Where to stay in Kyoto for families with kids: 4 Best areas

Finding where to stay in Kyoto for families with kids can be a headache. That’s why, in today’s article, I will share with you what I believe are the best areas to stay in Kyoto with family (including a map) and the best family-friendly hotels in Kyoto for all budgets.

Kyoto is a historic city located in the Kansai region of Japan. It is known for its rich cultural heritage, stunning temples and shrines, traditional wooden houses, and beautiful gardens.

Kyoto served as the capital of Japan for over a thousand years, from 794 to 1868, during the Heian period through the Edo period. This long history has left a profound cultural and historical imprint on the city.

Kyoto is home to numerous temples and shrines, many of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Some of the most famous include Kiyomizu-dera (wooden stage with panoramic views of the city), Fushimi Inari Taisha (thousands of torii gates), Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion), and Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion).

The city is a hub for traditional Japanese culture. You can experience tea ceremonies, visit traditional geisha districts like Gion, and see the art of ikebana (flower arranging) and calligraphy.

Kyoto is one of the best places in Japan to view cherry blossoms (sakura) in spring. The city’s parks and temples become a sea of pink and white blossoms during this season.

The city has preserved its traditional wooden architecture, known as machiya. Strolling through neighborhoods like Gion or Higashiyama is like stepping back in time.

Kyoto is known for its refined and traditional Japanese cuisine, which includes kaiseki (a multi-course meal), yudofu (tofu hot pot), and matcha (green tea) sweets.

The city hosts various festivals throughout the year, including Gion Matsuri in July, which is one of Japan’s most famous festivals.

While Kyoto is known for its historical and traditional aspects, it is also a modern city with bustling neighborhoods, shopping districts, and contemporary cultural attractions.

Kyoto is well-connected by train to other major Japanese cities, including Tokyo and Osaka, making it a popular tourist destination.

Is Kyoto a good place to visit with family?

Yes, Kyoto is an excellent destination for families. Known for its rich history, stunning temples, and beautiful gardens, Kyoto offers a unique cultural experience. 

Families can explore historic sites, enjoy traditional tea ceremonies, and savor delicious cuisine. The city’s peaceful ambiance and scenic beauty make it a memorable family vacation destination.

Where to stay in Kyoto for families with kids?

The best areas to stay in Kyoto for families with kids are Downtown Kyoto, Gion and Higashiyama District, Kyoto Station, and Arashiyama. These are the most popular tourist areas in Kyoto, offering plenty of family-friendly attractions and accommodations for children of all ages.

If you want a central location with easy access to attractions, Downtown Kyoto or Kyoto Station may be suitable. If you’re looking for a more traditional and serene atmosphere, consider Gion and Higashiyama. Arashiyama is a great base for a peaceful and nature-centric experience.

Whichever area you choose, be sure to book your accommodations well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, and consider factors like proximity to public transportation and child-friendly amenities when making your decision.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Kyoto for families. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Kyoto
Map of the best areas to stay in Kyoto

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Kyoto, especially for families. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Kyoto have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

4 Best areas to stay in Kyoto with family:

1. Downtown Kyoto

Downtown Kyoto, particularly the Kawaramachi area, is a great place to stay with your family when visiting Kyoto. This area offers a mix of traditional and modern experiences, making it appealing to a wide range of travelers. 

Downtown Kyoto is well-connected by public transportation, with numerous train stations in the areas such as Gion Shijo Station (Keihan Line), Kawaramachi Station (Hankyu Line), and Sanjo Station (Keihan Line). This makes it convenient to take day trips to see attractions.

Kawaramachi is located in the heart of Kyoto, making it convenient for exploring the city’s top attractions. Many popular sites like Gion, Yasaka Shrine, and Kiyomizu Temple are within walking distance or a short bus or subway ride away.

Shijo Street (Shijo-dori) is the main street running through downtown Kyoto. It’s lined with shops, restaurants, department stores, and is a popular shopping destination for both locals and tourists. 

The street is particularly famous for Nishiki Market, a covered food market, home to more than a hundred stalls and shops that sell a wide range of Japanese foods and ingredients. You can find fresh seafood, pickles, vegetables, tofu, sweets, tea, and various street foods.

