Central Kyoto encompasses the urban heart of Japan's former imperial capital. From the carefully tended gardens and stately buildings of the Imperial Palace in the north to the massive, ultra-modern showpiece structure of Kyoto Station in the south, this district has a bit of everything that makes Kyoto what it is today: a marbled mix of old and new, of immeasurably ancient traditions and fast-paced modernity.
Ninomaru Palace, Nijō Castle
Kyoto's extensive rail, subway, and bus networks can all be accessed through the city's main transportation hub: the gargantuan glass-and-steel structure of Kyoto Station (京都駅, Kyōto-eki).
Kyoto Station is a major stop on the Tōkaidō Shinkansen Line. From the station, travellers arriving by shinkansen (or by other railway lines) can easily access the city's municipal subway and bus systems.
Central Kyoto is served by two intersecting subway lines.  The north-south Karasuma Line (which stops at Kyoto Station) and the west-east Tōzai Line link up at Karasuma-Oike Station near the city center.
Several important bus routes (covering not only Central Kyoto but other parts of the city as well) start and end at the Kyōto-eki-mae terminal - which, as the name indicates, is right in front of Kyoto Station. Take the station's Karasuma/North exit and you'll see the bus terminal, which is divided into four boarding platforms (from A to D) and has signs in English identifying key stops on each route. For detailed route information, pick up a copy of the helpful "Bus Navi" leaflet from the information center near the terminal.
Ninomaru Garden, Nijō Castle
- Nijō Castle (二条城, Nijōjō), 541 Nijojocho (Nearest bus stop: Nijojo-mae. Nearest subway station: Nijojo-mae), ☎ 075-841-0096, . 8:45AM-5PM (Oct-Jun), 8AM-6PM (Jul-Aug),8AM-5PM (Sep), with last admission 1 hr before closing (closed Tue in Jan, Jul, Aug, Dec, or if a holiday, the next day, & Dec 26-28). While it may not look like a castle as people picture it, Nijo Castle certainly is one of the highlights of Kyoto, with fine gardens and splendid centuries-old structures. The castle was originally built by the Tokugawa shoguns to serve as the shogun's residence in Kyoto. The series of ornately-decorated reception rooms within the Ninomaru Palace complex is particularly impressive, and known for its "nightingale floors" - wooden flooring which makes bird-like squeaking sounds when stepped on so as to give advance warning when someone was approaching. From the empty base of the donjon that once overlooked the innermost section of the fortress (known as the Honmaru), you can get good views over parts of the castle compound and the wider city beyond. edit
- Nishiki Market (錦市場), ☎ 075-211-3882, . Varies by store. Called the "Kitchen of Kyoto", Nishiki Market is a beehive of activity from mid-morning and the place where the people of Kyoto for centuries have gone to buy their ingredients for food. It is 5 blocks long with over a hundred different stores. Today there are mobs of tourists going through and looking at all the things on sale - tea, seafood, eating utensils, condiments, and more. There is also a good discount shop to get things you didn't know you needed. Many shops hand out free samples of their products, so give some a try. Stores start to close from late afternoon, and if you want to see anything, getting there before 6 PM is recommended. edit
- Shinsenen Garden (神泉苑), 167 Monzen-cho, Nakagyo-ku (Next to Nijo Castle, south side), ☎ 075-821-1466, . 8AM-8PM. Although cherry blossom-viewing and festivals can be seen all over Japan today, Shinsenen Garden is where the very first organized cherry blossom viewing festival took place. With nice pond, vermilion bridge, koi fish, and ducks. Free. edit
- Kyoto Station (京都駅), . You might think a busy rail station would be the last place you'd want to see, but the station was completely redone in 1997 and shows some fantastic architecture, as well as light shows inside in the evening and water shows in front of the station on the north side. You can also go up to the Skyway at the top (open 10AM-10PM) where you can peer down about 45 meters to the ground floor, as well as go up to the rooftop observation deck. There are also several shopping arcades underground and it is easy to get lost, in a good way. The tourist info office is also there on the 2nd floor (closes 7PM). Free. edit
- Chohoji (頂法寺), 248 Donomaecho, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-221-2686, . 6AM–5PM. This is a small yet beautiful temple in the middle of the city and missed by just about everyone. Its main attraction is its main hall, the Rokkakudo, a hexagonal shaped structure built in 1877 plus beautiful artwork, fountain, and swans swimming in a small pond. Free. edit
- Nijo Jinya, (Just south of Nijo Castle), ☎ 075-841-0972, . This former (and still inhabited) samurai house offers a look into a feudal lord's living quarters. The guided tour focuses on the measures taken to avoid and deal with the risk of fire and attack, with several trap doors and escape routes, along with some innovative anti-conflagration architecture. However, it's not a cheap tour and no photos are allowed. You also may be turned away if you don't speak Japanese. Tour ¥1000. edit
- The Museum of Kyoto, (Located on Takakura-dori. Nearest bus stop: Shijo Karasuma. Nearest subway station: Karasuma Oike), . Open daily 10AM-8:30PM. The museum features many ancient artifacts. It may be particularly worthwhile if you have an interest in ancient pottery. ¥500. edit
