While a bit on the pricey side, backpacking Japan is one of the coolest experiences you can have as a traveler.
It’s one of those few countries that is completely safe and comfortable to travel, but that still provides a heavy dose of wonder and culture shock. Kyoto is one of the gems of backpacking Japan.
But with thousands of hotels and hostels available, it can be overwhelming to know which to book.
Which is exactly why I made this post of the 19 best hostels in Kyoto.
This post is meant to do one thing – help you figure out which of the best hostels in Kyoto suits your travel needs, so you can book quickly and get back to what matters… eating ramen and visiting cat cafes.
Table of Contents
Quick Answer – The Best Hostels in Kyoto
- Overall Best Hostel in Kyoto – Hostel Haruya Book
- Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Kyoto – Kyoto Hana Hostel
- Best Cheap Hostel in Kyoto – Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto & Café
- Best Hostel for Couples in Kyoto – Backpackers Hostel K’s House Kyoto
- Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Kyoto – Mosaic Hostel Kyoto
- Best Hostel with a Private Room in Kyoto – Gojo Guest House
How we picked the Best Hostels in Kyoto
If you are traveling to Japan, Kyoto is one of the must-visit gems. Largely spared from the bombing of World War Two, the history of Kyoto feels alive as much of the original architecture is still in place.
But like Japan as a whole, Kyoto is not cheap, so there were a few things we took into consideration when reviewing the best hostels in Kyoto.
- Location – Kyoto is not terribly massive – especially when compared to Tokyo! Because of it’s smaller size, great public transit, and general safety, you can really stay anywhere in this amazing city and be able to move around easily.
- Price – As mentioned, Kyoto is great, but it’s going to cost you. Spending less than $50 a day in Japan is tough, but with dorms starting at $15 a night staying in hostels is a great way to start. One thing to keep an eye on is…
- Amenities – The hostel scene in Japan and Kyoto is great. Very developed, high quality and tons of freebies. While not all of the hostels offer free breakfast, a bunch do, and there are other things to take advantage of like free tea, towels, and laundry facilities. These freebies can add up, and quickly.
The 19 Best Hostels in Kyoto
Organized by your travel needs, these are the best hostels in Kyoto.
Overall Best Hostel in Kyoto – Hostel Haruya Book
– 8 minutes from Kyoto Station
– Book Lounge
– No Curfew
Set inside an awesome historic building, Hostel Haruya Book is super popular among backpackers and is easily the overall best hostel in Kyoto. Located less than 2 km from Kyoto Station, Hostel Haruya has a ton of activities organised by the friendly English speaking staff, making it definitely a fun and lively hostel to be in. There’s a communal kitchen where you can fix yourself a quick breakfast before you head out for the day. You can chill in the common area or make use of their super-fast Wifi which is reliable enough to quickly catch up with friends and family back home over video.
Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Kyoto – Kyoto Hana Hostel
– 5 minutes from Kyoto Station
– Special discount for every 4th night spent at any of the J-Hoppers and Hana Hostel properties across Japan
– Lots and lots of Freebies
If you are on your own and you have a budget to stick to, it doesn’t get better than Kyoto Hana Hostel. One of the best budget hostels in Kyoto, Kyoto Hana Hostel has tons of freebies like Wi-Fi, English maps, Green Tea, Coffee, luggage storage, and even washing powder. The $15 price may seem a bit over the top for a solo traveller, but its closeness to the main hotspots in Kyoto and the endless facilities makes it worth every penny.
– Free Games and Kimono Dress-up
– 1 minute from Kiyomizu Temple, Gion, and Nijo Castle
– One-day Bus Pass
One of the best youth hostels in Kyoto, J-Hoppers Kyoto Guest Hostel is just a stone’s throw away from Kyoto Station and is an easy base to explore Kyoto. Easily one of the coolest hostels in Kyoto, J-Hoppers has a lot of fun activities and games on offer and also lets you try on a Kimono for free! You can meet people from all around the world here and make plenty of new friends. A great Japanese bar and restaurant is just around the corner.
– Japanese-style Tatami and capsule rooms
– Café and Bar
– Group activities
For those who need a break from the messy dorm rooms and snoring bunkmates, Ryokan & Hostel Wasabi Kyoto Soba is the place to go. Close to the touristy district yet relaxed and laidback, Ryokan & Hostel lets you sleep peacefully in a semi-private bunk at night and socialize with backpackers in their cool café and bar in the day. There are fun group activities to enjoy as well ensuring solo travellers won’t be on their own for long.
Best Cheap Hostel in Kyoto #1 – Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto & Café
– Café and Bar (discounted beverages)
– Coin- operated Washing Machine
– Safety boxes with each bunk
Easily the best budget hostel in Kyoto, Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto & Café has amazingly cheap bunks and is never low on quality. Your bunk also comes with a security locker, curtain, and an electrical socket. If chilling out and making new friends is on your mind, Santiago Café has some pretty cool cocktails at a discounted price where you can spend the evening. And, what can be better than a plate full of pancakes, fresh bread, and coffee the morning after?
