Kyoto is the cultural and historical capital of Japan. There are more than 2,000 temples and shrines in a city of under 1.5 million people – some of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Gold Pavilion at the Kinkakuji temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Japan, if not the most.

By day, wandering through the Gion District will have you coming face to face with geishas (if you’re lucky), while by night it is home to some of the best street food and nightlife in Japan! 

To sample Kyoto’s finest food, don’t miss out on the vibrant Nishishi Market.

Of course, there is a downside – it can be quite expensive. But one way to keep those costs down is to check out a vacation rental in Kyoto such as those found on Airbnb. 

Not only does an Airbnb save you money, but it will enable you to stay somewhere with plenty of character and charm, as many of the best Airbnbs are traditional machiya houses. Staying in an Airbnb is a great way to see a more traditional side of Japan. 

But how can you find the perfect Kyoto Airbnb for you? Well, that’s where I come in.

I’ve put together a list of the 15 best Airbnbs in Kyoto so that you don’t have to spend hours trawling through the website. I’ve thought about different travel styles, personalities, but most importantly – budgets! 

So, when you’re ready, let’s check them out…

girl smiles for photo at a famous shrine in Kyoto, Japan
Photo: @audyscala

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Quick Answer: These are the Top 5 Airbnbs in Kyoto

Private Japanese-Style Room

Private Japanese-Style Room

  • > $
  • > 1 Guest
  • > Shimogyo District
  • > Modern and traditional Japanese style
Japanese Tatami Style Room

Japanese Tatami Style Room

  • > $
  • > 4 Guests
  • > Japanese tatami style room
  • > Higashiyama-ku area
Moonlight TabiTabi Stay

Moonlight TabiTabi Stay

  • > $$$$
  • > 5 Guests
  • > Bathtub with courtyard view
  • > Japanese Garden
Airbnb in Kyoto

Cosy Room with Amazing Hosts

  • > $
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Located close to many attractions
  • > Pocket Wi-Fi
Balcony garden view by Nijo Castle

Private Tatami Room, Nijo Castle

  • > $$
  • > 2 Guests
  • > Laptop-friendly workspace
  • > Free washing and drying

We love a good deal!

We’ve included links to as well throughout this post — as we have found many of the same properties available on Booking and they are usually at a cheaper price! We’ve included both button options where we can to give you the choice of where you book 🙂

The Top 15 Airbnbs in Kyoto

I’ve had you waiting long enough! Get ready, here are our absolute favorite Airbnbs in Kyoto. From low budget to high-end luxury and family-friendly, there’ll be the right one for you!

Make sure you know which area you want to stay in before you look for accommodation. Our tip: come up with a rough Kyoto itinerary and choose your accommodation close to the hotspots!

Private Japanese-Style Room | Overall Best Value Airbnb in Kyoto

Private Japanese-Style Room

Let’s begin our list of the best Airbnbs in Kyoto with this traditional Machiya house, where you will get to stay in an authentic tatami style room. Not only does it give you a window into real Japanese life, but it’s one of the best options in terms of budget, location, and style! You’ll be staying in a private room in a shared house with other guests, so it’s a great option for solo travelers looking to meet people and make some friends, whilst also conserving their budget. It’s also within walking distance of many popular attractions including Nishiki Market and the Gion area.

Japanese Tatami Style Room | Best Budget Airbnb in Kyoto

Japanese Tatami Style Room

Looking for an Airbnb in Kyoto on a budget? A ryokan is way off the cards then. Or is it? These traditional Japanese inns can sometimes be thousands of yen a night, but not always! This traditional machiya house is a great chance to feel warm hospitality for a fraction of the price while being close to all of the city’s awesome attractions. By taking a private room in this shared guesthouse, you’ll also meet some other like-minded travelers to make friends with.

This accommodation is basic but provides air conditioning and a space to store your luggage, which is basically all you need anyway. Plus, it’s in the perfect location within easy walking distance to the Gion area and Kiyomizu temple. A brilliant Kyoto Airbnb for those who are travelling on a shoestring!