- Kyoto International Manga Museum (京都国際マンガミュージアム Kyōto Kokusai Manga Myūjiamu), 452 Kinbukicho, Nakagyo-ku (1-min walk north from the Karasuma Oike subway stn), ☎ 075-254-7414, . 10:30AM-5:30PM (last entry 5PM); Closed Tue-Wed - or following day if a holiday - and during the New Year holidays (as well as during regular maintenance periods). Housed in an old elementary school building, the museum holds over 300,000 manga-related items ranging from rare Meiji-era publications to the works of contemporary artists. One of its main attractions is the so-called "Wall of Manga": a vast collection of some 50,000 volumes arranged on shelves running along the building's corridors. Much of the collection is in Japanese, but there is a sizeable selection of manga translated into various foreign languages (including English) on the ground floor. Visitors can read anything from the "Wall of Manga" (although the books can't be checked out for offsite reading), which explains the large numbers of people. The museum also hosts special temporary exhibitions and other manga-related events. ¥900 adults, ¥400 high-school students, ¥200 elementary school students; special exhibits cost extra. edit
- Nishi Honganji (西本願寺), Hanayacho-sagaru, Horikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, (15 min walk NW from Kyoto Stn), ☎ 075-371-5181 (fax: 075-351-1372), . 5:30AM-5:30PM (Mar-Apr, Sep-Oct), 5:30AM-6PM (May-Aug), 5:30AM-5PM (Nov-Feb). One of Kyoto's World Heritage Sites, the current building dates back to the 1600s. It is the head temple of the Honganji sect of the Buddhist Jodo sect. Free. edit
- Higashi Honganji (東本願寺), (5 min walk north from Kyoto Stn), ☎ 075-371-9210, . 5:50AM-5:30PM (Mar-Oct), 6:20AM-4:30PM (Nov-Feb). The majestic main hall of Higashi Honganji, said to be the largest wooden structure in the world, can accommodate up to 5,000 people and is the headquarters of the Shinju Sect of Buddhism. The "hair rope" is perhaps the most interesting site in the temple, as it is just that; an extremely thick rope made mostly from human hair. Free. edit
- Shoseien Garden (渉成園), (Two blocks east of Higashi Honganji), ☎ 075-371-9210, . 9AM-5PM (Mar-Oct), 9AM-4PM (Nov-Feb) last entry 30 min before closing. Also known as Kikokutei, Shoseien was commissioned by Prince Minamoto no Toru. He created the Ingetsu Pond was designed to look like the Shiogama coast in Miyagi Prefecture. During the Tokugawa Period the garden was given to Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, restoring the old sections and adding on to the garden. ¥500. edit
Cherry blossoms at Tō-ji Temple
- Tōji Temple, . 9AM-5:30PM. Although its famed for its pagoda, the tallest in Japan, the other structures within the complex are equally impressive with surprisingly colorful interiors and a variety of precious Buddhist sculptures on display. The rest of the temple grounds are made up of a relaxing garden, with many cherry blossoms in the spring. It is also famous for its flea markets, held on the 21st of every month. ¥500 (special exhibitions have separate fees). edit
- Kyoto Tower (京都タワー), (Just north of Kyoto Stn), . 9AM-9:20PM. An old school sightseeing tower that provides a 100 meter high view of Kyoto's urban sprawl. Gives nice views over the city when clear, but it's small upper deck was made for way fewer people decades ago. ¥800. edit
- Bukkoji Temple, Shinkai-cho Shimogyo-ku, ☎ 075-341-3321, . A temple of Shin Buddhism established by Shinran. edit
- Mibudera Temple, ☎ 075-841-3381, . 8 AM to 5:30 PM. This temple is most famous for its Setsubun celebration, particularly for the Mibu Kyogen performances on February second and third. During normal times, the temple and the garden/mound are not particularly exciting. The treasures housed are interesting and cheap to see. It is free to walk around the temple grounds, but the garden and treasures each cost ¥100 to see. edit
- Kyoto Railway Museum (京都鉄道博物館), Kankijicho, Shimogyo-ku (10-min walk from Tanbaguchi, 20-min walk from Kyoto Stn), ☎ 075-323-7334, . 10AM-5PM, Closed Wed. Shows 53 old train engines, cars and retired shinkansen from Japan's early development, with activities aimed at children. Outside the museum is a 20-track roundhouse and turntable from 1914 that exhibits preserved locomotives, and it's an Important Cultural Property of the Japanese government. A steam train locomotive operates 3 times a day and makes a 1 km round trip on the track in about 10 minutes. You can also see the former Nijo Stn building moved there for preservation. ¥1200 for entrance, additional ¥300 for steam train ride.. (34.98899,135.7434) edit
- GEAR (GEAR Kyoto), 56 Benkeiishicho, Nakagyo-ku, 1928 build. 3F (On Sanjo St between Teramachi and Gokoumachi), ☎ 075-254-6520, . 10AM~7PM. GEAR is a non-verbal theater show that performs in Kyoto and incorporates elements of technology, skilled performance art. It is the first long-run show with original content in Japan. GEAR is contemporary non-verbal entertainment that combines a superb cast and high technology to tell a story for all humankind about the power of touch. Set in a broken toy factory in the future, robot workers encounter a doll that comes to life and takes them on a journey to discover their humanity. ¥3700. (35.0091850,,135.7696073) edit
The Imperial Park is a large, peaceful area in the center of Kyoto, created around the Imperial Palace. The Sento Palace is only open to visitors on free guided tours, and bookings must be made at the Imperial Household Agency, online or in their office to the west of the palace complex. If you're in Kyoto for an extended amount of time, the park can make for a very pleasant afternoon, and it's large enough to let you forget the noise of the city outside the walls. It's home to 50,000 trees, including cherry, plum and peach tree orchards (mostly in the northern section). Belongings will be searched by guards before entering palace grounds.
