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One of the most popular destinations in Japan, Kyoto is home to more temples and shrines than anywhere else in the country as well as being one of the top spots for cherry blossoms in the spring. If you’re looking for a quieter, less-crowded setting, you might want to stay in the Northern Higashiyama area which has at least as many impressive sites and lush greenery as Southern Higashiyama. Either way, any of these Airbnbs from simple and budget-friendly to luxurious, is sure to provide a great space to experience a trip of a lifetime.
A beautiful two-story house accommodating up to six in three bedrooms, TabitabiStay has a design that was inspired by townhomes built during the Taisho period. Blending old with the new, it’s retained the century-old beams and traditional handcrafted details but many modern amenities have been added, making it one of the best Airbnbs in Japan. The highlight is the open-air bath with a garden view where you can relax after a day of sightseeing. Other notable features include in-floor heating, central heating, air conditioning, a kitchenette with a Nespresso machine, a washing machine, and free Wi-Fi.
A two-bedroom Machiya-style home in a quiet area of Kawaramachi, a vibrant part of central Kyoto, this rental offers easy access to public transport, shopping, dining, and more. It sleeps up to five and has a zen feel with gardens at the entrance and the living area, while modern features include a kitchen with high-end appliances, flat-screen TVs with Netflix, free Wi-Fi, and even air purifiers. Guests rave about the location and the design that provides the perfect authentic retreat.
This traditional home was recently renovated to provide a mix of historic and modern, located in the heart of the Gion area in a tranquil corner with easy access to shopping, dining, sightseeing, and public transport. It includes three bedrooms, all of which have tatami flooring with traditional Japanese futon bedding while one comes with a picturesque garden view. Highlights include a tub that looks out to the Japanese garden, providing a relaxing soak after a day on your feet, in-floor heating, a well-equipped kitchen, Wi-Fi, and a washing machine.
This Airbnb sits in a quiet location, far enough from the tourist crowds yet close to many eateries, bars, shops, and attractions. Plus, the host provides a complimentary bicycle for exploring. The beautifully designed cottage accommodates up to five in two bedrooms and includes high ceilings for an extra-spacious feel, exposed beams, wooden and tatami floors, traditional plaster walls, and paper screen doors. It has a well-equipped kitchen, a deep tub where you can soak with a view of the small interior courtyard, fast Wi-Fi, and a washer/dryer.
A certified Kyoto Traditional House, the Artist’s Zen & Art House sits atop a hill in an exclusive, peaceful area and is surrounded by nature, complete with a zen garden and large, four-person Hinoki Bath. The reviews say it all, calling it “epic” with the perfect day started by sipping tea or coffee in the garden followed by sightseeing and returning to a hot bath. The host is a big part of the reason many experience such an unforgettable stay, making it feel more like you’re visiting family. It sleeps up to four in two bedrooms, the futon/tatami room that faces the garden and includes two futons with an additional one that can be added if needed, and a western-style bedroom with two beds. There is no kitchen but you will have kitchenette-type items, including a fridge, microwave, toaster, and kettle.
For a unique stay that will truly immerse you in the local culture, book this traditional Japanese Machiya house located inside Chomyoji Temple. A two-bedroom century-old townhome accommodating up to four, it merges traditional with modern, complete with paper doors, tatami mats, and a bathroom with a fabulous garden view. But you won’t have to sacrifice any of the essentials as it comes with free Wi-Fi, a kitchen with a Nespresso coffee machine, and a 40″ flat-screen TV. It enjoys a quiet setting yet it’s convenient to Gion and the Heian Shrine as well as some fantastic restaurants and a supermarket.
One of the most beautiful Airbnbs in Kyoto, this guesthouse/villa is over a century old but it’s been fully remodeled to provide tradition and luxury. Located just 10 minutes on foot to Kyoto Station in Higashiyama and within an easy walk of Kamogawa River, Sanjusangen-do Temple, and the Kyoto Museum, it accommodates as many as eight guests with two western-style rooms, one with two double beds and the other with one double bed, plus a Japanese-style room with two futons. The highlight is a semi-outdoor bath where you can soak while enjoying a view of the Japanese garden. It also includes a full kitchen, Wi-Fi, TV, and washer/dryer.
This Kyomachiya villa is located in central Kyoto, just a five-minute walk to the Gokin Shrine and many trendy restaurants. Spread across two stories, it includes two Japanese-style rooms, each with two single futons, accommodating up to four guests. There are many beautiful artistic touches throughout, including traditional tatami mats, handmade wallpaper, and antiques. It has in-floor heating and air conditioning for comfort year-round, Wi-Fi, a full kitchen, and a washer/dryer, though the highlight is a stone hot tub that overlooks the private Japanese garden and a koi pond.
Live like a local in this fully renovated, authentic Kyoto Machiya townhouse which sleeps up to four in a room with two single beds and another with a sofa bed while providing all the comforts of home. Located in a friendly residential neighborhood close to the Nijo station, just one stop from the central Kyoto station, it boasts a sleek, minimalist Japanese-style interior with modern features. There’s a living area with a “mini-kitchen” that has the basics like a fridge, stove, microwave, dishes, silverware, and cookware, along with a Japanese bath that looks out to a little garden.
This traditional art house enjoys a peaceful residential setting, 20 minutes from Kyoto station in Fushimi close to more than 20 sake breweries, winding alleyways, and Otesuji-shopping street. “Higurashi” is a recently renovated traditional Kyoto-style Machiya house designed, and decorated by local artists and designers, that looks as if it’s a film set, complete with beautifully painted walls, traditional Japanese features, and picturesque outdoor gardens. It can accommodate up to four, but the host advises it’s best for two or three with the number of mattresses provided based on the number of guests. You’ll have access to free Wi-Fi, complimentary umbrellas, a full kitchen, washing machine, and bikes for a small additional fee.
This unique rental aims to provide guests with an immersion into traditional Kyoto culture. A recently renovated Machiya-style home, it hosts a local craft studio and special programs that will allow you to learn about the culture while enjoying a more authentic experience. Enjoy Japanese living and a zen feel in a peaceful setting with a Japanese garden and a mountain view, yet it’s just over a 5-minute walk to a train station, making it easy to reach other points throughout the area. It can accommodate up to six, with a two-story main house that has western-style bedrooms and an open kitchen/living area that overlooks the garden and pond. The tea house provides more of a traditional Japanese tatami and includes its own private bathroom. Wi-Fi, TV, a washing machine, a/c, and heating are included.
This rental is nothing like the many traditional-style Japanese homes in Kyoto. If you’re looking for a unique stay, this is it. The first floor is a luxury cruise liner with Italian Renaissance murals painted on the ceiling and round ship-like windows. The second floor is a spaceship. From your bed, you can look up at the stars, or look out the “windshield” to see our planet. There’s a large kitchen with all the appliances and cookware you need and a Smart TV too.