One of the most unique, atmospheric, and magical places on the planet, Japan’s spiritual heart and the place to visit to experience the more traditional side of Japan, Kyoto is the country’s now not-so-secret hidden treasures, and it’s one of my favorite cities on earth. The city’s hotels are equally as special and range from futuristic high rises to quirky boutiques. Choosing one is a tough call but to help, here are my favorite cool and unique hotels in Kyoto, Japan…
Our Top 3 Best Cool and Unusual Hotels
Henn na Hotel
Modernity meets fancy at the 4-star highly rated Henn na Hotel, where neat lines and perfectly considered unfussy rooms set the scene for a charming welcome to the Japanese city. This nine-story architectural gem is conveniently situated less than 100 meters from the bustling Kyoto Hachijoguchi Station, making it the perfect base for exploring this remarkable city.
As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a sight that will leave you in awe: two robot dinosaurs gracefully operating the reception desk. Yes, you read that right! I loved this quirky and fun feature! These charismatic creatures bring a touch of futuristic panache to your check-in experience and have landed Henn na Hotel in the Guinness World Records!
If dinosaurs aren’t your cup of tea, there are also three helpful concierge robots ready to assist you at all times. Each of the 100 rooms, available at modest prices, provides a peaceful sanctuary full of trendsetting amenities. As an added treat, you can indulge in the luxury of an electric in-room foot massager.
The iconic Kyoto Tower stands tall just a stone’s throw away, while numerous museums and heritage sites beckon from both sides of the enchanting Kamo River. Each morning, you can kickstart your day on a high note as you savor a delectable breakfast.
Fun and crazy innovative concept
Unique and Instaworthy dinosaur robots at check-in
In-room electric foot massager and American/Asian breakfast buffet
Great central location
Parking is extra
Limited storage space in guest rooms
BnA Alter Museum
This is an art lover’s paradise that transcends the ordinary. It’s housed in a unique 10-storey vertical art gallery showcasing an array of Japanese contemporary pieces and 31 dazzling guestrooms with artwork stretching from floor to ceiling. A percentage of each room booking is direct income for the artists!
But the 4-star, exceptionally rated BnA Alter Museum is not just about sleeping amidst art; it’s a thriving hub of creativity where modern jet setters and youthful communities come to mingle. It’s a place where I met lots of fellow Japaneseophiles! The super-trendy bar is a magnet for the local art and music scene, hosting weekly events that keep the atmosphere buzzing with excitement.
When you need a moment of respite, retreat to one of the serene café spaces for a drink and a snack, or take advantage of the ultra-fast Wi-Fi. Then, as evening descends, return to the bar for a night filled with artistic inspiration and lively conversations. One of my favorite features was the on-site museum shop, which offers an abundance of curated artworks, limited edition books, and finely selected oddities to add to your collection.
While BnA Alter Museum exudes pure Japanese quirkiness and unparalleled coolness, don’t forget that beyond its walls lies the rich history and tantalizing cuisine waiting to be explored and savored.
Fun and Insta-worthy art-themed rooms
Onsite cafe with extensive menu and cool bar with refreshing drinks
Tasty daily breakfast with gluten-free and vegan options
Great central location and onsite museum shop
No onsite parking
Low lighting in rooms
No pool or spa
Moxy Kyoto Nijō
Discover the epitome of urban cool at the 4-star, exceptionally rated Moxy Hotel Nijō, nestled in the modern western side of this magnificent city. Just a stroll away from the awe-inspiring Nijō Castle, this funky gem is a beacon of youthful energy and colorful design. Here, fun and funk collide with impeccable style. Experience the perfect balance of Japanese influence and contemporary flair as stunning pieces of art and homemade culinary delights pay homage to the local culture.
Each flawlessly designed guestroom is adorned with striking but restful tones, exuding a contemporary aesthetic. Meanwhile, the ‘Plug and Meet’ gathering areas style it up with ergonomic seating, large writing walls, 56-inch televisions, and a video wall. There’s a lively ground floor bar where crafted cocktails flow and good times abound and a basement fitness center where you can stay energized.