Shishinden, Kyoto Imperial Palace
- Kyoto Imperial Palace (京都御所 Kyōto-Gosho), (A 5-10 minute walk south from the Imadegawa subway station, Karasuma subway line), . Tours are no longer required but available, Closed Mon. The Palace is the former home of the Imperial Family until 1868, and a reconstruction (dating from 1855). Though the Emperor today spends almost no time there, and you cannot actually enter the palace buildings, only peeking at them from the outside, it nevertheless provides a glimpse into the lives of the Imperial Court. Advance bookings can be made online through the Imperial Household Agency's official website . Free. edit
- Sentō Imperial Palace (仙洞御所 Sentō-Gosho), (Entrance on the north side), . Closed Mon. Located within the grounds of Kyoto's Imperial Park, the Sento Imperial Palace was built in 1630 and used as a retirement palace for past emperors. Seeing the palace and its 2 beautiful pond gardens is only done by a strict 60-minute led by the nose tour, conducted in Japanese (recorded audio guides in English are available at the front). Some buildings are open so you can look inside, but you cannot enter any of them. With mobs of tourists getting bigger every year in Kyoto, making a reservation as early as possible is strongly recommended. A few walk-up spaces may be available, but it is better not to chance it. Free. edit
- Shusuitei Tea House & Kujō Pond (拾翠亭 九條池), Kyotogyoen, Kamigyo-ku, . Shusuitei 9:30AM-3:30PM Thu-Sat only. Tucked away on the southern end of the Imperial Park and nearly completely ignored by the tourist mobs are the remains of a beautiful villa and pond garden set up in the residence of the Kujo family, which was one of the five imperial court regents, from around 1778. ¥100. edit
Kimono fashion show, Nishijin Textile Center
- Nishijin Textile Center, Horikawa-Imadegawa, ☎ 075-451-9231, . While visitors may just go to the museum to see the history of Nishijin Textiles, you may also want to try dressing up as a geisha or trying your hand at weaving. You need reservations for each activity, and separate fees are charged for each activity. Weaving costs ¥1800 adult (¥1500 for students) and dressing up as a geisha costs ¥10000. edit
- Kyoto Butoh-kan (Butoh-kan), Tsukinukecho 135, Nakagyoku, Kyoto 604-8202 (Just west of Karasuma Oike Subway stop), ☎ 075-254-6520, . Thursdays 6pm / 8pm. In the heart of the city is located the Butoh-kan, the world's first theater devoted to weekly performances of the elusive dance of Butoh. Performances are by world famous Butoh dancer Tenko Ima, every Thursday at 6pm and 8pm. She is accompanied by live Shamisen music. The "theater" is actually an ancient plaster storehouse, so the atmosphere is vivid and intimate, because there are only eight seats per show. 3000. (35.009312,135.757597) edit
The city's traditional main shopping district is centered on the intersection of Shijō-dōri and Kawaramachi-dōri, a short distance from the Kamo River and a manageable walk away from the neighboring Gion district in Higashiyama. Kawaramachi Station on the Hankyū Line puts you right in the heart of the action, within easy reach of three major department stores and a wide assortment of other shopping options.
For electronics, head up to Teramachi and turn left; for clothes boutiques, including your chance at finding the perfect "Engrish" t-shirt, turn right into the covered arcade portion of Teramachi and Shinkyōgoku, which runs parallel.
Specific places worth checking out include the following:
- Tōji Flea Market, 1 Kujocho, Minami-ku. On the 21st of each month, Tōji hosts a large flea market on and around the temple grounds. It's like a one-day festival, with long rows of food vendors joining an odd assortment of sellers — everything from elegant Japanese crafts and rare plants to piles of old postcards, photos, movie posters, and appliances from decades past. edit
- Gallery Gado 27 Miyashiki-cho Hirano, Kitaku (on Kinukake no Michi, near Kinkakuji). 075-464-1655. Open everyday, 10AM-6:00PM. Gallery Gado sells modern woodblock prints (ukiyo-e) with traditional themes. The gallery also has catalogs of the work of artists who are maintaining this art form. All prints are authentic woodblock prints; postcard-sized prints are available for ¥800, medium-sized prints for ¥2000-3000, and large prints for a few ten thousand yen.
- Teramachi Kyogoku Shopping Arcade (寺町京極商店街) - Perpendicular to Nishiki Market is this long modern pedestrian shopping street, with clothes stores, game arcade, and everything else.
- Porta Underground Shopping Mall - Located underground at Kyoto Station on the north side under the bus terminal is this long mall of over a hundred stores and small restaurants. The stores close at 8 PM but the eateries are open until later (hours vary).
- The Cube - A 2 floor underground shopping mall is also on the south side of Kyoto Station, and a good place to stop off before leaving the city to pick up some extra souvenirs or gifts. It also includes clothing stores on its 2nd floor. Stores open 8:30 AM to 8 PM (Fri-Sat ~9 PM), restaurant hours vary.
Sushi on offer in central Kyoto
- Musashi Sushi one of the oldest kaitenzushiya (conveyor belt sushi) restaurants in Kyoto, it is located directly across chain Kappa Sushi at the corner of Sanjo/Kawaramachi. All of the sushi is handmade, though it may take a while to see something new float by. Fortunately, the seats surround the chefs, so you can request whatever you want if you don't see something you like. Price: ¥137 per plate (usually 2 pieces per plate).
- Kappa Sushi is a chain kaitenzushiya (conveyor belt sushi) restaurant on the corner of Sanjo and Kawaramachi at the entrance to the Shinkyogoku/Teramachi covered mall. Lots of variety and cheap prices, but the sushi isn't handmade — machines are used to cut the rice and fish. Price: ¥100 per plate (usually 2 pieces per plate).
- Mr. Young Men, 312 Higashidaimonjicho, ☎ 075-255-4591. 11:30AM-10:30PM. A pleasantly grubby okonomiyaki restaurant downtown, at the corner of Shijo and the covered shopping street of Teramachi. Basic English menus are available. A basic dish of Osaka-style okonomiyaki will run about ¥800, although a few variations (including a bizarre cheese and potato version) are available for about the same price. ¥800~. edit
- Hati Hati is an Indonesian restaurant on Kiyamachi, near Takoyakushi. It has great food and atmosphere, but it's occasionally converted into a bar and a performance space for local bands and DJs at night on weekends. For really late night food on Kiyamachi, there is a cheap, open-air falafel cafe a couple doors down from Hati Hati that never seems to close.
