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.
Quick Answer – The Best Hostels in Kyoto
- Overall Best Hostel in Kyoto – Ryokan Hostel Gion
- Best Hostel for Solo Travelers in Kyoto – Kyoto Hana Hostel
- Best Cheap Hostel in Kyoto – Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto & Café
- Best Hostel for Digital Nomads in Kyoto – Kyoto Morris Hostel
- Best Luxury Hostel in Kyoto – Piece Hostel Sanjo
What to Expect from Hostels in Kyoto
If you are backpacking Japan, Kyoto is one of the must-visit gems. As the historical and cultural capital of Japan, which was thankfully largely spared from the bombing of World War Two, there is a ton of history in Kyoto to explore. As well as this, there are over 2000 temples in the city, and it has retained much of the original architecture from over a hundred years ago.
But like Japan as a whole, Kyoto is not cheap, so what can you do to keep costs down? Why, stay in one of the many cheap Kyoto hostels.
Hostels not only provide you with affordable accommodation, but they are also a great place to meet other like-minded travellers. Solo travellers, in particular, will have a great time in a hostel, as you can make new friends to explore the city with.
There are many types of hostels in Kyoto; there are a ton of youth hostels that tailor to the younger generation. There are party hostels which, as the name suggests, are for those looking for a lively night out. You can even find traditional guesthouses, called Machiya houses, which are made from wooden structures that often date back more than 100 years. That’s right, you can stay in history.
Generally speaking, the traditional guesthouses are more expensive than your youth and party hostels, but you can still find a few good deals around. I’ve listed a few of those in this guide.
When looking for a quality hostel in Kyoto, there are a few things to take into consideration:
- Location – Kyoto is not terribly massive – especially when compared to Tokyo! Because of its 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.
Speaking of things adding up, let’s talk about money. Kyoto’s hostels normally have three options: dorms, capsule-like pods, and private rooms. Some hostels even offer large private rooms for a group of friends, but unless you’re booking an entire vacation rental, you will unlikely find an apartment. The general rule here is the more beds in a room, the cheaper the price.
Obviously, you won’t have to pay as much for a 24-bed dorm (yes they do go up that high) as you would for a single-bed or private room. To give you a rough overview of Kyoto’s prices, I’ve listed the average numbers below:
- Dorm room (mixed or female-only): $15-$30 USD/night
- Private room: $20-$90 USD/night
When looking for hostels, you’ll find the best options on HOSTELWORLD. This platform offers you a super safe and efficient booking process. All hostels are displayed with a rating and previous guest reviews. You can also filter your personal travel needs easily and find the perfect place for you.
When looking up Kyoto hostels, you should consider where to stay in terms of neighborhood. Gion is the most historic neighborhood and therefore the most expensive, as is Higashiyama. Staying around Shimogyo and the Kyoto train station is a good idea as it’s centrally located to main attractions, however, it can also be more expensive as it’s a popular tourist spot.
Staying a little outside the city center in Kamigyo or Arashiyama might offer cheaper accommodation but you will need to travel to tourist attractions. Luckily, Kyoto isn’t a huge city and is well connected with the metro, so this won’t be a problem.
The 5 Best Hostels in Kyoto
Organized by your travel needs, these are the best hostels in Kyoto. Whether you’re looking for something affordable and basic or more traditional, there’s something for everyone on my list.
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Overall Best Hostel in Kyoto #1 – Ryokan Hostel Gion
- Traditional Japanese House
- Gion District
- Free WiFi
Located in the heart of Gion, Ryokan Hostel is not only in the most historical and culturally awesome part of Kyoto, but it’s affordable too. There is a mixture of dormitories and private rooms available, including female-only dorms. The 24-bed dorms are of course the cheapest option, though each of the capsule-like bunk beds has its own curtain for privacy.
The hostel is in a traditional wooden townhouse, called a Machiya. There are a lot of unique restaurants, shops, and cafes nearby, so you can really get a sense of life in Kyoto whilst staying in a historical Japanese house. All rooms come with an electric teapot and sometimes even a kitchenette with a microwave.
There’s a communal area where you can mingle with other travelers and there are also laundry facilities, luggage storage and stylish bathrooms with high-tech plumbing.
Best Hostel for Solo Travellers in Kyoto #2 – Kyoto Hana Hostel
- 5 minutes from Kyoto Station
- Special Discounts
- 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 free WiFi, 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.