But if relaxation is on your agenda, then ascend to the roof and take advantage of the serene yoga space where you can rejuvenate your body and mind. The fun accommodation is perfectly situated for guests to immerse in the surrounding streets, which are teeming with delectable cuisine, captivating sights, and endless opportunities for exploration.
With Nijo metro station a mere 100 meters away, the entirety of this World Heritage city awaits your discovery. Easily one of the best hotels to stay in the city; I loved it!
Creative design and lively and fun vibe
Trendy restaurant offers traditional Asian cuisine
Hip and lively bar serving creative cocktails
Fully equipped fitness center and tasty buffet breakfast
Some guest room windows can’t be opened
No onsite spa or swimming pool
Style intertwines with tradition at the 5-star, exceptionally rated Ace Hotel. Situated in a prime location, surrounded by a vibrant shopping area, the renowned Nishiki Market, the historic Nijō Castle, and the Museum of Kyoto, this place is your gateway to experiencing the very best of this enchanting city.
The quirky accommodation spans the new Shin-Puh-Kan complex and is set within a landmark 1926 building. A further building recently added and fronted by an angular gridded façade elegantly brings the HHotel into the modern day. The centerpiece of the hotel is its lobby, which is a hollow, music-filled space equipped with long wooden tables, comfy sofas, and George Nakashima rugs.
The rooms here are an array of colors, patterns, and textures. Most are set in the newer building and reveal a modern mesh of Japanese craftsmanship layered with the brand’s distinct American DNA. Think vintage records, Tivoli radios, and sun-like paper lanterns on the wall! Meanwhile, the original building houses a further 27 rooms, where large windows and unusually high ceilings flood the spaces with natural light.
Ace is home to three distinctly non-Japanese restaurants. From the buzzy and intimate Mr. Maurice’s Italian to the Piopiko Bar & Lounge and the signature all-day dining spot offering stunning garden views (which was my favorite spot), each eatery provides a rich setting to complement your evening escapades.
Trendy retro music-themed decor and hip vibe
Two trendy onsite modern restaurants and lively bar
Quirky details like vinyl record players and guitars
Modern gym and buffet breakfast
Some noise from corridors
Service at bar is slow at peak times
No pool or spa
Prepare to embark on a whimsical adventure at the 3-star highly rated Hotel Tavinos, where manga-inspired charm meets convenience in the heart of the city! Nestled just 100 meters away from the picturesque Kamo River, this quirky grey block stands proudly at a bustling intersection by the iconic Gojoo Bridge.
The surrounding Higashiyama area is home to the main railway station, the downtown districts of Kawaramachi and Gion, and the legendary Kiyomizu Temple. The essence of Japanese culture is fused beautifully with modern comforts, topped off with trailblazing technology that makes it easy to combine work and leisure.
Inside, I found that what was once apparently a gloomy interior had been cleverly transformed into a cool and wonderful haven of manga-inspired funk. Playful and colorful manga motifs adorn the walls, cushions, tables, and floors, dissolving any hint of darkness and replacing it with an atmosphere of light-hearted fun.
The manga theme continues to the guestrooms, which come in all shapes and sizes. As soon as you enter, animals from Choju Jinbutsu Giga and scenes from sumo wrestling spread out dramatically before your eyes. On-site, you can also take advantage of the lounge and help yourself to free coffee before heading out on your urban adventures. A great choice for a hotel near Kiyomizu Temple!
Striking and fun Manga-themed design
Funky communal lounge and terrace
Free WiFi and friendly multilingual staff
Central location accessible to main city attractions
Pets are not allowed
Limited breakfast options
Housekeeping isn’t daily
Kyoto Granbell Hotel
Step into a world of understated elegance in the 4-star, exceptionally rated Kyoto Granbell Hotel, a hidden gem nestled on the east side of the picturesque Kamo River. Clad in thin batons of stained wood, the HHotel unveils a subtly charming interior that seamlessly blends modernity with authentic Japanese flavors.
In the guestrooms, what could have been oppressive spaces are animated by the ingenious use of natural and artificial light. The result is an atmosphere that soothes the soul and exudes an unmistakable sense of serenity; I felt very zen here! Tatami mats and kimono-patterned art headboards add to the feeling of comfort in each room.