- Donguri is a cheap yet very nice okonomiyaki restaurant on the Northwest corner of Kawaramachi and Shijo. It's a sub-level place so it might take a bit to find it. It is next to the Excelsior Coffee; if you walk past The Body Shop you went too far. It's about ¥500 for an okonomiyaki and about ¥300-500 for a namachuu (mid sized mug of beer). Expect to pay ¥800-900 in the evening. Great place for a date or nicer evening.
- Arash's Kitchen (40), 123-1 Ishiyacho 3F, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 080-5366-5573, . 5PM–12AM. Sat-Sun 11AM–3PM. Iranian Restaurant that opened in Feb 2013. Owner is Iranian and works alone. Great place for persian food but also sells falafel and other middle eastern dishes. ¥800~. edit
- Kappa Sushi (かっぱ寿司 京のとんぼ), 330 Shioyacho, Nakagyo-ku (in Pontocho), . 11AM–10PM. A a reasonably-priced (for fresh sushi) restaurant. They have an English menu which is, unfortunately, inferior to the Japanese menu. Specials change daily, but are generally on the pricey side. Sit at the sushi bar, and eat well-apportioned nigiri off of banana leaves with your fingers. Not a bad place to try real o-toro for ¥110 a plate. edit
- Shishin Samurai Cafe & Bar , 230-1 Kamimyoukakuji-cho Nakagyo-ku, 075-231-5155, proclaims that an increase of food production, food self-sufficiency, and the decrease of food waste can prevent war. This cafe serves local Japanese foods as much as possible to increase food self-sufficiency and sustainability. In addition this cafe uses 5% of its gross sales to aid homeless people. Aims to reintroduce declining Japanese traditional customs and keep these traditions alive. Open 12PM-11PM, Closed Tue (note different menu items during cafe and bar times).
- Thai Curry Restaurant Siam (タイカレーレストランシャム), Nishishikagakicho, . 11:30AM–2PM, 6PM–9:30PM, Closed Wed. A tiny but wonderful Thai curry restaurant on Marutamachi-dori about 100m east of Nishioji-dori. The food is delicious, reasonably priced and spice levels are indicated on the menu. Relax in a soft-lit room decorated with exotic paintings from Bali, while the friendly staff prepare your meal right in front of you. English menu available. edit
- Fuka (麩嘉), 413 Higashi Uratsuji-cho, Kamigyo-ku, ☎ 075-231-1584, . 10AM-5:30PM, Closed Mon. Located west of the Imperial Palace and just a bit south of the Kyoto Prefectural Office, this old shop makes the best nama-fu (wheat gluten filled with sweet bean paste) in Kyoto and supplies many sweet shops and restaurants throughout the city. There might not be enough supplies to sell over the counter, so it is best to arrive early. edit
- Tengu A chain izakaya offering their own beer and good shared food with occasional seasonal specials. One is located underground with an entrance near the corner of Sanjo/Kawaramachi.
- Torikizoku (鳥貴族), . 5 or 6 pm to late. Torikizoku is the most popular yakitori chain in Kansai. There are several locations in Kyoto - most convenient for travellers is in Kawaramachi/Shijo, just before the bridge, or between sanjo and shijo, on kiyachou-dori. The yakitori is delicious, comes in generous serves and is very cheap. It's very popular with both locals and expats, and is always busy. Try to come before 7:30 to secure seats. Look for the Japanese characters on the distinctive yellow and red sign. All food/drink ¥300 each. edit
- Pontochō (先斗町) is a narrow lane running from Shijo-dori to Sanjo-dori, one block west of the Kamo River. One of Kyoto's most traditional nightlife districts, the restaurants here run the gamut for super-exclusive geisha houses to common yakitori bars. Many have pleasant open-air riverside terraces. Rule of thumb is, any establishment with a menu and prices outside is OK, but others are best skipped.
- Mishima-tei (三嶋亭 本店), 405 Sakuranocho, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-221-0003, . 11AM–8:30PM, Closed Tue-Wed. If you love sukiyaki, and your pockets are deep, you must visit Mishima-tei at the junction of Teramachi-dori and Sanjo-dori. Your personal kimono-clad hostess will prepare your sukiyaki feast on the hotplate set between you. Order the "premium beef", and the richly marbled meat will just melt in your mouth, and require almost no chewing whatsoever: it is delectable – but around ¥25,000 for 360 grams of beef and a few vegetables. (For the cost-shy, there is a 'tourist set' on the menu which results in a bill of about ¥13,600 for 2.) ¥13,600~. edit
Compared with other cities in Kansai, Kyoto has a much more tranquil night life, and many travelers go over to Osaka for its 24/7 activity - in fact the city is just 30 minutes away by rapid train, or less by bullet train. Just remember all the trains stop around midnight. But Kyoto has a few good places to have a drink as well, if you don't want the trouble of leaving the city. Many of the drinking establishments are concentrated between the Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae subway station and the Hankyu Kyoto-Kwaramachi station.
