Finding the perfect accommodation can make or break your trip. And in a city as beautiful and filled with history as Kyoto, an Airbnb can enhance your experience ten-fold. There are tons of traditional buildings here that now act as holiday accommodation. And what better way to dive into the Japanese culture than staying in one of these beautiful buildings. Here are the best Kyoto Airbnb rentals.
Looking for Airbnbs in other cities in Japan? Check out my Tokyo Airbnbs guide.
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In a Rush? The Best Airbnbs in Kyoto
If you don’t have time to read the entire post, here are the best Airbnbs in Kyoto. Hand-picked in the best locations in the city.
|Type of Travel||Airbnb||Book|
|Best Airbnb For Couples||Modern Machiya Near Kyoto Station: Stylish home in Higashiyama, close to bars, restaurants, and train station. Comes with two bikes to use during your stay.||Check Availability|
|Best Airbnb For Groups||Guesthouse-Hana: Beautifully renovated villa with a mix of modern and traditional Japanese interior design. Three double beds and two futons in stylish tatami rooms.||Check Availability|
|Unique Tokyo Airbnb||Machiya Inside a Temple: Traditional townhouse located inside the Chomyo temple. Near Gion and a 5-minute walk to the nearest station.||Check Availability|
Is Airbnb Legal in Kyoto?
Yes, renting an Airbnb in Kyoto is completely legal. If you have come across any articles that state otherwise, that may be due to new legislation that were introduced in Japan in 2018. While these new laws don’t ban Airbnbs, the rules did become more strict. For us travellers, this only means that it’s now even safer to stay in Japanese Airbnbs – but it has caused some confusion online.
Due to the new rules, and many hosts not complying with them, the company removed many listings. This started the online debate. Airbnb owners have to get a licence number, similar to hotels, to show that their accommodation is registered correctly. This licence number has to be listed on the Airbnb listing. You also have to give a copy of your passport to your host if you’re not Japanese.
How We Picked The Best Kyoto Airbnbs
Finding the perfect places to stay in any travel location is one of my all-time favourite things to do (call me crazy). After having spent my fair share of hours looking for THE ideal spot to make our holiday even better, I have learned a thing or two. To make sure I only include the absolute best accommodation on this list, here are a few things I’ve kept in mind:
- English speaking host: Unless you’re fluent in Japanese, it’s better to look at Airbnbs with hosts who (also) speak English. As not all Japanese people speak English, it can lead to issues with your booking or if you have any questions during your stay.
- Location: Picking a good location is crucial and it can make or break your stay. You have to make sure you stay in a place that’s not too far out of the city or far away from any train/metro stations. But staying somewhere too close to train stations can
- Entire place: Especially in larger cities, it’s important to keep an eye on what exactly it is you’re renting. It happens sometimes that a larger house is rented out per room, which means you’ll be sharing a bathroom. While that’s a personal choice, I prefer to look for places where you rent the entire house or apartment for more privacy and safety.
- Superhost or not: To avoid cancellations and ensure you get fast responses, picking a Superhost is always a good idea. While not all the Airbnbs below are with a Superhost, I’ve made sure to go through the reviews and check for cancellation by the host.
- Beds or futons: Many Airbnbs in Japan have traditional floor mattresses, also known as futons. As it’s sometimes unclear whether you get an actual bed or a futon, it’s important to keep an eye on it if you’re not comfortable sleeping on a floor mattress. I’ve made sure to list whether there is an actual bed or a futon in the rentals below. Of course, sleeping on a futon does add a little bit of that Japan-experience to your trip.
Why Stay in an Airbnb in Kyoto
Choosing between a hotel or an Airbnb can be tricky. It obviously depends on your travel style and your personal preferences, but especially in a city like Kyoto, an Airbnb may be a perfect choice.
First of all, staying in an Airbnb in Kyoto gives you the ultimate cultural experience. Rather than looking for a ryokan, there are tons of traditional houses in Kyoto that turned into Airbnbs. Many of these houses are over a hundred years old but completely renovated to fit modern needs. So, you’ll get the best of both worlds: the traditional vibes with modern-day comforts.
As with most other Airbnb rentals, you often have access to extra amenities like a kitchen and washing machine. Especially when travelling to Japan for a while, it’s super handy to have a washing machine nearby – and not having to rely on hotel breakfast or having to leave the house for a snack is a big plus when travelling anywhere.
Then there is the, not so unimportant, budget reason. If you’re travelling with a friend or your partner, hotels and Airbnbs will probably be in the same price class. But if you have a bigger group to house, Airbnbs are almost always cheaper. Price-wise, it’s better to rent an entire house for six guests compared to renting three hotel rooms.
Ready to see what Kyoto’s got to offer? Here are my hand-picked Kyoto Airbnbs:
Best Kyoto Airbnb Rentals
Modern Machiya Near Kyoto Station
Beds: One double bed, and one futon
Type: Entire house
Price: From ¥12,000/night (£82/night)
Minimum nights: 1 night
Other: Comes with two bikes to use during your stay
The perfect stylish Airbnb for couples. A beautiful house full of character, a perfect modern accommodation with hints of ancient Kyoto. It’s within walking distance from many bars, restaurants, a local train station, and 10 minutes from Central Station in Kyoto. The house includes everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a washing machine and two bikes that you can use during your stay in the city.
