Let’s just admit it, travelers who plan a trip to Japan usually has the desire to try the sensation of staying in a ryokan, a Japanese traditional accomodation. How does it feel to stay in a room with tatami (Japanese mat) while wearing a yukata (thin kimono), and experience to stay in an authentic Japanese-style room for a while? Moreover if you travel to an old town like Kyoto that is still maintaing their strong local culture. Hmm, more or less it must be able to add up some touches of “authentic experience” while you are travelling to Japan. Don’t you agree?

Unfortunately, an authentic tourism experince may sometimes not be friendly with the budget. It is been widely known that staying in a ryokan would require a higher budget than staying on a regular hotel, or even a hostel.

If staying in a hostel with dormitory room type would require the budget starting from JPY 2000* (depends on which town to stay) and super standard hotel room is starting from around JPY 3000, then staying in a ryokan could require budget starting from more than ten thousands or even twenty thousands per night. Wow!

Luckily, there are still plenty of ryokan offering the prices that are relatively cheap and somewhat affordable for travelers with limited budget. For those who set Kyoto as their main destination while travelling to Japan, these 6 budget ryokan in Kyoto could be such a thumbs-up choices. Of course, these cheap prices have some “terms and conditions” applied.

One, ryokans that offer cheap price are usually cutting off the breakfast and dinner budget. So don’t be hopeful of getting the chance to taste Japanese menu on breakfast and dinner while staying in a budget ryokan.

Two, budget ryokans usually only offer sleeping facilities in Japanese-style room (futon mats, floor covered in tatami, and yukata rental), but it will not include extra facilities such as onsen. Even so, some budget ryokans do have a communal bath, so travelers can still experience the authentic sensation of staying.

Three, no matter how cheap is a budget ryokan could be, don’t compare it with hostel rate or even other budget hotel. So if you really want to try staying in a ryokan, you can start it with the spirit of trying something new to complete your vacation – because the experience of staying in a real ryokan would only be available in Japan.

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1. Let’s Start With Matsubaya Ryokan, A Budget Ryokan That Is Just A Couple Minutes of Walking From Kyoto Station.

Matsubaya Ryokan, via agoda
Matsubaya Ryokan, via agoda

As a town without an airport, Kyoto Station became the main entrance and exit of travelers who wants to visit Kyoto. That causes the area around Kyoto Station to be a special magnet for travelers who are looking for accomodation.

The problem is, it has been widely known that the closer an accomodation to the city center, the rental price would mostly be sky-rocketing as well. Not to mention that this is Kyoto, a town that makes a living from tourism business. But it turns out that not all accomodation in Kyoto has the price as high as a sky. Even there is a budget ryokan that you can access only by walking for 10 minutes, just like this Matsubaya Ryokan below:

Matsubaya Ryokan, via whereisfatboy.blogspot
Matsubaya Ryokan, via whereisfatboy.blogspot

Matsubaya Ryokan is one of the oldest ryokan, precisely it was established on 1884. As time goes by, this ryokan have gone through a series of renovation proccess. At the beginning, this ryokan building only consisted of two-storeys. Now, it consists of 5 storeys and is equipped with an elevator to ease the access for the guests.

Since the renovation procces was finished, this ryokan became more and more crowded with guests because the location is relatively close to some popular tourism objects in Kyoto such as Shosei-en Garden (200 meters), Kyoto Tower (700 meters), Higashi Hongan-ji Shrine (400-500 meters), and Nishi Hongan-ji Shrine (1 kilometers).

Lobby area, via agoda
Lobby area, via agoda

This ryokan has several room types. The smallest one is type-E room which is 3-tatamis wide (1 tatami is equal to 0,955 m x 1,91 m), while the largest one is type-F room which is 10 tatamis wide. Each room at this ryokan has been equipped with private bathroom, except for type-E one which is the smallest in the ryokan. But don’t worry as it doesn’t mean that the guest on type-E room can’t have a bath, as there is a shared bathroom that can be used for all the guests staying on type-E rooms.

The looks of the room atmosphere on this ryokan are more or less as below. All rooms have been equipped with various supporting stuffs such as kettle, toiletries (shampoo, soap, towel), hairdryer, TV, telephone, air cooler, and even yukata for the guests.