- Spring Valley Brewery Kyoto (スプリングバレーブルワリー 京都), 587-2 Takamiyacho (Located by Nishiki Mkt), ☎ 075-231-4960. 11:30AM–11PM (Mon-Fri), 11AM-11PM (Sat), 11AM-10PM (Sun), Closed 2nd Mon of the month or if holiday, the next day. A brewpub with over 6 of its own craft beers as well as seasonal offerings, as well as various grilled and baked foods. With 2 floors and a terrace with room for 112 people. ¥. edit
- Zen Cafe, ☎ 075-533-8686, . 11AM–6PM. A place to meet travelers and locals as it is located next to popular hostel "K's House". The staff are friendly and speak good English and are happy to offer advice on what to see and do from a local's point of view. ¥390 per drink (Spirits, basic cocktails and draft beer) and bar snacks. edit
- Pub and Diner Fuel (パブ アンド ダイナー フューエル), 258-22 Yamazakicho 3F, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-744-0611. 6PM–2AM, Closed Tue. A 24-seat place with more American type foods and drinks like 1 pound steaks for ¥2000, ribs, pizza, pasta, whiskey and beer. ¥. edit
- Rocking Bar ING (ロック居酒屋ＩＮＧ), Kyoto Royal Bldg 2F, Nishikiyamachi Takeoyakushi, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-255-5087, . 6PM–5AM (Mon-Sat), 6PM–3AM (Sun). No cover charge, with cocktails from ¥650 and beer from ¥670. Get ready for Rolling Stones, competitive Jenga, sharing tables with odd drunk people, and clothes permanently soaked in smoke. ¥650~. edit
- Sake Bar Yoramu (酒ＢＡＲよらむ), Nijo-dori east of Karasuma (Marutamachi and Karasuma-Oike subway stations), ☎ 075-213-1512 ([email protected]), . 6 pm - 12 am, closed Mondays and first Sunday of the month. From the unusual to the standard, this sake bar has both an impressive selection of traditional Japanese rice wine. Even more impressive is the barkeep and owner, who's from Israel, who can translate your preferences in wine into sake. Well-aged sake is available, busting the myth that sake does not age. Traditionally-brewed sake ranging from slightly cloudy to yogurt-like may also be available. edit
- Nikki's Bar, Nishi-Kiyamachi 804 Daini Kankou Building (Just north of Hamid's Kebab shop). 8PM-5AM. This is a nice little bar ran by a gregarious Nepalese guy named Nikki. It's got a great bunch of regulars and new customers are always warmly welcomed. Mixed drinks and beer run ¥700 per drink and shots are ¥500. It's on the 8th floor. If you can't find it ask the folks working at Hamid's. ¥700. edit
- Sugar Trip (シュガー・トリップ), 236 Yamazakicho, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-211-1145. A ritsy cocktail bar with a variety of drinks from the standard beers to champagne and cava. Most people come for one of the many cocktail varieties that this bar is famous for. Cocktails ¥700-750, Smoothie cocktails for ¥900, Beer for ¥650-700, tonic ¥700. edit
- Rub-a-Dub, 115 Ishiya-cho BF, Nakagyo-ku,, ☎ 075-256-3122, . Only Fri-Sun 3PM-9PM. Jerk chicken, fried rice, and chicken curry each for ¥600" lat="" long="">A one-room Jamaican Reggae bar. It can either be an over-crowded mess or a box of delirious fun, depending on which record is on (and how much you like Red Stripe) either way you must try the jerk chicken. Must be 18 years or older to enter. edit
- A-Bar, 366 Kamiyacho 2F, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-213-2129. 5PM–2AM (Mon-Thu), 5PM–5AM (Fri-Sat), 5PM–12AM (Sun). A-bar, a hard-to-find (on 2nd floor) izakaya close to the Shijo/Kiyamachi corners, makes a great start to the evening. Food is good and reasonable - daily sashimi specials and fried goods, especially. You share long tables with foreigners and locals alike; a friendly thing to do would be to pour beers for your neighbors and Suei-san, the proprietor. ¥550 Yebisu. edit
- Bungalow, Shijo horikawa higashiiru (at the intersection between Shijo street and Samegai St, near Horikawa St and omiya Stn), ☎ 075-256-8205, . 3PM-2AM. Nice, hip but cozy, place with craft beers on 10 taps, organic wines and some bar food (bread, cheese, lamb etc.). Recognizable from the street by it's plastic walls. edit
British and Irish Pubs
- HUB Kyoto Yodobashi branch, 590-2 Higashi Shiokoji-cho Karasuma-dori Shichijo Sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, ☎ 075-353-4082, . 12PM-11:30PM (Mon-Thu), 12PM-12AM (Fri-Sun). Located on the small streets connecting Kiyamachi to Kawaramachi, lots of sports TV, cheap beer (¥700/pint) (especially with a ¥500 membership) and more expensive imports; food, however, is mediocre. This is basically where foreigners go for happy hour (4-7 PM, discounted cocktails only). If you want some inside information on other places, ask a group here. One of the larger bars in Kyoto, it is a popular spot for happy hours and goodbye parties. The real draw is the foosball, darts tournaments, and the pool table. ¥700~. edit
- Gastro Pub Tadg's (肉バル＆ホルモン鍋タイグ), 498 Kamikorikicho, Nakagyo-ku (Located on Kiyamachi between Sanjo and Nijo), ☎ 075-213-0214. 11:30AM–11PM. Presided over by the most amiable owner/chef Tadg McLoughlin. Food is reasonably priced, with main courses starting at ¥1200 and a 5 course special menu which is great value. Great quality beers, domestic and foreign (including microbrews). The staff is friendly and speak English. Live music on weekends. Giant screen TV (McLoughlin being a Rugby fanatic), darts, foosball and a great view of east Kyoto. Happy hour is 3PM-5PM. edit
- Irish Pub Wisteria, 371 Kamiyacho, ☎ 075-708-5756. 5:45PM-12:45AM (Mon-Sat), 5:45PM-11:30PM (Sun). Specializes in whiskey with 12 Irish brands and 17 Japanese, plus the usual Guiness and pub food. Happy hour til 8 PM with ¥100 discount. edit
- Irish Pub Castle West, 258-29 Kawaramachi 2F, ☎ 075-211-6163, . 6PM–1AM, 6PM–3AM (Fri-Sat). Has a large bar for cocktails as well as the usual drinks like Guiness and Yona Yona Ale, in a casual atmosphere. Also serves various pizzas, seasonal brews, and wines. edit
- Irish Pub Gnome (アイリッシュパブ ノーム), 375 Ichinofunairichō, Nakagyo-ku (220m from Kyoto Shiyakushomae Stn), ☎ 075-212-2101, . 5PM-12AM, Closed Sun. Offers Kilkenny, Guiness, and several Irish whiskeys, along with the usual. Plus the typical pub fried foods, shepherd's pie, Irish stew, colcannon, and foods made with Guiness. edit
- Dublin, 537-23 Ichinofunairichō, ☎ 050-5485-3726, . 5PM–2AM, 4PM–1AM (Sun). Another place with Guiness and Kilkenny's, plus pizzas, pasta, fried foods, Irish stew, shepherd's pie, etc. ¥. edit
The great majority of Kyoto's accommodations can be found here. Staying closer to Kyoto Station provides immediate access to the Shinkansen and the hub of the city bus network; closer to Karasuma-Oike puts you in the midst of downtown and closer to the Gion. They're only minutes apart by subway, making the choice merely a matter of personal convenience.
