Where to stay (in Kyoto)

Say I’m heading to a new city. I need somewhere to stay, but without knowing the lie of the land there, how could I know which area would be best? You can check on booking.com, and whilst you can filter by area, this facility won’t help much if you don’t know anything about what’s what.

I created this video to help first time visitors to get a feel for the city, get quickly orientated and hopefully aid in their choice of an area to stay.

I divide the city into the following main areas:


If you want to be in the hustle and bustle and would like to have fairly equal distances to the main attractions then downtown is good.

In the neighbourhood:

  • Kyoto Imperial Palace
  • Nijo Castle
  • Nishiki Market
  • Pontocho

Station area

This area is handy if you’re just in town for a short stay or want to use Kyoto as a base to explore the Kansai area where it would be easy to get to Osaka, Kobe or Nara, for example.

Short bus ride:

  • Fushimi Inari Shrine
  • Fushimi Sake District
  • Tofukuji Temple
  • Toji Temple


If you want to get away from the crowds, then a place up in these hills might suit. Gion is great if you want to feel you’re at the heart of the most famous Geisha district.

In the neighbourhood:

  • The Kyoto National Museum and Municipal Museum of Art
  • Gion Geisha and Temple Quarter
  • Kiyomizu-dera Temple
  • Ginkakuji Temple
  • Nanzenji Temple

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