Guest room, via agoda
Guest room, via agoda
Guest room, via agoda
Guest room, via agoda
Guest room, via agoda
Guest room, via agoda
Seating area inside the room, via agoda
Seating area inside the room, via agoda
Kitchen area inside the room, via agoda
Kitchen area inside the room, via agoda

As an information, the rates of stayin on this ryokan doesn’t include meals. But, guests may order breakfast menu with additional fee, starting from JPY 500-900 (for western-style breakfast) and JPY 1000 (for Japanese style breakfast).

To get to enjoy the breakfast on this ryokan, guests might need to do a reservation before 09.00 PM on the previous night, and the breakfast time would start at 07.30 to 09.30. Unfortunately, this ryokan doesn’t provide dinner.

Dining area, via agoda
Dining area, via agoda
Garden, via agoda
Garden, via agoda

Address: Nishi-iru, Higashinotouin, Kamijuzuyamachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto
Telp: +81-75-351-3727, Fax: +81-75-351-3505
Access: 10 minutes of walking from Kyoto Station (±700 meters), 5 minutes of walking from Gojo Station (±400 meters)
Check in: 15.00, Check out: 10.00
Rate: starting from JPY 4400*/night or USD 39/night (for the 3-tatamis wide of single room) – JPY 37500*/night or USD 334/night (for the 10-tatamis wide of room). Kids below the age of 4-10 years get 30% off from adult rate Check Current Rate?
Facilities: breakfast (extra charge), free Wi-Fi in all rooms, elevator, vending machine, laundry, baggage storage, garden, payment with credit card or cash

Book now from Booking.com
Book now from Agoda.com
 

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2. For A More Economical Version Around Kyoto Station, Guesthouse with Ryokan Concept Such As Budget Inn Deserves to be Checked Out

Board of Budget Inn, via booking
Board of Budget Inn, via booking

Considering the fact that around Kyoto Station would always be the main target for travelers who visit Kyoto, it is nearly possible that the accomodation tariff around there would be sky-rocketing. Moreover if you insist of wanting to feel the staying experience in a ryokan which is identical with the word “expensive”, so be prepared to spend the budget up to more than 10,000 yens to taste the ryokan around Kyoto Station.

The building of Budget Inn, via booking
The building of Budget Inn, via booking

But relax, there is always a solution for every problem. If you “just want to experience staying in a ryokan”, then there’s nothing wrong to try a ryokan with hostel concept (or hotel with ryokan concept). One example of it is Budget Inn, a ryokan-style guesthouse which is only several minutes away of walking from Kyoto Station.

This ryokan is always a favorite for backpackers who want to feel the atmosphere of staying in a ryokan with the price of a hostel. Without a doubt, there will be “terms and conditions applied” if you wanna feel this ala-hostel frugal sensation.

Budget Inn, via booking
Budget Inn, via booking

One, the more members of your group to stay in together, the cheaper the price you will get because room for five is cheaper than the room for three people. Two, the more days you stay in a row, the price will get more economical as well (because staying for 10 days will be more frugal than staying for 1-2 days).

Three, room prices may change unexpectedly depending on whether it is high season or low season. So always check for the latest rate before deciding to stay at this ryokan.

By the way, here is about the room looks in Budget Inn. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom:

Each room is equipped with television, via booking
Each room is equipped with television, via booking
Room for 4-5 people, via booking
Room for 4-5 people, via booking

As a conclusion, there are some advantages from Budget Inn compared to other hotels or ryokans. At this ryokan, every staffs are fluent in english. So guests don’t need to worry about having difficulties in communicating while staying here.

Two, of course it is because of its location factor that is right at the city center. From this ryokan you only need 10 minutes of time to reach Higashi Hongan-ji Shrine and Nishi Hongan-ji Shrine. And, as this ryokan is quite close to Kyoto Station, it has already guaranteed the ease of access to reach various popular tourism objects in Kyoto. How fun, isn’t it? 

Address: 295 Aburanokojicho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8231
Telp: 075-344-1510
Access: 5-6 minutes of walking from Kyoto Station (±650 meters)
Check in: 16.00, Check out: 09.30
Rate: starting from JPY 7980* or USD 71/night (for a room of three people) or JPY 3660* or USD 32/person, up to JPY 14980* or USD 134/night (for a room of five people) Check Current Rate?
Facilities: room with AC, WiFi, laundry, internet, elevator

Book now from Agoda.com  

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3. Hanaki-ya, Economical Ryokan at The Historical District of Higashiyama

Hanaki-ya, via us.venere
Hanaki-ya, via us.venere

One of the popular tourism object in Kyoto is Higashiyama district. Besides having a strong old-times atmosphere, at this Higashiyama district there are plenty of famous tourism obects in Kyoto. Let’s say Kiyomizu-dera Shrine, Sanjusangen-do Shrine, Yasaka Shrine, Gion area, and much more. So don’t be surprised if there are many travelers who are intentionally looking for an accomodation at Higashiyama district.