- Guesthouse Yahata, 544 Yahata-cho, Gojo-agaru, Nishinotoin, Shimogyo-ku (off Gojo-dori, west of the subway station), ☎ 075-204-5897 (Japanese only), . checkin: 4-9 PM; checkout: 11 AM. Bunk beds from ¥2500, private rooms from ¥8000 (2-4 people), with free breakfast. edit
- JAM Hostel, Tokiwacho170 Higashiyama (At the corner of Gion-Shijo station at the Keihan line), ☎ 075-201-3374, . checkin: 3-10 PM; checkout: 12 PM. Dorms from ¥2100, laundry, fast and free wi-fi, common area with bar. edit
- K's House Kyoto, 418 Nayacho, Shichijo-agaru, Dotemachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku (9 min. walk east from JR Kyoto Station along Shichijo-dori, 4 min. walk from Keihan Line Shichijo Station), ☎ 075-342-2444 ([email protected], fax: 075-342-2440), . checkin: 3-10PM; checkout: 11AM. Opened in November 2003, this clean, foreigner-friendly hostel with English speaking staff has amenities like internet access and kitchens. The hostel itself can be difficult to find, as it is located down a narrow street off the main road. Dorm room ¥2500, twin/double/triple room from ¥2900, single room from ¥3500 (prices per person). edit
- Khaosan Kyoto Guesthouse, 568 Nakanocho, Bukkoji-agaru, Teramachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku (1 min. walk south from Hankyu-line Kawaramachi Station, exit 10), ☎ 075-201-4063 ([email protected]), . checkin: 3–9 PM; checkout: 8–11 AM. Opened November 2010. Staff are very friendly and they provide heaps of local information. No curfew, free (but somewhat slow) Wi-Fi access, free tea and coffee available at Japanese style living room. 10 beds Dorm room, ¥2000; 6 beds Mix(female) Dorm ¥2200; Twin (Double bed)Private room ¥5600(2 person); 4 beds mix dorm, ¥2500. (36.655258,138.186462) edit
- Kyotokko (アコモデーション京都っ子), 783 Sabamatsu-cho, Marutamachi Omiya-Dori, Kamigyo-ku (At the SE of the cross road named Marutamachi Matsuyacho. Near Nijo Castle, 1-3 min. walk from bus stop Horikawa Marutamachi, 7 min. walk NE from JR Nijo Stn), ☎ 075-821-3323, . checkin: 3PM-8:45PM; checkout: ~11AM. Credit cards accepted, English available, sheets included. Free wi-fi, computer use. Long stay discount. Additional charges for various services - use of printer or fax, changing sheets more frequently, etc. Bike rental (¥500/day) Dorms ¥2400~, private rooms, ¥6000~. Discounts common in winter. (35.0172,135.7482) edit
- Tomato Guesthouse, 135 Shimizu, Nishi-iru Shiokoji-Horikawa, Shimogyou-ku (7 min. walk west from Kyoto Stn), ☎ 075-203-8228, . checkin: 4-9 PM. Dorm ¥2200, private singles ¥3300−3900. edit
- Uronza Guesthouse, 427 Yohoji-cho Shimogyo-ku, ☎ 075-341-3226 ([email protected]), . checkin: 4PM-9PM; checkout: 11 AM. A guesthouse offering Japanese and Western-style rooms. Online reservations are currently unavailable to make reservations via phone or e-mail (staff not likely to speak English). Prices start at ¥4000. edit
Hotels, Minshuku & Ryokan
- Crossroads Inn, 45-14 Ebisu Baba-cho, Shimogyo-ku (20 min. walk west of Kyoto Station, or #205 bus to Ume Koji Koen-mae then 2 min. walk northwest), ☎ 075-354-3066 (fax: 075-354-3022), . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 10AM. A ryokan with shared shower & toilet facilities. 11 PM curfew. Three rooms: one person ¥4000, two persons ¥7350, three persons ¥10,400. edit
- Econo Inn Discount Hotel, 67 Hirai-cho, Kawaramachi-Gojo Sagaru, Shimogyo-ku (15 min. walk northwest from Kyoto Station, or just south of Kawaramachi-Gojo stop on buses 4, 17, 205), ☎ 075-343-6660 (fax: 075-343-6667), . checkin: 3PM−11 PM; checkout: 11AM. 21 Western-style private rooms: singles, doubles, and triples. All rooms have a bath unit, air-conditioner and TV. Caters more to long-term stays. Sliding rate scale depending on length of stay: singles go from ¥5880 for one night down to ¥3880 for 21 nights or more; a few small short-term singles range start at ¥3780. edit
- Hotel Iida (ホテル飯田), 717 Shiokoji-agaru, Akezu-dori, Shimogyo-ku (3 min. northeast of Kyoto Station), ☎ 075-341-3256 (fax: 075-351-3051), . Mostly Japanese style rooms, with a few Western rooms, both varieties with or without private bath. Singles ¥5250−7875 (Japanese), ¥6300−7875 (Western); doubles ¥8400−14,700; triples ¥12,600-23,625. edit
- Ikoi-no-Ie (憩の家), 885 Ushitora-cho, Rokujo-dori, Shinmachi Higashi-iru, Shimogyo-ku (12-15 min. walk NW from Kyoto Stn, 5 min. west from Gojo subway station), ☎ 075-342-2123 (fax: 075-354-8068). checkin: by arrangement; checkout: 11 AM. New facility, opened 2007. All non-smoking rooms, some en-suite. The ground floor rooms near the lobby can be noisy. LAN ports in most rooms. Singles with shared bath ¥4750, private bath ¥7600; doubles ¥7600−8400 shared, ¥9600−11,000 private; triples ¥9600 shared, ¥12,000−13,500 private; quad ¥15,000 private. edit
