Wondering where to stay in Kyoto? The former capital of Japan is a popular tourist destination despite becoming a bit of a ghost town in recent years due to the pandemic. If you’re planning a trip, you’ll soon discover that it’s one of the busiest Japanese cities. That’s why I prefer a clean, modern hotel room that’s close to a train station but away from the crowds. This allows me to learn more about the beautiful Japanese culture without sacrificing my sanity.
On my most recent trip, I found one of the best places to stay: Hyatt Place Kyoto. It gave me everything I was looking for and more (which is tough because I’m picky). Once you’ve read this review, I’m sure you’ll want to stay there too!
When I’m traveling, the best area to stay is conveniently located but not in a heavily trafficked area. That’s not always an easy thing to find in a hotel, but Hyatt Place Kyoto offers both! It’s located in Nakagyo Ward on a major street, but since there aren’t many main attractions nearby it’s not overrun with tourists.
Japan’s public transportation system is absolutely incredible. That’s why so many tourists buy a Japan Rail Pass to get around! The Kyoto Station area is a transportation hub, giving you access to buses, train lines, and subway stations to head out on your next adventure!
One of the Hyatt Place Kyoto’s best features is that it’s directly connected to Marutamachi Subway Station. You literally emerge from the subway exit, and walk through a little passageway into the hotel lobby. It was so convenient! This gives you such easy access to a variety of train stations and subway lines. For directions, please check out the hotel’s official website.
You have many different restaurants in the area ranging from local ramen and Indian eateries to major fast food chains like McDonald’s and Hotto Motto. I’m not going to lie. I was really busy during my stay, so I grabbed food from convenience stores every day (if you haven’t tried Japan’s convenience store food, you’re missing out!). It was great because there were two Family Marts and a 7-11 within walking distance.
I’d forgotten that the hotel was so new (it opened in 2022), so walking into the Hyatt Place Kyoto was a pleasant surprise. Everything was really bright, fresh, and open. The front desk area was large and spacious, making it possible to check in without feeling crowded. The process was relatively easy and the staff was excellent (you can’t beat Japan’s customer service!).
There were large seating areas for guests where you could enjoy coffee or a snack, or just hang out/meet up with others. Connected to the front desk was a counter where you could grab toiletries such as razors, toothbrushes, and even disposable washcloths. You could also grab small food items and utensils.
There was a dining area, but I didn’t really go in there. It looked nice and I saw people eating there during my stay. Behind the front desk is a small sitting area where you can use a hot water dispenser and microwave. Since I mostly ate convenience store food, this is where I warmed up my meals. Normally, I avoid community microwaves, but I was comfortable using it because the area was kept so clean!
The Hyatt Place Kyoto gets high marks for flooring. As someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), I really hate hotel carpets. It makes me feel so gross, especially if it’s older or worn out. If you’re the same, you won’t have that issue at this hotel.
In the main areas, the flooring is laminate. It’s a light color, so it looks bright and clean. You can easily see if it looks grimy or dirty. Aside from that, as is the case in most Japanese hotels, you will be provided with new slippers to wear in the room to protect your feet. Please use them because it also preserves the flooring in the hotel room!
Even the most elegant hotels have annoyed me with their bedding, but this is another area where Hyatt Place Kyoto excelled. There weren’t any unnecessary, decorative pillows for me to deal with which was an immediate plus. I hate those pillows because they are rarely washed, so they’re pretty germy.
Unlike many newer hotels, the duvet cover at the Hyatt Place Kyoto was firmly secured. It didn’t slide off or get crumpled up. There were multiple pillows and the firmness was perfect. The fabric on the sheets felt clean and crisp, yet soft on my skin. After a long day exploring the best shrines in Osaka or forest bathing in Kyoto, it felt so good to snuggle down under the covers.
Personally, I love Japanese bathrooms, but I know that not everyone does. What I appreciate, especially as a germaphobe, is that the toilet is in a room of its own. Keep all the grossness contained, right? Of course, the commode in my room at the Hyatt Place Kyoto was equipped with a bidet. It’s wonderful!