Is This the Best Backpack EVER???
audy on top of a mountain in japan with the osprey aether

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

Moonlight TabiTabi Stay | Over the Top Luxury Airbnb in Kyoto

Moonlight TabiTabi Stay

Have you ever wanted to soak in a bath with a view of a Japanese zen garden? Of course you have! And all your wishes will come true at this incredible Kyoto Airbnb!

It may be a traditional Machiya house, but the attention to detail and care put into this particular one make it one of the best luxury experiences in town. There are modern touches too like those in the fully equipped kitchen and bathroom – which boast the most up-to-date appliances!

Cosy Room with Amazing Hosts | Perfect Kyoto Airbnb for Solo Travellers

Airbnb in Kyoto

Yeah, this place might be small and cosy, but if you’re travelling on your own, it’s really all you need to be happy. The small room is more like a mini studio, equipped with a tiny kitchen and a private bathroom.

To get to the Kyoto station on foot, it’ll take you around 13 minutes, but there are plenty of hotspots right around the corner. If you have any questions, reach out to your host, they are known to be incredibly kind and helpful.

Private Tatami Room, Nijo Castle | Perfect Short Term Airbnb in Kyoto for Digital Nomads

Balcony garden view by Nijo Castle

Travelling with your laptop? If that’s the case then you’ll have a little bit more flexibility in your budget. So, why not check out this cool Kyoto Airbnb, which is near one of the coolest attractions in town – Nijo Castle.

Of course, there’s a laptop-friendly workspace and Wi-Fi included. Even better, if you’ve been travelling long term and you need to get your clothes fresh, there’s a washer and dryer on-site, which you’re welcome to use at no extra cost!

There’s also a common area – so if you want to meet fellow travellers and have a chat – go for it!

Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Hide Yo’ Money!

More Epic Airbnbs in Kyoto

Here are a few more of my favorite Airbnbs in Kyoto!

River Studio in Peaceful Location | Best Airbnb in Kyoto for Nightlife

Airbnb in Kyoto

Heading to Kyoto for the nightlife? Best make Gion your base if that’s the case. During the day, you’ll be able to spot geishas, while in the evening this place becomes one of the hippest spots in the whole of Japan!

This Airbnb is the perfect spot to cure your hangover. You can chill on your private balcony and watch the ducks float on the river. You’re close to all nightlife options but far enough to enjoy a peaceful night. Gion shijo station is within walking distance so you have easy access to other parts of the city.

Townhouse in Kiyomizu | Best Short Term Rental for Couples

Townhouse for two in Kiyomizu

A slightly more expensive option, but it’s worth spending a little more on your Kyoto Airbnb if you’re having a romantic break with your other half, right?!

This traditional entire townhouse is perfect if you’re planning on visiting Gion and many of the most important temples and shrines in Kyoto, such as the Golden Pavilion at Kinkakuji Temple.

There’s even a small rock garden where you can sit and contemplate before heading inside to sleep on those comfy floor mattresses. This traditional wooden house is the perfect place to get a taste of old Japan!

Fluffy Koo’s Registered Home Stay | Best Homestay in Kyoto

Fluffy Koos Registered Home Stay

When travelling to a new city, one of the best ways to keep your costs down while still making the most of your holiday is staying with a local. And where better to do that than the best homestay in Kyoto?!

The friendly host family and their dog are accustomed to welcoming international travellers into their home and know how to show them a good time and excellent hospitality. As well as daily breakfast, you’ll be offered pick up and drop off at Kyoto and Tofukuji station, as well as all their local recommendations!

Vintage Japanese Annex with books | Runner Up Homestay in Kyoto

Vintage Japanese Annex with books

A great thing about homestays in Kyoto is that you can get to know a traditional Machiya house like this one without renting the whole house. If you rented a whole one, it’d cost you a lot of money but this is a great way to experience the real Japan without breaking the bank!

It’s in the style of an authentic tearoom with three tatami mats, while there are plenty of books too. One of the big pluses of this vintage Kyoto Airbnb is that there’s a complimentary breakfast – ideal to fuel up before a day of sightseeing!