- Yadoya Hiraiwa (宿や平岩), 314 Hayao-cho, Kaminokuchi-agaru, Ninomiyacho-dori, Shimogyo-ku (15 min. walk northeast from Kyoto Station, or take buses #17 or #205 from pier A2 to Kawaramachi-Shomen, the third stop), ☎ 075-351-6748, . A self-proclaimed ryokan (really a minshuku) catering almost entirely to the foreign market, in an old Japanese house plastered with English signs, warnings and tips. All rooms are Japanese style. Traditional breakfast is available for an extra charge. Shared bathrooms or a public bath half a block away. But it's cheap and reasonably friendly. Slightly inconveniently located halfway between the station and the center of town (a 15-minute walk to either). Singles ¥4200−5250, doubles ¥8400. edit
- Ryokan Kyoraku, 231 Kogawa-cho, Shichijo-agaru, Akezu-dori, Shimogyo-ku (6 min. walk north from Kyoto Stn), ☎ 075-371-7161 (fax: 075-371-1260), . checkin: 3−10 PM; checkout: 10AM. Recently renovated, with 14 Japanese-style rooms (half with private bath, half without) and two Western-style double rooms (both with private bath). 11 PM curfew. Singles ¥5200−6000 with shared bath, ¥6000−6600 private; doubles ¥9200−10,200 shared, ¥11,000−12,300 private; triples ¥13,800−15,200 shared, ¥16,000−17,700 private. edit
- Ryokan Yuhara, 188 Kagiyacho, Shomen-agaru, Kiyamachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku (15 min. walk northeast from Kyoto Station), ☎ 075-371-9583 (fax: 075-371-9580), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 10AM. Japanese style rooms, shared bath, sink in room. Recently renovated, very nice rooms, very clean, very friendly. 11 PM curfew. Singles/doubles/triples ¥5,250/9,660/14,490 per room with shared bath, no meals included. edit
- Hotel Seiki Kyoto Station (ホテル晴輝 京都ステーション), 24-5 Higashikujo Kitakarasuma-cho, Minami-ku (5 min. walk south from Kyoto Stn), ☎ 075-606-2826 (fax: 075-682-0171). Japaesestyle accommodations, with western baths and toilets. Free lobby PCs and coin laundry available. Singles ¥5500, doubles ¥8000−9000, triples ¥12,000−13,000. edit
- Smile Hotel Kyoto Shijo (スマイルホテル京都四条), 61 Kasabokocho, Shimogyo-ku, ☎ 075-371-0941, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Clean, decent, business hotel conveniently located near Shijo and Karasuma Stations. ¥3700~. edit
- Super Hotel Kyoto Karasuma Gojo (スーパーホテル京都・烏丸五条), Karasuma Dori, Gojo Kudaru, Osaka Machi 396-3 (10 min. walk from Kyoto Station, or at exit 8 of Gojo subway station), ☎ 075-343-9000 (fax: 075-343-9001), . checkin: 3PM−midnight; checkout: 10AM. A Japanese budget hotel chain. All rates include tax and free breakfast. Singles ¥6090 (¥5040 off season, ¥7140 peak season); doubles ¥7140−8180−9240. edit
- Oyo Hotels Seiei Kawaramachi (OYOホテル清栄京都河原町), 476 Matsubara Nakanocho Shimogyo-ku, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Offers singles and twin rooms at some reasonable rates. Close to Shijo & Gojo subway stations as well as Keihan Kiyomizu-Gojo Stn. ¥6500~. edit
- Toyoko Inn Kyoto Gojo-Karasuma (東横Inn京都五条烏丸), 393, Gojo-Karasumasho Karasuma-dori Matsubara-sagaru Shimogyo-ku (15 min. walk north from Kyoto Station, 3 min. walk from Gojo subway stn, exit 2), ☎ 075-344-1045 (fax: 075-344-1047), . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 10AM. Japan's biggest budget hotel chain. Good value for twin rooms. Online reservations showing vacancies and bookings available on all sites, optional membership with discounts. With free breakfast. Singles ¥4600, doubles ¥7200, triples ¥8200. edit
- Toyoko Inn Kyoto Shijo-Omiya (東横Inn京都四条大宮), 6-2 Mibubojo-cho, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-803-1045, . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 10AM. Another hotel of the ubiquitous chain, located next to the Keifuku Shijo-Omiya Station. ¥5000~. edit
- Toyoko Inn Kyoto Shijo-Karasuma (東横Inn京都四条烏丸), 28 Naginataboko-cho, Shijokarasuma-dori, Higashi-hairu, Shimogyo-ku, ☎ 075-212-1045, . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 10AM. Ideally located downtown next to the Hankyu Karasuma and Shijo subway stations. ¥5000~. edit
- Toyoko Inn Kyoto Gojo-Omiya (東横Inn京都五条大宮), 502-5 chudojimae-cho, Nichome, Nishigawa, Gojyo-sagaru, Omiyadori, Shimogyo-ku (20 min walk from Kyoto Stn), ☎ 075-352-1045, . checkin: 4PM; checkout: 10AM. Less conveniently located but in a quieter part of the city, near Nishi-Honganji Temple. ¥4600~. edit
- Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto (シタディーン京都 烏丸五条), 432 Matsuya-cho Gojo-dori Karasuma- Higashiiru Shimogyo-ku Kyoto 600 8105, ☎ 075-352-8900 ([email protected]), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. Offers the comfort and convenience of an apartment hotel that offers exclusive living spaces replete with modern facilities and home comforts. ¥4200~. edit