To unwind, you can head to the inviting lounge or savor a delightful meal at the small restaurant, where meals are served with care. Alternatively, you can descend into the basement and discover a delightful indoor garden and bathhouse, a modern oasis inspired by the traditions of the city.
By night, the on-site golden bar of 100-year-old gold-leafed sake racks awaits with expertly crafted beverages and an intimate ambiance. As you venture outside, you’ll find yourself lost in the quaint streets of Higashiyama. Whether you seek shopping, dining, ancient temples, serene shrines, traditional teahouses, lively bars, or bustling izakayas, a few steps in any direction will transport you to a world of discovery.
Dark and chic luxury interiors and zen-like vibe
Charming Japanese garden and Onsen
Attentive staff and trendy bar serving sake
Stylish restaurant with fine dining
Great central location near Gion-Shijo Subway Station
No onsite parking
Some rooms are compact
Breakfast is extra
Prepare for a one-of-a-kind Japanese welcome at 4-star, exceptionally rated The ROOT2 Hotel, located in close proximity to the bustling Hachijoguchi railway station and just a stone’s throw away from the awe-inspiring Toji Temple complex. Don’t let its small size deceive you, as inside, the glitzy, brass-plated extravagance leaves so much to be explored.
I loved that the interiors are adorned with faux marble, plush velvet, neon lights, and an unexpected splash of bling. Elements that may seem mismatched elsewhere come together here in perfect harmony, creating an atmosphere that is simultaneously comforting, fun, and refreshingly unique. There are eight hip and contemporary studio guest rooms, each equipped with stylish sitting areas, kitchenettes, and en-suite bathrooms with freestanding tubs. Inside, you can also enjoy the luxury of a flat-screen TV with international cable channels.
À la carte and American breakfast options are available each morning. For the evening, there’s an izakaya on the first floor where you can satisfy your culinary cravings. Otherwise, there’s a myriad of excellent dining options lining the surrounding streets. And when you’re ready to explore Kyoto’s ancient wonders, the Skyhop tourist bus awaits just a few hundred meters away at Kyoto Tower, making The ROOT2 Hotel the perfect base for your city adventures.
Trendy and unique contemporary decor
Modern studios with kitchens and free-standing bathtubs
Amazing onsite izakaya (informal bar) and buffet breakfast
Central location next to a beautiful historic temple
Shower pressure is weak at times
Breakfast is extra
Parking is extra
The 4-star, exceptionally rated Hotel Imagine is a hidden gem nestled on a quiet back street of the cool city. The unassuming black box exterior holds a world of wonder within its walls, defying expectations with its spacious rooms and ingenious use of natural light.
Every inch of this exquisite haven reflects Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage, from the meticulously crafted wooden interiors to the carefully curated art adorning the walls. Traditional Japanese design meets modern luxury in the guestrooms. Simple yet elegant, each unit is adorned with calming woods and soothing natural tones, promoting a blissful night of respite.
USB charging ports are offered on both sides of the bed and accompany a whole host of in-room mod cons that bring a sense of convenience to your stay. As I entered the stylish lobby lounge, I was greeted by a setting that blends contemporary trends with timeless charm. Here, you can take a seat, brew a cup of coffee, and let the surroundings inspire conversation and connection.
Convenience is at your fingertips, with Hotel Imagine located just a short 5-minute stroll from the bustling Kyoto Hachijoguchi railway station. This allows you to immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of the city and explore the diverse shopping, dining, and cultural experiences Kyoto has to offer.
Unique wood-crafted interiors
Traditional Japanese rooms and fun onsite games
Quirky terrace shared kitchen and a friendly concierge service
Private parking and loaner kimonos and massagers
Small, sleek, and modern, the 4-star exceptionally rated Node hotel is a haven of artistic expression tucked away in the heart of Kyoto’s backstreets. This unassuming name belies the grandeur that awaits, with vibrant artworks bursting from a backdrop of muted greys.