Luckily, not every accomodation at Higashiyama has the pocket-draining tariff. Even there are some budget ryokan that are ready to welcome travelers who wish for a Japanese vacation experience without having to spend all the money they got.

One of those is Hanaki-ya, a budget ryokan that is only 5 minutes of walking away from Kiyomizu-dera Shrine and is about 15 minutes of walking to other popular tourism objects such as Gion area, Sanjusangendo Shrine, and Kyoto National Museum. It’s fun, isn’t it?

Hanaki-ya, via us.venere
Hanaki-ya, via us.venere

This Hanaki-ya has 2 buildings: main building and annex building, and both buildings are separated in only a couple minutes of walking. But still, guests must do the checking-in at the main building. After that, then the guest would be informed whether their room is located on the main building or the annex building.

Wait, what’s the difference between the rooms in main bulding and the ones in annex building? Actually those are just the same, as each room has been equipped with stuffs that more or less are just the same: room with tatami, futon bed, air cooler and heating, yukata, and towel.

The difference is the main building also doubles as the owner’s residence which is located on the second floor, while the annex building is purely for guests. So if you want to have a more private ambience without having to encounter with the ryokan owner’s family, maybe you can just ask to be put on the annex building.

The look from one of the room at Hanaki-ya, via us.venere
The look from one of the room at Hanaki-ya, via us.venere

Because the room size is not so wide, don’t expect you will find a private bathroom at this ryokan. Bathrooms to be used here are the shared bathrooms, but there will be shampoo and soaps provided for the guests.

And guests are also allowed to use the common room for eating, making beverages, using the microwave, or borrowing the computer that can be accessed for free. Additional information, guests must stay at least 2 nights at this ryokan.

Picture spams of other interior looks at Hanaki-ya can be seen as below:

Common room, via us.venere
Common room, via us.venere
Common room, via us.venere
Common room, via us.venere
Bathroom, via us.venere
Bathroom, via us.venere

Address: 583-101, Higashirokucyome, Gojobashi, Higashiyama, Kyoto 605-0846
Telp/fax: 81-75-551-1397
Access: a few minutes of walking from Gojozaka bus stop (via bus no 100 or 206)
Check in: 16.00-21.00, Check out: 10.00
Rate: JPY 7800* or USD 71/night (for twin room with the capacity of 2 people) or about JPY 3900* or USD 35/person/night, JPY 10800* or USD 96/night (for triple room) or about JPY 3600* or USD 32/person/night, JPY 1500* /USD 13 (for kids aged 0-3 years old). Kids aged 4-10 years old get 10% off from normal rates Check Current Rate?
Facilities: free drink (coffee, tea, green tea), free Wi-Fi, shared bathroom, luggage service starting from 13.00

Book now from Booking.com
Book now from Agoda.com 

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4. Tanaka-ya, Budget Ryokan at Miyagawa-cho, The District of Geisha in Higashiyama Area.

A Maiko is passing by in front of Tanaka-ya building, via agoda
A Maiko is passing by in front of Tanaka-ya building, via agoda

When talking about geisha (or “geiko” in Kansaian dialect) in Kyoto, usually people are instantly imagining of Gion. No wonder, as Gion is one of the most popular hanamachi (=district of geisha) in Kyoto. That is why many travelers are interested to find accomodations at Gion, to make it easy for them to see real geisha passing by the city streets.

But it also has been widely known if accomodation at Gion is relatively more expensive compared to other area. But no worries. Traveles with limited tour budget can check out the accomodations at other hanamachi, which might have more affordable rates than the accomodations at Gion. One of those that deserved to be looked at is Tanaka-ya, which is located around the hanamachi of Miyagawa-cho, Higashiyama.

Board of Tanaka-ya, via hotels
Board of Tanaka-ya, via hotels
The entrance of Tanaka-ya, via hotels
The entrance of Tanaka-ya, via hotels

Actually, Tanaka-ya is still in the same chain with Hanaki-ya. And, just like Hanaki-ya, Tanaka-ya also consists of 2 buildings: main building and the annex one. Travelers need to check in first at the main building, and after that then the guest might find out whether their room is at main building or the annex building.