The sink area is in a central area and there’s plenty of room. I was traveling alone, so I had more than enough space for my toiletries, but it would have been fine even with one or two more people. There was a convenient shelf where I kept my toothbrush and contact lenses (why do I bring these? I never wear them!) and counter space on either side of the large basin.
Along with the one at the Universal Port Hotel, the shower/bath room at the Hyatt Place Kyoto was my favorite at a Japanese hotel so far. It was spacious and clean, the water pressure was great, and the fixtures were high quality. The water drained a little slowly for my preference, but that’s my only complaint!
Some hotels have made life miserable because the rooms are too noisy. The Crowne Plaza Los Angeles and Hotel Hankyu Respire Osaka are two examples. I couldn’t get much sleep because people were in the hallways talking loudly and opening/closing doors in the middle of the night.
At the Hyatt Place Kyoto, I never heard a peep. Not a single sound. I’m not even sure how it’s possible, but I will say that the floors are configured in an interesting way. My room wasn’t far from the elevator, but it was tucked away around a corner in a way that I think helped buffer the sounds. It was a really peaceful stay!
As mentioned, there was a lot to offer in the lobby. There were casual seating and dining areas, free toiletries, hot water dispensers, a coffee machine, and a microwave. Guests also had access to a fitness center. Everything was accessible 24 hours a day, which is something the front desk staff emphasized.
In addition to this, there was also a laundry room (at an extra cost). I’ve never (and I mean never) washed clothes on vacation — until now. The units were washer/dryer combos (like the one in my room at the Hyatt House Chelsea in New York!) so it was super easy to get a few loads done!
Visiting Major Attractions
Before I go any further, I need to suggest that you avoid peak season in Kyoto. According to a Lonely Planet travel guide, low season is mid-December to February, the shoulder season is June to September, and the high seasons are March to May and October to mid-December. The crowds can be unbearable in Kyoto, so please keep that in mind!
On my trip, I was easily able to make day trips to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (go early in the morning!) and Mount Kurama. These are wonderful areas, and can be less crowded than a place like Yasaka Shrine. Some attractions were much, much closer.
- Kyoto Imperial Palace (4-minute walk). I haven’t had a chance to visit. Maybe next time!
- Nijo Castle (10-minute walk). This Unesco World Heritage site was great to have one of the most famous historic sites in such close proximity. Not only does it offer a fantastic cultural lesson, but it’s an excellent choice for nature lovers. The beautiful garden was already primed for cherry blossom season, and I was able to get some gorgeous pictures!
- Nishiki Market (20-minute walk). This is a very popular area for tourists. You can also get there by train in under 15 minutes!
If you’re expecting the staff at the Hyatt Place Kyoto, or any property in Japan, to be fluent in English, you’ll be disappointed. But you shouldn’t be. Anytime you plan a trip to a foreign country, you should prepare to learn the basics of the local language.
- I’d recommend language learning platforms such as Preply (try a lesson with my recommended male tutor, Mamoru, or my recommended female tutor, Kanako!).
Language aside, foreigners should feel very welcomed and comfortable at the Hyatt Place Kyoto. Even the shower is much simpler than the ones you’ll find in many Japanese homes (my poor teen daughter took a cold shower for a month before we realized she didn’t know how to use it!). The staff may not speak fluent English (or whatever language you speak), but they will try their best to help.
Overall Grade – A+
This is unusual, but I can’t really complain at all about the Hyatt Place Kyoto. It’s a beautiful property and despite the affordable rates, it feels like a luxury hotel. To recap, here are some of the things that I loved about the Hyatt Place Kyoto:
- Perfect location
- Clean, air-conditioned rooms
- Easy access to public transportation
- Quick trip to city center
- Great value for hotel prices
- Plenty of restaurants nearby
- Great place for first-time visitors to Kyoto
The smart design and soundproofing means you’ll get a good night’s sleep before heading down to the conveniently-located subway station so you can head to central Kyoto and start your day. Really, I can’t recommend the Hyatt Place Kyoto enough. Have a great stay!