The interior is edgy and minimal, and art is at the core. Beyond the lobby, there’s a narrow, deep gallery-like space with a long central table. Here, the aesthetic is draped in abstract oil paintings and stunning photography. The staff are as fashionable as the décor: youthful, hip, and dressed in avant-garde black.
The hip guestrooms here boldly break free from traditional Japanese aesthetics, embracing a dramatic and contemporary atmosphere where you can sink into plush velvet seating, revel in oversized sumptuous beds, and marvel at statement pieces of furniture. The social heartbeat of the hotel is the first floor, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner – plus daytime coffees and after-dark cocktails – are served.
Dinner is a buzzy affair, with imaginative Western-inspired dishes made with Asian farm-to-table ingredients. After dark, this space transforms into an atmospheric bar. I was especially fond of the aromatic Kinobi Gin (made in Kyoto), which had a splash of zesty citrus ‘Sudachi’ tonic. This upbeat space is also the setting for a regular schedule of exhibitions alongside a whole host of events and opening parties.
Trendy industrial-chic design
Onsite art collection and a superb central location
Stylish allergy-free guest rooms and daily breakfast
Cool and hip restaurant and bar
Children under 7 years are not allowed
No onsite pool or spa
The entire 5-star, exceptionally rated MOGANA hotel is architecturally superb, echoing the finest traditions of Japanese style, which will leave the visitor charmed. The mesmerizing place reveals the epitome of contemporary Japanese elegance. Every nook and cranny here is a symphony of light and space, and the minimalist décor is accentuated by sleek lines, slab colors, and strategically placed plants that breathe the essence of nature into the interiors.
There were three different categories of standard rooms here, plus more premium-style rooms with private balconies. The black rooms are characterized by black granite floors and Zimbabwe stone bathrooms, while the white spaces are made of marble and boast bountiful natural light. The garden rooms harmonize the classic courtyard feel with modern appliances. You can indulge in delicious meals in the comfort of your room!
From the smooth wood or stone floors to the plain walls, every inch of the HHotel oozes cleanliness and refinement. The intimate bar space exudes a zen-like ambiance and is the most idyllic socializing. For those seeking a deeper connection with oneself, the immersive meditation room awaits, occasionally transforming into a gallery for art and fashion exhibits.
At the heart of the hotel is an atrium courtyard adorned with gardenias planted on the walls, intricately designed by local craftsmen. This is a vertical representation of a traditional courtyard and is surrounded by expansive windows creating a variety of shades.
Stunning minimalist design and zen-like vibe
Pretty atrium courtyard and garden
Intimate bar and exceptional American-style breakfast
Contemporary rooms with private onsens
No onsite restaurant
Kids under 7 are not allowed
Parking is extra
Simple, smart, yet enchanting, the 4-star highly rated REF hotel is a mid-range hotel brimming with industrial chic décor, situated a few minutes walk from the main Kyoto Hachijoguchi railway station. It’s a modern interpretation of the city’s unique hospitality culture, mixing art, traditional crafts, and first-rate service.
As I approached the building, I was drawn to its attractive and inviting façade, and inside, the understated décor showcases the perfect balance between functionality and charm, with natural wood accents beautifully contrasting the pale walls. Small single and twin rooms make the best use of interior space and continue the subtle, relaxing theme of natural wood and pale colors.
The HHotel may be simple, but it’s a long way from bland, with even the smallest space feeling loved. You can take advantage of a whole host of in-room appliances for rent, including a Blu-ray player, a facial massager, sewing tools, plus many more. Each morning, you will be treated to a fabulous buffet breakfast of self-fill Japanese wraps, providing the fuel for an action-packed day out. And when the day draws to a close, the delightfully hospitable lounge bar awaits, ready to serve you refreshing drinks in a cocooning atmosphere.
Modern industrial-chic decor with a Japanese twist
Unique details like facial massagers and sewing kits
Trendy lounge bar and restaurant
Tasty breakfast with self-filled Japanese wraps
No onsite gym
No pool or spa
Some rooms are compact
The 5-star, exceptionally rated Good Nature Hotel is a bold statement of sustainability wrapped in an exquisite, thoughtful design. From its striking facade to its ingeniously planned interior, every aspect of the Good Nature Hotel is a testament to its commitment to a greener future.