Best Cheap Hostel in Kyoto #2 – Kyoto Morris Hostel
– 5 minutes’ drive to Kyoto Imperial Place
– Free Laundry Facility
– Huge All You Can Eat Breakfast
Kyoto Morris Hostel is easily one of the top youth hostels in Kyoto with cosy bunk beds and a huge fill ya boots breakfast. Near the Kyoto Imperial Place (aka one of the coolest things to do in Kyoto), Kyoto Morris lets you do your laundry for free and you can also make use of the communal kitchen to save some extra cash on lunch and dinner. And let’s not forget about the onsite bar which is perfect for starting a great evening with new traveller friends.
Best Cheap Hostel in Kyoto #3 – Piece Hostel Sanjo
– 5 minutes’ walking from Nishiki Market
– Lounge and Cocktail & Beer Bar
– Free Breakfast
The 2017 Hoscars Winner for the ‘best hostel in Japan,’ Piece Hostel is in a relaxed, laidback neighbourhood which is close to the super popular spots in Kyoto. With 2 stations within a 10-minutes’ distance, Piece Hostel is a good base for backpackers to explore in and around Kyoto. A modern, clean-cut design and tons of onsite facilities like a popular cocktail and beer bar make Piece hostel easily a top hostel in Kyoto.
Best Hostel for Couples in Kyoto – Backpackers Hostel K’s House Kyoto
– 10 minutes from Kyoto Station
– Travelers Café and Bar (open until midnight)
– Travel Desk
The 2017 Hoscars Winner for most popular hostels in Kyoto, it doesn’t get much better than Backpackers Hostel K’s House when it comes to the best hostel for couples in Kyoto. Unlike the name, the hostel is fit for all kinds of travellers and not just backpackers. With super clean private ensuite rooms, couples are able to get plenty of privacy and not have to stand next to strangers while brushing their teeth. Fix yourself a romantic meal in the communal kitchen and enjoy it up on the rooftop terrace with great views of Kyoto.
Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Kyoto – Mosaic Hostel Kyoto
– 24-hour Reception
– Free Computer Use and High-Speed Wi-Fi
– Café and Bar
Digital Nomads have a slightly different travelling style than backpackers and Mosaic Hostel Kyoto fits right into it. Whether you laze around in the lounge area or stay in your private capsule, the high-speed Wi-Fi lets you finish your work from anywhere in the property. Cultural events and regular fun activities give you a chance to connect with like-minded people and helps you build your network. The modern and clean-cut design make Mosaic Hostel one of the coolest hostels in Kyoto.
Best Hostel with a Private Room in Kyoto – Gojo Guest House
– Japanese style beds “Futon”
– Common Lounge
– Café and Bar
Gojo Guest House is one of the most recommended hostels in Kyoto because of its chilled-out and social vibe. The famous Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is just a 15 minutes’ walk from the hostel, but you can rent a bicycle for around $5 for the day. The traditional Japanese style sleeping gives you a true Japanese feel and is good for your back, especially if you have been carrying a heavy backpack for months on end.
Gojo Guest house has very reasonably priced rooms making it the best hostel with a private room in Kyoto.
More of the best hostels in Kyoto
– 24-hour Reception
– Full-stocked Bar
– Massive library
Okay, so it is a bit on the steeper side, but if you love reading there is no way you can miss staying a night at the Book and Bed Tokyo. One of the coolest hostels in Kyoto, Book and Bed is more like sleeping inside a library full of thousands of amazing novels. So, you not only get to read as much as you want, but you also sleep surrounded by them. Bunks, books, and beer! What more does a well-read traveller need?
– iPod controlled Room features
– Large workspace
– Free Breakfast
The Millennials Kyoto looks like it’s right out of a sci-fi Hollywood movie with its iPod-controlled room features such as automatic blinds and reclining beds! There’s even a pull-out 80-inch projector in each pod and a huge sliding cabinet under your bed to safely store all your stuff away. Reliable Wi-Fi, free breakfast and a super amazing social vibe, The Millennials is one of the best hostels in Kyoto for sure.
– 2 minutes walking to Sijou subway station
– Laundry facilities
– Steam Room
Need a break from all that travelling? Centurion Cabin & Spa Kyoto not only gives you a cosy bed to sleep in, it also has an amazing steam room, so you can relax and treat those sore well-travelled muscles. With its easy location, Centurion Cabin & Spa is easily one of the top hostels in Kyoto. You can enjoy super-fast Wi-Fi anywhere within the hostel and there is free wired internet access in your own bunk so you can always stay connected.
– Laundry Facility
– Security Lockers
– Common Room
Japan is expensive. But it’s also amazingly beautiful so of course, a lot of budget backpackers like to come here. Finding cheap accommodation can be a challenge but not when you have A-Yado Gion which is not just one of the best backpacker hostels in Kyoto but it’s also cheap as chips. A strictly no-frills atmosphere, A-Yado Gion is in the heart of the Geisha city so you’re getting great value for money here.