Unique 130 year old Kyomachiya | Amazing Luxury Airbnb in Kyoto

Unique 130 year old Kyomachiya

Yes, I know Kyoto is expensive, and I’ve shown you quite a few places that will help you keep your costs down. At least until now! This luxury Kyoto Airbnb shows you exactly how good a place you can get if you’re happy to splash out a little more. An insight into authentic culture, you’ve got a Japanese style tatami tea room, plants throughout, but the piece de resistance is undoubtedly an open-air bath!

Cottage Built in 1938 | Best Airbnb in Kyoto for Families

Cottage Built in 1938

Staying somewhere with the family? You’ll need somewhere that will have enough space for everyone to spend time together then! You have a few options – a lovely dining table, a living room, and a cute garden are just some of the lovely communal areas in this 1900s Kyoto cottage.

When you want to head into town, there are two bicycles as well – at least saving you a bit on renting for the whole family! This Kyoto Airbnb is a great shout if you’re planning a longer-term stay in town – stays of more than one week get discounts!

Luxury Hut W/ Outdoor Bath | Best Airbnb in Kyoto for a Group of Friends

Luxury Hut with outdoor bath

Groups of friends travelling together, like families, need to have somewhere to relax and spend time together. There are few Airbnbs in Kyoto better suited to that than this place.

There are large tatami mat living spaces, but if you are really comfortable around each other, why not check out the private open-air bath?! It might be a bit of a squeeze getting all six of you in there mind! You can always take it in turns, while everyone else checks out the beautiful traditional rock garden!

Modern family room in Shimogyo Ward | Best Airbnb in Downtown Kyoto

Modern family room in Shimogyo Ward

Downtown Kyoto is one of the best areas to stay as it’s near to lots of the city’s tourist attractions and Kyoto places to visit, including the Kyoto railway museum. Oh, it’s very easy to get around.

So, check out this modern home in Shimogyo Ward. It’s got room for up to three people, so it’s a great idea for a couple or a small group of family/friends. It’s a western-style bed too, so although those tatami mat rooms are traditional, it can sometimes seem a bit unusual that you’re practically sleeping on the floor! There’s also a fully equipped kitchen and complimentary toiletries, so your stay is assured to be comfy!

Spacious Loft near Kyoto Station | Another Great Apartment in Downtown Kyoto

Spacious Loft near Kyoto Station

Okay, this is definitely the last Downtown Kyoto Airbnb I’m going to show you! The spacious loft is another great option for a small group of friends or family, and it’s not as expensive as you might expect it to be!

The free portable Wi-Fi is another excellent value for money idea – just think how much data you’ll save when looking for places to go and things to do when you’re out and about! Easily one of the most stylish apartments in Kyoto!

Condo Near Kyoto Station | Top Value Airbnb in Southern Higashiyama

Airbnb in Kyoto

This new condo (which is actually a whole house) is one of the top value Airbnbs in Kyoto. Located close to Kyoto Station, you’ll be able to get around the city with no problem. The best thing about this home is the incredibly affordable rate. If you bring your friends and split the bill, it might even turn out as one of the cheapest and best Airbnbs in the city. It’s also fully equipped and you even get toiletries for free.

FAQ about Airbnbs in Kyoto

Here’s what people usually ask me when they look for vacation homes in Kyoto.

What To Pack For Kyoto

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for an Airbnb stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Don’t Forget Your Kyoto Travel Insurance

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Kyoto Airbnbs

So, there you go. That’s all from my list of the best Kyoto Airbnbs. I’m sure you’ll agree there are plenty of cool places to choose from, and I hope you found the perfect place to stay according to your travel style and budget.

Remember, I saw a romantic townhouse for two in Kiyomizu, a number of huts with outdoor baths, and some more simple places for the traveller on a shoestring. I just hope you’re not overwhelmed by how many choices I’ve given you!

If that’s the case, just relax for a moment. Then, head right back up to the top of my post and pick my favourite Airbnb in Kyoto. The Tatami Style Room by Kyoto station is the perfect combination of good value for money, style, and it’s right by the station. So it’s good for day trips as well as exploring the city!

Now that you’ve finished my list, there’s just one thing for me left to do. I’d like to wish you an awesome vacation in Kyoto, and safe travels in Japan!

Looking for more info on visiting Kyoto and Japan?