Step inside, and you’ll discover a world where nature takes center stage not just for show but as a way of life. Each room, suite, and shared space is filled with renewable products crafted to the highest quality. The central atrium is enveloped within a living wall to remove carbon dioxide, and energy is meticulously managed, all without detriment to a comfortable, engaging, and relaxing stay.
And when it comes to dining, the Good Nature Hotel leaves no appetite unsatisfied. With nine on-site eating establishments, ranging from quick snacks to Michelin-starred gourmet experiences, the culinary options are as diverse as they are delectable. A popular choice is the ‘Kitchen’ eatery, which offers take-out menus using agricultural products and fresh foods.
Meanwhile, Erutan is rooted in its first-class offerings, owing to the supervision of Yoji Tokuyoshi, the first Japanese chef to receive a Michelin star in Milan, Italy. The accommodation also offers guests the chance to embark on incredible excursions around the city. I thought this place was just beautiful, and I especially loved the views!
Great city center location near Gion Shijo Station
Insta-worthy design including a stunning central atrium
Onsite market and deli trendy bar and innovative technology
Two trendy onsite restaurants and exceptional buffet breakfast
Some traffic noise
Not for the budget-friendly crowd
No onsite pool or spa
Escape the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary at the 3-star, exceptionally-rated Hotel Anteroom. This is not just a place to stay; it’s a vibrant hub of creativity and inspiration. The property is situated slightly off the beaten tourist path, but nothing that a 10-minute walk won’t fix. It’s a former student dormitory somewhat stark from the outside, but once inside, I was greeted by a harmonious blend of creativity and comfort.
Beautiful feature walls, carefully curated objets d’art, and a serene courtyard garden come together to create a space that sparkles with artistic brilliance. The hotel boasts its very own art gallery that constantly evolves, showcasing captivating works that will ignite your imagination. With a total of 128 guestrooms and 50 apartments spanning a variety of categories, there is an idyllic space for every profile of the traveler.
Even the standard rooms are neat and cozy and feature stylish décor. Many come with garden views, and some provide a private terrace, adding an extra touch of tranquillity. If you’re here for a longer stay, the apartments are catered to your specific needs to ensure a cozy home away from home. In these more residential-style abodes, you can make use of an intimate sitting area and a fully stocked kitchen.
A delectable breakfast awaits in the on-site restaurant. When evening falls, you can choose from a selection of over 150 whiskies in the bar, which proudly displays artworks by both established and emerging local artists.
Quirky and creative uniquely themed rooms
Funky bar with over 150 types of whiskies
Courtyard garden and tasty complimentary breakfast
Onsite library and art gallery
Children are not allowed
No onsite restaurant
No pool or spa
Candeo Hotels Karasuma Rokkaku
At the 4-star, exceptionally rated Candeo Hotel, the ancient and the modern converge in a polished fusion that will transport you to a world of timeless elegance. It is blissfully nestled away from the hustle and bustle of Karasuma Street on a quaint little side street.
A traditional wooden townhouse stands proudly at the front, its exquisite beauty emanating through sliding screens, tatami mats, and meticulously renovated dark wooden beams. Step inside this chic haven, and you’ll feel the essence of Kyoto’s rich heritage. The unique HHotel boasts its lounge bar, where you can unwind while overlooking the serene back garden and county (my favorite part of the hotel!)
For moments of quiet reflection, a small library beckons, and there’s also a breakfast room serving special breakfasts each morning. The rooms here maintain the tranquil ambiance of the old house while subtly incorporating modern furnishings.
For an elevated experience, the upgraded rooms feature open-air soaking tubs, providing a luxurious escape. And if you choose a suite, you’ll be treated to a comfortable sitting area, allowing you to relax in style. Amenities include a rooftop spa with saunas where you can relish a pleasant breeze from the outside and traditional indoor and outdoor bathhouses for both men and women.
