For travellers who like to use youth hostels, Kyoto’s Utano Youth Hostel gets a lot of praise for the thought that’s gone into its operation
Surprisingly, there’s only one youth hostel in Kyoto. Well, perhaps it’s not so surprising: Kyoto has hundreds of guesthouses and they’re much more relaxed than youth hostels, which tend to be very regimented in Japan.
Utano Youth Hostel does almost everything right: it’s got spotlessly clean rooms, free wifi, nice common areas, pleasant grounds and friendly staff. There are both private and shared rooms and the rates are very reasonable. The only problem is the location: it’s located way up in the northwest corner of the city, not too far from Kinkaku-ji and Ryoan-ji temples.
The hostel rents bicycles and you’ll need one of these to do much sightseeing if you’re based here (and don’t want to spend all your time on buses). Still, despite the inconvenient location, we really like this well-run youth hostel. For location map and more details, see our page on Utano Youth Hostel. You can book rooms at Utano Youth hostel online at Agoda.com.
For more excellent places to stay in Kyoto on a budget, see Best Kyoto Backpacker Hotels and Best Budget Hotels in Kyoto.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world