Cheap Hotels in Kyoto

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Enjoy Kyoto on a Budget

With its status as the former imperial capital of Japan, Kyoto perfectly captures the essence of Old Japan, complete with peaceful temples, sacred shrines, superb gardens, and mysterious geishas. If you’re traveling to Kyoto on a budget, you’ll be glad to hear that the best way to experience this unique city is to simply stroll along its quaint alleys lined with traditional wooden houses, soaking up the serene atmosphere as you make your way from one sanctuary to the next.

Things to see in Kyoto

Kyoto is home to 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, so choosing which ones to visit can be tough. Luckily, many of the best temples in Kyoto offer free entry, so achieving a Zen-like state needn’t blow your budget. Located at the base of the Higashiyama mountains, the 13th-century Nanzen-ji is one of Kyoto’s most important temples. Entrance to the main grounds, where you can enjoy impressive views over the city, is free of charge—as is Chion-in, also known as the Vatican of Pure Land Buddhism. Step through its two-story san-mon—Japan's largest temple gate—and climb the steps to enter the main hall, where you can take a seat and listen in awe to the monks chanting. Visit the exquisite Shinto shrine at Fushimi Inari-Taisha and explore its mountainside trails, then come back down to earth and sample the delicious street food at Nishiki Market, where you’ll find locally grown produce at budget-friendly prices.

Cheap hotels in Kyoto

The market for budget accommodation in Kyoto is very competitive, so savvy travelers can find plenty of affordable options that won’t break the bank. For cheap and cheerful lodgings, stay at one of the city’s many guesthouses or hostels, which are perfect for backpackers. For an authentic Japanese experience, opt for a ryokan (a traditional inn)—you’ll find several budget options available throughout the city. If your overnight needs are more basic, try out a capsule hotel, where you can slip into a futuristic sleeping pod for very reasonable prices. Lots of discount Kyoto hotels offer amenities like free breakfast, free WiFi, and air conditioning.

Where to stay in Kyoto

Many of the best cheap hotels in Kyoto are located in the downtown area, which is chock-full of affordable restaurants, bars, and clubs. For a great-value lunch, stop here for some tasty ramen noodles or donburi, a steaming bowl of rice and meat or vegetables. The area around Kyoto Station is another good address for economy accommodation. This transport hub is home to several shopping malls and department stores like Yodobashi Camera, where you’ll find unbeatable bargains on electronics items. A variety of budget hotels are also available in Central Kyoto, which is an ideal base for exploring popular sites like the Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo-jo Castle.

How to get to Kyoto

For international visitors to Kyoto, the main access point is Kansai International Airport. From here, the Haruka express train service will whizz you to Kyoto Station in around 75 minutes; for an even cheaper option, take the airport bus, which takes just under 2 hours. If you’re traveling around the region, save money with a multi-day train pass. Getting around Kyoto is easy on a budget: the city’s bus and subway network is efficient and convenient, and day passes offer good value. The city is also extremely bike-friendly, so rent a bike for a cheap and healthy way to see the sights.

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