Stunning design with a mix of traditional and modern
Rooftop spa/onsen with sauna and communal baths
Tasty traditional Japanese breakfast and charming garden
Modern guest rooms with private onsens and luxury bedding
No coffee or tea in guest rooms
Limited breakfast options
No onsite parking
Here, is a superbrandiose architectural masterpiece that commands attention and offers a luxurious experience like no other. Nestled right next to the main Kyoto Hachijoguchi railway station, the 5-star exceptionally rated The Thousand stands as a testament to modernism.
From the moment I laid lay eyes on its awe-inspiring exterior and soaked up the spectacular vistas, I understood why it’s considered an Instagrammer’s dream! This place is just jaw-dropping! Inside, the meticulously styled aesthetic exudes a sense of grandeur, nodding to a Western interpretation of Japanese décor with a touch of cosmopolitan flair.
The rooms and suites are both spacious and comfortable and ooze elegance through a muted corporate-resort grey bouclé, wipeable faux veneers, and undisturbed views of the tranquil inner garden. They fuse the beauty of nature with the essence of contemporary living.
The gorgeous accommodation also offers a memorable culinary experience, with two restaurants to choose from. Whether you’re craving traditional Japanese flavors or Italian delights, your taste buds will be delighted. And for a quick pick-me-up, a charming café awaits, ready to serve you a delightful beverage or a delectable snack. To re-energize, you can head to the on-site fitness center or pamper the senses in the spa, which comes with a hot bath, a bedrock bath, and a dry sauna.
Truly stunning and Insta-worthy design and luxury vibe
City centre location close to attractions
Trendy bar and restaurants with varied culinary options
Rejuvenating spa and sauna treatments
Fully equipped fitness centre and spacious guest rooms
Not for the budget-friendly crowd
No onsite parking
Nestled in the heart of the Nakagyo ward, the sleek and minimalist 4-star, exceptionally rated Hotel Malda seamlessly blends tranquillity, sustainability, and impeccable design. It’s a vegetarian café turned boutique hotel that will capture your heart from the moment you step inside.
Drawing inspiration from the visionary German-born designer Jurgen Lehl, the hotel boasts three stunning rooms, each identical in size yet uniquely adorned in vibrant hues of red, blue, or grey. Every inch of the space exudes tasteful simplicity, with a strong emphasis on organic materials, natural textiles, and sustainable practices. I thought it was cute and interesting!
As you settle into your spacious, bright, and thoughtfully designed room, you’ll immediately feel a deep connection to the building’s architectural charm. Diaphanous white curtains float across a wall of windows, and the home-like ambiance is complete with a full dining table, coffee table, tea ceramics, two small double beds, and a daybed.
While the HHotel’s location provides a peaceful retreat, the bustling shops and restaurants of Karasuma Street beckon just a short walk away. For culture enthusiasts, the Museum of Kyoto is conveniently located around the corner, allowing you to immerse yourself in the city’s rich heritage. Malda’s signature breakfasts and café-style lunches are the stuff of legends in Kyoto’s creative circles. The culinary offerings embody the HHotel’s sustainability ethos while throwing in a cornucopia of seasonal Japanese treats.
Great city center location close to popular attractions
Trendy industrial-chic design and cool vibe
Tasty onsite Asian breakfast with vegan and vegetarian options
Hip restaurant and trendy spacious rooms
No onsite spa
Some noise from the street
Dimly lit rooms and communal spaces
With its unbeatable location steps away from the majestic Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, the 3-star, highly-rated Rakuro Hotel is an unpretentious yet utterly charming hotel that offers an authentic experience like no other. A 2-minute walk will land you at Marutamachi subway station, while the surrounding vicinity boasts a vibrant array of shops and eateries.
The innocuous exterior conceals a chic east-west fusion of minimalist design, with tatami mat floors, cozy futons, and comfortable sitting areas making up the cocooning rooms and suites. To treat the tastebuds, there’s a café and restaurant that focuses on Japanese ingredients, based on the Hotel’s concept of ‘local first.’