Other popular places to shop are the Teramachi Kyogoku Shopping Arcade, Shinkyogoku Shopping streets, as well as Daimaru and Takashimaya department stores. 

You can also take a relaxing boat ride along the Hozugawa River, which is enjoyable for both adults and children. The narrow, atmospheric alley, Pontocho Alley (Pontocho), runs parallel to the Kamo River and is famous for its traditional wooden buildings, lantern-lit restaurants, and teahouses.

Located slightly to the northwest of downtown Kyoto, Nijo Castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a historic monument. It’s known for its beautiful gardens, ornate interiors, and the Nightingale Floors that chirp when walked upon.

For manga enthusiasts, Kyoto International Manga Museum is a must-visit. It houses a vast collection of manga from around the world and is located in a former elementary school with an open-air courtyard filled with books.

Best places to stay in Downtown Kyoto for families with kids:

  • Luxury ($$$): Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandereverie, great 5-star family-friendly hotels, featuring spacious family-rooms, located close to the train stations, easy access to Gion Shijo Station, Kyoto International Manga Museum and Samurai Kembu Kyoto.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Rings Kyoto, great 4-star children-friendly accommodation, located in Central Kyoto, welcomes children of all ages. Children 13 years and above will be charged as adults at this hotel. Easy access to numerous great cafes, restaurants, and shops.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Forza Kyoto Shijo Kawaramachi, superb 3-star family-friendly hotel, centrally located in the Downtown Kyoto area, great breakfast. Close to Kyoto Shigaku Kaikan Conference Hall, Kyoto International Manga Museum and Samurai Kembu Kyoto.

2. Gion and Higashiyama District

Gion/Higashiyama District is one of the most popular areas to stay in Kyoto for families looking to experience the traditional and historic side of Kyoto.  

Gion and Higashiyama are some of the most picturesque and historically rich areas in Kyoto, located on the eastern side of the Kamo River. You’ll be surrounded by narrow cobblestone streets, traditional wooden machiya houses, and well-preserved temples and shrines.

Your family can easily explore iconic landmarks such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Yasaka Shrine, Path of Philosophy , and Maruyama Park, which is a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing (hanami) in the spring. 

These sites offer great opportunities for cultural exploration and photography. Located at the eastern end of Shijo Street, Yasaka Shrine is a historic Shinto shrine known for its beautiful lantern festival (Gion Matsuri) held in July.  

Gion is known for its geisha culture. While sightings are not guaranteed, you might have a chance to see maiko (apprentice geisha) in their traditional attire in the early evening.

Gion and Higashiyama are excellent areas for leisurely walks. You can explore the charming streets, visit shops selling traditional crafts, and enjoy the serene ambiance. Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka Streets are lined with traditional shops, tea houses, and restaurants. 

Some parts of Higashiyama can be hilly and involve a fair amount of walking. Be prepared for uphill and downhill stretches if you plan to explore the area on foot.

Accommodation in this area can be relatively expensive, especially for traditional ryokans and well-located guesthouses. But I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that suits your budget here. 

Best places to stay in Kyoto in Gion/ Higashiyama District with kids:

  • Luxury ($$$): Luxury hotel SOWAKA, this 5-star hotel welcomes cChildren older than 12 years. It is located in a fantastic position, within walking distance to many major attractions.
  • Mid-range ($$): Gion Elite Terrace, great 4-star hotel, welcomes Children of any age. Children 7 years and above will be charged as adults at this hotel. SHort walk from Gion Shijo Station, close to Samurai Kembu Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Shoren-in Temple. 
  • Budget ($): Gion Ryokan Q-beh, family-friendly traditional Japanese style inns, short walk from major attractions such as Yasaka Shrine, Kodaiji Temple, Maruyama Park, and Kiyomizu Temple.

3. Kyoto Station

The Kyoto Station area is a practical choice for families, especially if you value convenience and easy access to transportation. It’s suitable for families who prefer a more modern and urban environment but don’t mind taking short trips to experience Kyoto’s historical and cultural attractions.