– Free Massage Chair
– Free Japanese and Western Breakfast
– Coin Laundry
A great hostel to make your base while you explore Kyoto, Guest House Ga-Jyun offers a ton of onsite facilities and is within a few minutes walking distance from many tourist hangouts. You can spend the day visiting attractions like the popular shrines of Nanzen-Ji and Yasaka-Jinja then on your return spend a few minutes in the hostel’s free massage chair! The free breakfast comes in two choices of Western or Japanese.
– 10 minutes from Kujyo station
– Communal kitchen with microwave and refrigerator
– 6 minutes by bike from Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine
Within a few minutes of the super popular Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto Be Open Hostel is easily one of the best backpacker hostels in Kyoto. You can sleep in one of the Japanese-style dorms for a real Japanese feel or if you don’t like the idea of sleeping on the floor, get yourself a western bunk. Get a cup of free coffee and fix yourself a quick breakfast to eat at the large communal kitchen before you head out for the day.
– Japanese style Futon beds
– Bicycle Rental
– Next to a Bus Stop
If you like your privacy, then You En Me House is the place to be. Separate floors for guys and girls, You En Me House gives you a true feel of the Japanese style of sleeping in Futon beds. Feeling homesick and lonely? Hang out in the spacious common lounge area and make some new friends. A bus-stop right next to You En Me House lets you explore Kyoto easily, or alternatively, take a ride on one of their bicycles for hire.
– 24-hour Front Desk
– On-site Bar
– Flat-screen TV
Looking for some time out from the crazy hostel life yet have to stick to a budget? Well, The Prime Pod Kyoto is just what the doctor ordered! A newly opened hostel, The Prime Pod has modern facilities, a trendy on-site bar and a clean-cut design, making it easily one of the coolest hostels in Kyoto. Want to get a true ‘samurai’ feel? The super-popular Samurai Kembu Kyoto is just 500 meters away.
What to Pack for your Kyoto Hostel
Here’s some gear our editors take hostelling.
1. TRTL Travel Pillow: Long flights and bus rides are quite uncomfortable (most obvious statement of the day). Most travel pillows… Well, you know how they are. TRTL travel pillow is different. I mean, look at it! It’ll cuddle you to sleep every ride and it does a pretty damn good job of supporting your neck so you don’t get that stiffness or legendary popping when you stir.
2. Active Roots Water Bottle: Hostels are increasingly meeting backpackers’ demands for potable (drinkable) water. Now is better than ever to start traveling with a reusable water bottle! Aside from cutting down single-use plastic, The Active Roots stainless steel water bottle will also keep your favorite beverage hot or cold all day long and it’s sized perfectly to fit an entire bottle of wine. ‘Nuff said.
3. Universal Travel Adapter: Not every country has the same electrical plug style, so carry along a universal travel adapter. You’ll want one that covers varying voltage levels, has protection from power surges, a fried laptop is not fun, and enough ports so you don’t have to spend all day individually charging your devices.
4. Noise-Cancelling Earbuds: Noise in hostels… is a thing. Your bunkmate coming in late, motorbike traffic just below your window, construction on the property or the round-the-clock rooster that seems to follow you to every f*cking hostel. Having a way to escape the noise while you sleep makes for a well-rested morning. Noise canceling ear-buds are a great solution, just put on your favorite artist or load a quick Netflix episode to fall asleep too.
5. Active Roots Microfiber Towel: Having your own towel is a must when traveling since most hostels don’t provide them. Plus as a backpacker, use of a towel will extend further than just showers, it’s a minimalist yoga towel and a great beach blanket/towel combo! The Active Roots Microfiber Towel is really the best solution for backpacking.
6. Headphone Splitter: Don’t be those awkward people sharing one earbud on the bus, as you show off your in-depth music knowledge to your new friend. A headphone splitter is a great item to bring traveling, it works fantastic on those long bus rides or easy dorm Netflix nights when you want to relax and connect with someone.
Why you should travel to Kyoto
Kyoto is a truly fascinating city. You can spend a lifetime here and still have so much more to explore. We hope that with the help of this guide you’ll be able to get a better idea of which hostel you want to stay at, so you can book with confidence, and get to exploring this incredible city.
And remember, if you are still having a tough time picking which of the best hostels in Kyoto is best for you, definitely check out Hostel Haruya Book
Travel Safety Tips for Kyoto
And don’t forget to sort your travel insurance before heading to Kyoto! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads, our favorite travel insurance provider.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
More Epic Hostels in Japan and Asia
Hopefully by now you’ve found the perfect hostel for your upcoming trip to Kyoto.
Planning an epic trip all across Japan or even Asia itself?
Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!
For more cool hostel guides around Asia, check out:
Over to you
By now I hope our epic guide to the best hostels in Kyoto has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure! If you didn’t find what you was looking for, then consider getting an Airbnb in Kyoto.
If you think we’ve missed anything or have any further thoughts, hit us up in the comments!
Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps keep the site going.
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