Here, you can also help yourself with specialty coffee blended by the local brand Blenden.’ Kyoto’. Their roasted matcha latte and hojicha latte are fan favorites! On top of all of this, there’s a comfortable lounge area where iconic plants hung at the end of a round window add a dash of nature to the space, plus a communal on-site kitchen. For the evening, a rooftop terrace beckons with awe-inspiring views across the cityscape and the beautiful greenery of the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
The HHotel’s simplicity is expertly executed, providing exceptional value for money while placing the city’s most captivating sights within arm’s reach, and I left being quite a fan!
Cool and modern Japanese style boutique design
Restaurant Asian cuisine made with local ingredients
Rooftop terrace with great city views
Central location and trendy shared lounge
Some rooms have small windows
Small food portions
No spa or pool
The 3-star highly rated Hotel She is beautifully set on the peaceful outskirts of central Kyoto, just a short 15-minute journey from the bustling main station. A stand-out feature here is the bike hire, allowing you easy access to the city center while soaking up the quaint ambiance of a suburban Japanese town.
This charming boutique boasts 33 double or twin rooms, ply furnished with a tasteful palette of pale blue and white. The minimalist design creates an atmosphere of serenity and allows you to unwind truly. In each room, smooth woodwork and velvet rugs combine to form a truly homely aesthetic.
As an unexpected delight, each room is equipped with a record player, inviting me to serenade myself while pampering the senses in the unit bath. When it’s time to gather with friends or family and share a feast, you can venture to the shared in-house kitchen and cook using fresh produce from the nearby supermarket while embracing the communal atmosphere.
On the ground floor, you’ll find an irresistible ice cream parlor selling Big Baby Ice Cream. At the same time, next door, there’s an izakaya restaurant, providing an authentic culinary experience for those seeking local flavors. There’s also a trendy kiosk on-site offering the Hotel’s own branded products, including t-shirts and jumpers.
Cool and eclectic boutique design
Shared communal kitchen and bike rentals
Cute and fun ice cream parlor
Daily breakfast and Izakaya (bar) serving drinks
Low lighting in corridors
No onsite parking
Lower priced rooms are compact
Equidistant between the Nijō Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace is the 3-star exceptionally rated Material hotel, a small collection of charming rooms and suites above a little cocktail bar on the main Marutamachi street. The HHotel redefines the notion of a budget-friendly retreat, effortlessly blending authenticity, minimalism, and meticulous attention to detail.
Industrial chic décor, exposed brickwork, and locally crafted boutique furnishings set the tone for a pleasant welcome to the city. Japanese influences gracefully intertwine with contemporary design here, and each unit exudes a chic simplicity through clean lines, pale wood accents, and an abundance of natural light.
Vibrant pops of color, floral tapestries, and quirky wall art complement the experience, and the sporadic placement of spotlights adds ambiance. Beyond the aesthetic allure, the HHotel’s unparalleled location elevates the experience to new heights. Guests can embrace the rich tapestry of Kyoto’s heritage, savor the tantalizing flavors of local cuisine, and explore the vibrant shopping scene—all within mere steps from Material Hotel.
The HHotel’s rooftop is one of Kyoto’s most spacious and becomes a haven of entertainment at the weekend. From up here, you can revel in breathtaking views across the sweeping cityscape and sample delicious, crafted cocktails accompanied by chilled-out Japanese music. Just wonderful!
Funky industrial-chic design with a traditional Japanese twist
Spacious rooftop terrace with great views
Fun cocktail bar and trendy restaurant
Trendy rooms some with balconies
No breakfast option
Some noise from the busy street
Sakura Terrace The Atelier
For a quality, affordable stay in this Japanese city, you can’t do much better than the 3-star highly rated Sakura Terrace The Atelier hotel. Famed as the city’s ultimate budget-friendly retreat, the hotel is peacefully tucked away from the vibrant bustle of Karasuma Street and offers a tranquil setting.
Every detail has been meticulously thought out, surpassing expectations through neatness, thoughtfulness, and undeniable charm. I thought it was gorgeous! From the moment you step into the inviting lobby, adorned with motifs of denim, warm paneling, and plush seating, you’ll feel a sense of comfort and relaxation envelop you.