Kyoto Station is a major transportation hub in the city. You’ll have easy access to trains, buses, and the Shinkansen (bullet train), making it convenient for day trips to nearby cities like Osaka and Nara.

The area around Kyoto Station is home to large shopping malls, such as Kyoto Station Building and Isetan Department Store. You’ll find a wide range of restaurants, both Japanese and international, making it easier to cater to varying tastes within your family.

This area has all the modern amenities you’d expect, including convenience stores, pharmacies, and even a cinema. Kyoto Aquarium, located nearby, is a great place for families to visit. 

There’s a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to mid-range and budget-friendly options, making it easier to find something that suits your family’s budget.

The area is generally flat and wheelchair-friendly, which can be advantageous for families with strollers or members with mobility challenges.

Kyoto Station is a busy transportation hub, and the immediate vicinity can get crowded at times, especially during rush hours.

Best places to stay in Kyoto Station with children:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Granvia Kyoto, excellent family-friendly 5-star hotel, located close to Kyoto Station’s shopping mall and museum. Short walk from Kyoto Tower. A short train ride from Kyoto Station to the iconic Arashiyama area and Fushimi Inari Shrine with hundreds of red gates. Short taxi/bus ride to the famous Kiyomizu Temple.
  • Mid-range ($$): Kyoto Hot Spring Hatoya Zuihokaku Hotel, 4-star kid-friendly hotel, located 5-minute walk from Kyoto Train Station’s Karasuma Gate, Kyoto Tower. Also a short train/ bus ride to Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kiyomizu Temple.
  • Budget ($): APA Hotel Kyoto Eki Higashi, a very popular children-friendly hotel, a short walk from restaurants, shops, and the train station for easy access to other parts of the city.

4. Arashiyama

Arashiyama is a wonderful experience for families visiting Kyoto, especially if you appreciate natural beauty and a more relaxed pace. 

Arashiyama is renowned for its stunning natural scenery. The area is famous for its bamboo groves, the Hozugawa River, and lush forests. Your family can enjoy serene walks through bamboo forests and along the riverbank.

There are several outdoor activities suitable for families, such as boat rides on the Hozugawa River, hiking in the nearby mountains, and visiting the Iwatayama Monkey Park, where you can see wild Japanese macaques up close.

Arashiyama offers a more tranquil and laid-back atmosphere compared to the bustling city center. It’s a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle and bustle.

You can explore beautiful temples and shrines in the area, such as Tenryu-ji Temple and the iconic Togetsukyo Bridge, which offers picturesque views.

If you’re interested in a traditional Japanese inn experience, there are ryokans (Japanese-style inns) in Arashiyama where you can stay and enjoy kaiseki meals and onsen (hot spring) baths.

Considerations: Arashiyama is located on the outskirts of Kyoto, so it takes some time to reach the city’s central attractions. Plan accordingly if you intend to visit places like Gion, Kinkaku-ji, or Fushimi Inari Shrine, as these will require longer commutes.

Best places to stay in Kyoto in Arashiyama with family:

  • Luxury ($$$): MUNI KYOTO by Onko Chishin, great 5-star accommodation, featuring family rooms, welcomes Children older than 12 years. Quiet location, easy access to major attractions.
  • Mid-range ($$): The GrandWest Arashiyama, 4-star kid-friendly accommodation located a 5-minute walk from Hankyu Arashiyama Station,  a 10-minute walk from Togetsu-kyo Bridge. Also close to Katsura Imperial Villa,  Tenryu-ji Temple, and Matsuo-taisha shrine.
  • Budget ($): Guesthouse Kyoto Arashiyama, 1-star family-friendly hotel, set in a fantastic location, easy access to attractions in Arashiyama.

In conclusion, Downtown Kyoto, Gion and Higashiyama District, Kyoto Station, and Arashiyama are the best places to stay in Kyoto for families with kids. These are safe central neighborhoods within plenty of kid-friendly accommodations for families of all budgets.

I also wrote an article about Kyoto for first-timers, you can check it at Where to stay in Kyoto for first time. In that article, I shared the place where I stayed in Kyoto.

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular areas and neighborhoods that you can stay during your family trip to Kyoto. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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