Guests say: “Koji’s modern Machiya was perfect for staying in Kyoto and was walking distance to all the best bars and restaurants. It’s also very well located with Shichijo station a 1-minute walk away, and Kyoto (main) station a 10 minute walk away, which allows for easy access to all the tourist sites. The Machiya itself is beautifully presented and is the perfect mix of traditional and modern styles. Koji was very helpful whenever we needed him and I would highly recommend staying here.” – Suzanne
Machiya Inside a Temple
Beds: Two thick futons (with the possibility to add two more)
Type: Entire house
Price: ¥27,555/night (£189/night)
Minimum nights: One night
Location: Northern Higashiyama / Gion
Other: Outdoor traditional bathtub, free pocket wifi, and washing machine
This 100-year-old townhouse in a quiet neighbourhood in Kyoto may be one of the most unique Airbnbs on this list. It is located inside the Chomyo temple. Fitted with tatami mats, paper doors, and a garden-view bathroom, this stylish house merges the traditional with the modern. Even though it’s in a quiet neighbourhood, Gion and the Heian shrine along with tons of supermarkets and restaurants are within walking distance.
Guests say: “This Airbnb is probably the best I’ve stayed in. The location near a temple was great and felt more authentic and local than staying in a hotel. The Airbnb was beautiful, spacious, and clean. The garden in the backyard was very relaxing. The beds were comfortable and the heater really helped during our stay in the winter. We really appreciated all the amenities provided – snacks, tea, slippers, toiletries, hairdryer, and bath salts for the outdoor bath.” – Czarina
Guests: Up to 8
Beds: Three double beds, two futons
Type: Entire villa
Price: From ¥36,000/night (£240/night)
Minimum nights: One night
Other: A Japanese garden, tatami rooms, and open-air bath
Over 100 years old, but fully renovated and remodelled for a unique mix between traditional and luxury. The villa is located in Higashiyama, only 10 minutes on foot to Kyoto Station. The bath is semi-outdoors, allowing you to enjoy the Japanese garden while relaxing. This villa is by far one of the most beautiful Airbnbs in Kyoto – a real gem for groups looking to stay in a unique spot.
Guests say: “This is the best Airbnbs I have stayed in so far. I hesitated for a long time when I booked the listing. All the homestays in Kyoto have their own uniqueness. Finally, I came across this one because of the special interior design and decoration, especially on the first floor. The dining table is really amazing, it turned out to be a flowing water design. The check-in staff were also very kind. The room description and the detailed information on the black book provided in the room were very helpful. It is close to Kyoto Station, which is very convenient. Next time I come to Kyoto, I will definitely choose this place again.” – Chia-Ying
Guests: Up to 5
Beds: Five thick futons
Type: Entire house
Price: From ¥15,000/night (£102/night)
Minimum nights: One night
Location: Nakagyo ward (Central Kyoto)
Other: Comes with a handmade bathtub and Japanese courtyard.
If you’re looking for a beautifully designed Japanese house, TabitabiStay may be perfect for you. The machiya (traditional wooden Japanese townhouse) includes a hand-build bathtub overlooking the garden. The tatami rooms bring even more character to the house. Choosing this Airbnb will give you a glimpse into the Kyoto lifestyle, as it’s located in a quiet neighbourhood, but within walking distance of the nearest JR station. A real hidden gem!
Guests say: “A beautiful space – very calming and relaxing. We loved the bath overlooking the small garden outside. The design of the home was so great too! Importantly, the location is very convenient. My husband and I mostly used public transportation around there, as the home is very close (walking distance) to the station. We also were walking distance from some restaurants and Nijo castle. “ – E
Artist’s Zen & Art House
Beds: Two small double beds and two futons
Type: Entire house
Price: From ¥18,000/night (£122/night)
Minimum nights: Two nights
Location: Northern Higashiyama
Other: Traditional Hinoki bath, zen garden, and surrounded by nature in a quiet area
While many of the Airbnbs listed in this article are very beautiful, the artist’s zen and art house sits on another level. With a large wooden Hinoki bath, tatami rooms looking out over a zen garden, and paper doors, this house gives you the ultimate luxury, traditional Kyoto experience. As the house is located in a quiet residential area, you’ll wake up to the sounds of birds singing.
This stunning house is a little outside of the city, but there is a bus station nearby that can take you to any other area of the city. It takes about 20 minutes to get downtown – but since this is such a beautiful place, I simply had to include it into this list.
Guests say: “We had an amazing time in Kyoto and the house was just the most beautiful and peaceful place to stay, full of quirky details and character. We loved everything about it especially the traditional Hinoki bath, the chirping birds and the perfect Zen garden. Thank you so much for being the perfect host Jinn. I hope we can come back to visit Kyoto one day soon and if we do, we’ll definitely be back.” – Nick