The guest rooms, though compact, showcase thoughtful design with their natural wood finishes and ingenious storage solutions that optimize every inch of space. The entrance of the hotel opens immediately to the lounge. Here, you can lose yourself in one of the many books and magazines or gather with other guests to share stories of your adventures.
Adjacent to the lounge, a delightful café awaits, serving delectable breakfast options and tempting snacks. Come evening, it transforms into a charming restaurant where you can savor mouth-watering dishes. Plus, you can enjoy the complimentary tea and coffee available at any time, adding an extra touch of warmth to your stay.
Funky and trendy design and friendly staff
Hip onsite cafe-restaurant and quirky rental options
Great central location close to Kujo train station
Communal baths complimentary tea and free WiFi
Limited storage space in guest rooms
Many rooms are compact
Children under 13 years are not allowed
Where do tourists usually stay in the city?
Kyoto has some really interesting areas to stay in, but one of the most popular places to visit is downtown, which is filled with great shops, busy restaurants, and some much-loved attractions.
Other popular areas include the historic Gion District, which is known as the” “Geisha District,” filled with teahouses and quaint narrow streets, and the Higashiyama District, which is home to historic temples and shrines.
Where are the coolest areas to stay in Kyoto?
Kyoto is a very cool, quirky, and intriguing city all around! Some of the trendiest areas include Pontocho, which is known for its lively nightlife and bars, as well as its streets lined with traditional wooden machiya buildings.
Others include the shopping and entertainment district of Kawaramachi and the foodie paradise, the Nishiki Market Area.
How much do hotels cost in Kyoto?
Japan is known to be a pretty expensive country, and Kyoto is comparatively costly in comparison to other cities in Japan. Some of the lower-starred hotels and those offering the best deals start at $40 a night, but these places tend to be very basic accommodations.
How to get there?
Most visitors fly into Kansai International Airport (KIX) and then get a taxi ride, train, or bus ride to the center.
The most fun way if you’re coming from other Japanese cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, Hi, Hiroshima, or Nagoya is to get the bullet train (Shinkansen). This drastically cuts the traveling time down, too!
All Hotels In Kyoto Compared
In the table below, we have compared the top 20 cool and unique hotels in Kyoto. You can sort the table based on different factors like location, distance from attractions, price per night, and restaurants nearby:
Hotel Name Location Price Range (per night) Fitness Facilities Distance to Attractions (km) Nearby Restaurants
Henn na Hotel Hachijoguchi 601-8004 Kyoto $62-$174 No 1.2 3
BnA Alter Museum 600-8024 Kyoto $77-$346 No 1.1 3
Moxy Kyoto Nijō 6408412 Kyoto $88-$144 Yes 1.5 3
Ace Hotel 604-8185 Kyoto $301-$435 Yes 1.2 3
Hotel Tavinos 600-8040 Kyoto $54-$280 No 1.3 3
Kyoto Granbell Hotel 605-0802 Kyoto $184-$217 No 1.3 3
ROOT2 601-8428 Kyoto $206-$446 No 2.3 3
Hotel Imagine 601-8017 Kyoto $239-$322 No 1.4 3
node hotel 604-8225 Kyoto $175-$618 No 1.2 3
MOGANA 604-8276 Kyoto $275-$550 No 1.7 3
REF Hachijoguchi 601-8001 Kyoto $98-$174 No 1.6 3
Good Nature 600-8022 Kyoto $252-$1523 No 1.2 3
Hotel Anteroom 601-8044 Kyoto $67-$183 No 2 3
Candeo Hotels Karasuma Rokkaku 604-8164 Kyoto $131-$259 No 1.3 3
The Thousand 600-8216 Kyoto $237-$938 No 1.2 3
Hotel Malda 604-8106 Kyoto $437-$511 No 1.5 3
Rakuro 604-0867 Kyoto $95-$253 No 2.1 3
601-8041 Kyoto 601-8041 Kyoto $44-$78 No 1.9 3
Material 604-0087 Kyoto $79-$453 No 1 3
Sakura Terrace The Atelier 601-8017 Kyoto $43 No 1.6 3
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Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
I’ve been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, express.co.uk, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and metro.co.uk. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.