Best Area to Stay in Kyoto: Discover the Perfect Neighborhood for Your Trip 2024!

Are you mesmerized by the seamless blend of ancient and modern that Kyoto offers? I completely share your fascination!

I know how daunting it can be to pick the perfect spot in such a vibrant city, given its plethora of choices. That’s why I’ve spent hours exploring and researching just for you!

I’m excited to share my findings on the best area to stay in Kyoto, tailored to suit every preference. Whether it’s the tranquility of Southern Higashiyama or the lively pulse of downtown, each district has a unique vibe and charm waiting to be discovered.

So, why wait? Let’s dive into the heart of Kyoto and find the perfect area for your next Japanese adventure! 🙂

Best Area to Stay in Kyoto: Heart of Tradition

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Kyoto is a city that is steeped in tradition and nowhere is this more evident than in Central Kyoto.

This area is the heart of Kyoto and is home to some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle, and the Gion District.

Gion District

Gion with Geisha at Night

The Gion District is perhaps the most famous area of Kyoto. It is known for its traditional architecture, geisha culture, and tea houses.

Walking through the narrow streets of Gion, you will feel like you have stepped back in time. The district is also home to some of the best restaurants in Kyoto, serving traditional kaiseki cuisine.

If you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of a geisha or maiko (apprentice geisha) walking to their next appointment.

Nijo Castle Area

A tranquil traditional Japanese ryokan nestled among cherry blossom trees in the Gion district of Kyoto

The Nijo Castle Area is located just west of the Imperial Palace and is another must-visit area of Central Kyoto.

The castle was built in 1603 and was the residence of the Tokugawa shoguns when they visited Kyoto. The castle is famous for its “nightingale floors,” which squeak when walked upon to alert the guards of any intruders.

The area surrounding the castle is also home to many traditional Japanese gardens and temples, such as the Ryoan-ji Temple and its famous rock garden.

Central Kyoto is a great place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the city and experience its rich history and culture.

With its traditional architecture, delicious food, and beautiful gardens, you will never run out of things to see and do.

Southern Higashiyama: Scenic Beauty

Higashiyama famous photo spot kyoto

Kyoto is a city of beauty, and Southern Higashiyama is one of the best areas to experience it. Located at the base of the Higashiyama mountains, this area is known for its stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage.

Here are two of the most beautiful areas in Southern Higashiyama: Kiyomizu-dera Vicinity and Yasaka Shrine Surroundings:

Kiyomizu-dera Vicinity

Kiyomizu-dera temple

Kiyomizu-dera is one of Kyoto’s most famous temples, and its vicinity is a must-visit for anyone staying in Southern Higashiyama.

The area is filled with traditional shops and restaurants, as well as other temples and shrines.

One of the highlights of the area is the Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka streets, which are lined with traditional wooden buildings and offer stunning views of the city.

Yasaka Shrine Surroundings

Yasaka Shrine by daylight with several tourists

Yasaka Shrine is another must-visit attraction in Southern Higashiyama.

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The shrine is famous for its annual Gion Matsuri festival, which is one of the biggest festivals in Japan. The surrounding area is also worth exploring, as it is filled with traditional shops and restaurants.

One of the highlights of the area is Maruyama Park, which is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing in the spring.

Southern Higashiyama is a beautiful area to stay in Kyoto.

With its stunning scenery and rich cultural heritage, it offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors.

Arashiyama: Nature and Tranquility

Arashiyama with raindrops and umbrella bambus forest

Kyoto is a city that is known for its natural beauty, and Arashiyama is one of the best areas to experience it. As soon as I arrived in Arashiyama, I was struck by the stunning scenery and the peaceful atmosphere.

It felt like a different world compared to the hustle and bustle of downtown Kyoto.

Togetsukyo Bridge

One of the most iconic landmarks in Arashiyama is the Togetsukyo Bridge. This bridge spans the Katsura River and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and forests.

Walking across the bridge is a must-do activity, and it’s a great spot to take photos.

Iwatayama Monkey Park

Another popular attraction in Arashiyama is the Iwatayama Monkey Park. This park is home to over 170 Japanese macaque monkeys, and visitors can get up close and personal with them.

The monkeys roam freely in the park, and visitors can feed them from a safe distance. The park also offers stunning views of Kyoto from its mountaintop location.

Arashiyama is a great area to stay in if you want to experience nature and tranquility in Kyoto.

The area is also home to beautiful temples and shrines, as well as the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

Downtown Kyoto: Modern Meets History

Modern buildings and traditional temples blend in downtown Kyoto, creating a unique fusion of history and modernity

Kyoto is a city that blends the old with the new, and nowhere is that more evident than in Downtown Kyoto.

As I explore the city, I can’t help but be excited about the energy and vibrancy of this area.

With its towering skyscrapers and bustling streets, Downtown Kyoto is a hub of modernity, but it’s also steeped in history and culture.

Shijo Avenue

One of the most iconic streets in Downtown Kyoto is Shijo Avenue. This bustling thoroughfare is lined with shops, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing and people-watching.

As I walk along Shijo Avenue, I can’t help but be struck by the juxtaposition of old and new.

Traditional Japanese architecture stands side-by-side with modern glass and steel buildings, creating a unique and dynamic atmosphere.

Pontocho Alley

For a taste of old-world Kyoto, Pontocho Alley is the place to be. This narrow alleyway is lined with traditional wooden buildings that house some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.

As I wander down the alley, I’m transported back in time to a Kyoto of centuries past. The lanterns that hang overhead cast a warm glow, and the sounds of traditional music and conversation fill the air.

Whether you’re looking for modern amenities or a taste of old-world Kyoto, Downtown Kyoto has something for everyone.

From the bustling energy of Shijo Avenue to the historic charm of Pontocho Alley, this area is a must-visit for anyone exploring the city.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most convenient area to stay in Kyoto for tourists?

Central Kyoto – Close to major attractions and excellent transport links.

Which area in Kyoto is best for a traditional experience?

Gion – Known for its historic buildings and geisha culture.

Where should I stay in Kyoto on a budget?

Southern Higashiyama – Offers affordable lodging and proximity to cultural sites.

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Let us know, which of the above is your favorite location!

Florian Bernhard
Florian Bernhard
Articles: 127

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