Best Cheap Hostel in Kyoto #3 – Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto & Café
- Cafe and Bar (Discounted Drinks)
- 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 Hostel for Digital Nomads in Kyoto #4 – Kyoto Morris Hostel
- 5 minutes’ drive to Kyoto Imperial Place
- All you can eat breakfast
- Free Laundry
Kyoto Morris Hostel is easily one of the top youth hostels in Kyoto with cozy bunk beds and a huge fill ya boots breakfast. Near 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 Luxury Hostel in Kyoto #5 – Piece Hostel Sanjo
- 5 minutes’ walking distance from Nishiki Market
- Lounge and Coctail & Beer Bar
- Free Breakfast
The 2017 Hoscars Winner for the ‘best hostel in Japan,’ Piece Hostel is in a relaxed, laidback neighbourhood that 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 the Piece hostel easily a top hostel in Kyoto.
More of the best hostels in Kyoto
If you’re still unsure about which hostel is right for you, check out some more of the best hostels in Kyoto below.
- 10 minutes from Kyoto Train Station
- Travelers Cafe 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.
- Japanese style beds
- Common lounge
- Cafe 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 of 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 Guesthouse has very reasonably priced rooms making it the best hostel with a private room in Kyoto.
- 10-minutes from Kujyo station
- Communal kitchen
- 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.
- iPod controlled Room features
- Large workspace
- Free Breakfast
- 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. With Reliable WiFi, free breakfast, and a super amazing social vibe, The Millennials is one of the number one hostels in Kyoto for sure.
- 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.
- 2 minutes walking distance to Sijou Subway
- Laundry Facilities
- Steam Room
Need a break from all that travelling? Centurion Cabin & Spa Kyoto not only gives you a cozy bed to sleep in, it also has an amazing steam room, so you can relax and treat those sore well-traveled 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 Facilities
- Secure 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.
- 100-year-old traditional Japanese home
- Higashiyama district in Kyoto
- Private rooms
Oki’s Inn may not be your typical ‘youth hostel’ but it does offer travelers a really unique experience. This renovated wooden guesthouse was built 100 years ago and is a real, genuine, and traditional Kyoto-style home. Guests staying here will have their own private room sleeping Tatami style, meaning a mattress on the floor.
For solo travellers, having your own private space means additional safety, yet there is a Tatami-style common room and a small kitchen where you can meet other travellers. Located in the Higashiyama district, you are centrally located near to many attractions, whilst also finding many restaurants and cafes within walking distance of the hostel.
- Central Kyoto, near Kyoto train station
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Free tea and coffee
Many of Kyoto’s hostels are built in traditional wooden houses, but they tend to lack modern amenities. At the Khaosan Kyoto Guest House, this is not the case. This historic building has a huge, Japanese-styled living room serving free tea and coffee throughout the day, but when it comes to bathrooms and the fully-equipped kitchen, they have been kitted out with modern technology.
Khaosan Kyoto Guesthouse is centrally located, just around the corner from Kyoto train station and only a 10 minutes’ walk from the Gion District. As well as this, the cost of dorms comes at a super affordable price, making this hostel the best budget hostel in Kyoto with an awesome location to match. There are private rooms available, as well as dorms of up to 10 beds.
There is also a female-only dorm for female solo travellers not wanting to mix. As well as this, there is also laundry facilities, luggage storage, free wifi, plus all your towels and linens are provided. You can’t get better than that.
- Free Games and Kimono Dress-Up
- 1 minute from Kiyomizu Temple, Gion, 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 Train Station and is an easy base to explore Kyoto. Easily one of the nicest 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 are just around the corner.
- Japanese-style Tatami and capsule rooms
- Cafe 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 during the day. There are fun group activities to enjoy as well ensuring solo travelers won’t be on their own for long.
- Japanese style Futon beds
- Bicylce 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
- Onsite Bar
- Flat-screen TV
Looking for some time out from the crazy hostel life yet still having 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.
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FAQ about Hostels in Kyoto
Here are some questions backpackers ask about hostels in Kyoto.
Travel Safety Tips for Kyoto
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
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 – I’ve got you covered!
For more cool hostel guides around Asia, check out:
Final Thoughts on the Best Hostels in Kyoto
So that’s it, my epic guide to the best hostels in Kyoto! I hope it has helped you choose the perfect hostel for your adventure! I know there are a lot to choose from, so if you’re really not sure, I would recommend going with my ultimate favourite, the Ryokan Hostel Gion.
Not only is it located in the most historical part of the city, but you get to stay in history itself, all for a decent low price. You can’t really get better than that, can you? If you think you can, let me know in the comments!
However, if you do want to have an amazing experience and stay in one of the most traditional Japanese homes, then consider getting an Airbnb in Kyoto, which has a ton of unique options available.
And of course, have the best time in Kyoto! You will not regret your decision to go there. It is truly an unforgettable city.
Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀
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