hotel Kyoto, for design-led digs


A suite at Cross Hotel Kyoto features traditional Japanese design and neutral tones
Courtesy of Cross Hotel Kyoto / Expedia

You’ll never go hungry at this low-rise design-led hotel – a nine-minute walk from traditional Japanese food stalls of Nishiki Market – in the heart of Kyoto’s shopping and gourmet district. Breakfast in the low-lit dining area is a feast of pastries and less carb-laden Japanese specialities. Rooms soothe with the lightest of woods, washi paper lighting and low beds nodding to tradition – while the entire hotel is sharp and sleek with floor-to-ceiling glass bringing in light and views of the Kawaramachi Sanjo area.

5. Kyoto Granbell Hotel, where East meets West

Boutique Hotel, Chain Hotel

A twin room at Kyoto Granbell Hotel features minimalist design and wall features
Courtesy of Kyoto Granbell Hotel / Expedia

Mixing up modern and traditional Japanese design in the heart of the beautifully-preserved Gion district, pared back rooms feature hints of tradition with slatted screens and mats. Sip an Asahi at the wood and gold leaf inlaid bar after a day pounding those streets in search of must-see sights. You’re a two-minute walk from Gion-Shijo Subway, so no excuses for not getting out and about – although many top sights are right under your noses, such as teahouses and temples. Return to the calm of the basement onsen-style bathhouse and look out onto a pretty interior garden.

6. The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo, for art-filled public spaces


The bar and dining area at the Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo features luxurious detailing and unique light features
Courtesy of The Royal Park Hotel Kyoto Sanjo / Expedia

At first sight, rooms at this nine-storey hotel close to the river in Kawaramachi-Sanjo, seem simple and neutral. Then, you’ll spot the coloured cutouts of animals decorating the walls adding movement to the space. There’s bolder art in the black and red lobby, such as life-size modern sculptures of men – one even gives a welcoming high five. Don’t miss the 20-minute walk to Gion – the geisha quarter where ancient Japan can be glimpsed in the atmospheric streets lined with 17th-century lantern-lit teahouses.

7. The Machiya Shinsen-En, for heritage and design


A twin room at the Machiya Shinsen-En feature minimalist design and a private balcony
Courtesy of the Machiya Shinsen-En / Expedia

A five-minute walk from Nijo Castle – a must-see landmark built for a 17th-century shogun – this renovated townhouse in the Nakagyo-ward is a combination of traditional and modern architecture. Some suites are housed in a Japanese machiya house – a wooden structure complete with futons, tatami mats and delicate sliding screens – while others boast Western-style beds and amenities. Whether you’ve slept nearer the floor or not, when it comes to breakfast, you can take your pick of freshly-baked pastries or miso soup, side dishes and pickles.

8. Node Hotel, for artful minimalism

Boutique Hotel

A double room at the Node Hotel features industrial chic design and rustic furniture
Courtesy of Node Hotel /Expedia

A 12-minute walk from the fragrant street food at Nishiki Market in Shijo Nishinotoin, this distinctive hotel was inspired by the concept of an art collector’s private residence. If you like grey, you’re in luck, as it’s head-to-toe here across rooms and public spaces – where the minimal style is offset by vast amounts of art, from abstract oil paintings to photography. The ground-floor hub is the place for sampling East-meets-West dishes, such as pasta with sea urchin and egg.

9. Matsubaya Ryokan, for a traditional stay

Hotel, Guesthouse, Ryokan

A room at the Matsubaya Ryokan features traditonal Japanese design and low seating
Courtesy of Matsubaya Ryokan / Expedia

Matsubaya Ryokan is one of the most popular Japanese-style ryokan (traditional inns) in Kyoto – it first opened in 1884. Rooms feature traditional futon bedding, tatami mat floors and yukata (Japanese-style robes). Exhausted after a long day exploring? Book the private bath where staff will give you yuzu scented bath salts – designed to relax your muscles and improve circulation. Breakfast is available each morning for an additional fee.

Fancy spending a little more? Check out our pick of the best luxury hotels to book in Kyoto, Japan, bookable with Culture Trip.

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