- Gimmond Hotel (2 min. walk east from Karasuma-Oike subway station), Takakura-Oike-dori, Nakagyo-ku, ☎ 075-221-4111 (fax: 075-221-8250), . checkin: 1 PM; checkout: 11 AM. A foreigner-friendly hotel, neat and tidy and located downtown near City Hall. Discount for Internet booking. Including taxes and fees: Singles ¥9,586−10,741, doubles ¥16,170, twin rooms ¥16,747−23,100. edit
- Hearton Hotel Kyoto, Higashi no Toin Dori Oike Agaru, Nakagyo-ku (2 min. northeast of Karasuma-Oike subway station, exit 1), ☎ 075-222-1300 (fax: 075-222-1313), . checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Mid range, Western-style hotel located downtown. Single ¥11,000, twin ¥22,400. edit
- Hotel Monterey Kyoto, 3 Jyo Minami Karasuma-dori, Nakagyo-ku (West side of Karusuma, south of Sanjo), ☎ 075-251-7111. checkin: 2 PM; checkout: 11 AM. Opened in March 2007. The staff are very keen to please. 15 minute stroll to Sanjo Shopping Arcade and less than five minute walk from subway station. Rates vary but they have discounts for internet booking and travel agents offer combined JR tickets and room rates. Includes spa and two restaurants (French and Japanese). Singles around ¥15,000−18,000, doubles around ¥20,000−23,000. edit
- Hotel Sugicho, 172 Moriyamacho, Oike-agaru, Tominokoji, Nakagyo-ku (5 min. walk east from Karasuma-Oike subway station), ☎ 075-241-0106 ([email protected], fax: 075-221-7271), . checkin: 4 PM; checkout: 10 AM. Mostly Japanese-style rooms, with a few Western. Breakfast and dinner available. Adjacent to Kyoto Gyoen and the Nishiki Markets. Standard plan around ¥9,450−¥18,900, Limited plan around ¥3,900−77,350. edit
- Kyoto Garden Hotel, Muromachi-dori, Oike Minamiiru, Nakagyo-ku (About 1 min. west of Karasuma-Oike subway station (Karasuma subway line), exit 4-1), ☎ 075-255-2000 ([email protected], fax: 075-255-2389), . checkin: 3 PM; checkout: 10 AM. Convenient downtown location; a short walk away from the Kyoto International Manga Museum, a long (but manageable) walk away from Nijo Castle. All rooms are non-smoking. Guests with their own LAN-enabled laptops/netbooks can get internet access in their rooms free of charge; just borrow a connection kit from the front desk. Actual rates vary depending on the time of year and discounts/special offers are available for online bookings. Single ¥9240, double ¥12,600−13,650, twin ¥14,700−16,800, triple ¥19,950. edit
- Kyoto Tower Hotel, Karasuma-dori Shichijo-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku (1 min. walk north from JR Kyoto Station, immediately across the street), ☎ 075-361-3212 (fax: 075-343-5645), . checkin: 1 PM; checkout: 11 AM. Foreigner-friendly hotel, and the location across the street from JR Kyoto Station is impossible to miss. The same company operates two additional hotels nearby: the Kyoto Tower Hotel Annex, a few blocks northwest, and the Kyoto Dai-Ni Tower Hotel, east of the station. Kyoto Tower: Singles ¥8,000−14,500, twin ¥16,000−31,000. Annex and Dai-Ni: ¥6,500−11,500, twin ¥14,000−19,800. edit
- Ryokan Shimizu, 644 Wakamiya Agaru Shichijo, Shimogyo-ku (5 min. walk northwest from Kyoto Station, near Nishi-Honganji), ☎ 075-371-5538 (fax: 075-371-5539), . A modern style ryokan which is welcoming to foreign visitors. The owners can speak some English. En-suite facilities are provided but no meals are available. There is a communal Japanese bath facility. ¥6,000/person (¥5,000 during winter), higher near holidays. edit
- Kyoto Hotel Okura (京都ホテルオークラ), Kawaramachi-Oike, Nakagyo-ku (at Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae subway stn, T12), ☎ 075-211-5111 (fax: 075-254-2529), . checkin: 1 PM; checkout: 11 AM. A large, modern Western-style hotel located downtown. ¥19,000 for a single, through ¥49,000 for a double-occupancy corner room; top-floor suites climb higher still. edit
- New Miyako Hotel (新都ホテル), 17 Nishikujo-Inmachi, Minami-ku (across street from Kyoto Stn, Hachijo exit), ☎ 075-661-7111 (fax: 075-661-7135), . checkin: 1 PM; checkout: 11 AM. The largest hotel in Kyoto with over 700 rooms, and the prices to match. Located immediately south of Kyoto station. If you get a room facing north, you'll be able to see the bullet trains coming in and out of the station, as well as the glass windows from the exterior of the Isetan department store that seem to reflect the sky if the weather conditions are just right. ¥11,550 singles, ¥21,000 doubles, ¥57,750 suites, tax included. edit
For the latest info on events, happenings, and things to do, contact the Kyoto City Tourism Association.
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