All the rooms at Tanaka-ya are Japanese private rooms, with futon bed, tatami floor cover, and each is equipped with a number of other stuffs such as air cooler and heating, as well as Wi-fi. But, each room is not equipped with a bathroom, so guests need to take a shower at the shared bathrooms. Other additions, travelers are free to use the common room for eating, making beverages, etc.

Rooms at Tanaka-ya, via hotels
Rooms at Tanaka-ya, via hotels
Rooms at Tanaka-ya, via hotels
Rooms at Tanaka-ya, via hotels

Address: 5-352-8 Miyagawa-suji, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0801
Telp: 075-708-2341
Access: 7 minutes of walking from Kawaramachi Matsubara (via bus no 4, 17, or 205 from Kyoto Station)
Check in: 16.00-21.00, Check out: 10.00
Rate: starting from JPY 8400* or USD 75/night (for twin room with the capacity of 2 people) or about JPY 4200* or USD 37/person/night, starting from JPY 12000* or USD 106/night (for triple room) or about JPY 4000* or USD 37/person/night, JPY 1000* or USD 9 (for kids aged 0-3 years old) Check Current Rate?
Facilities: free Wi-Fi in all rooms

Book now from Booking.com
Book now from Agoda.com 

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5. Gion Ryokan Q-beh, Unique Ryokan That Is Not Far From Gion District

Gion Ryokan Q-beh, via agoda
Gion Ryokan Q-beh, via agoda

Looking for an accomodation around Gion that will not drain your pocket? Then you have to consider Gion Ryokan Q-beh.

Alright, the location of Gion Ryokan Q-beh is not right on the center of Gion district which is around Hanamikoji-dori. But this ryokan is just a few steps away from the geisha’s shrine, Yasaka Jinja, it is 5-6 minutes away to the center of Gion, and just a few minutes to reach various popular tourism objects in Kyoto such as Kodaiji Shrine, Higashiyama area, and of course Kiyomizudera Shrine. Even the rate is rather affordable, which is starting from JPY 3000* (for some types of room). How cool is it?

Other thing that makes this ryokan interesting is its various choices of accomodation type. Guests may choose to stay in a dormitory-type room (capacity of 8-10 beds) or the regular Japan-style room with the capacity of 2-4 people. Relax, the dormitory type was also designed with ryokan style, so don’t worry about losing the authentic staying experience if you choose this type of room.

The room atmosphere is about like this:

Dormitory-type room, via agoda
Dormitory-type room, via agoda
Regular tatami room, via agoda
Regular tatami room, via agoda
Tatami room, via agoda
Tatami room, via agoda
Tatami room, via booking
Tatami room, via booking

Just like any other budget ryokan, most rooms at this ryokan (except for the largest room) has no private bathroom. For bathing purpose, guests may use the shared bathroom. They also provide a common room to be used for various activities such as eating, drinking, cooking, and more.

Shared kitchen, via agoda
Shared kitchen, via agoda
Dining room, via agoda
Dining room, via agoda
Bathroom, via agoda
Bathroom, via agoda
Bathroom, via agoda
Bathroom, via agoda

Address: 505-3 Washio-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0072
Telp: 075-541-7771
Access: 5 minutes of walking from Higashiyama Yasui bus stop (via Kyoto City Bus no 206 from Kyoto Station)
Check in: 15.00-21.00, Check out: 08.00-12.00
Rate: starting from JPY 3000* or USD 27/night (dormitory-type room with the capacity of 8-10 people) and JPY 22000* or USD 196/night (room with the capacity of 3-5 people) Check Current Rate?
Facilities: Wi-Fi, washing machine and the dryer (using coins), air cooler, baggage drop off, AC, payment with cash/credit card

Book now from Booking.com
Book now from Agoda.com 

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6. Last But Not Least, There is A Ryokan Capsule For Those Who Want to Experience Staying in Both Capsule Hotel and Ryokan At the Same Time

Capsule Ryokan, via agoda
Capsule Ryokan, via agoda

Ryokan and capsule hotel are 2 kinds of unique accomodation in Japan that sometimes confuse the travelers with low budget and limited tour time. Which one is the best to choose, staying in a ryokan, or staying in a capsule hotel?

Now you don’t need to get confused anymore, as in Kyoto there is a unique ryokan that combines both concept of capsule hotel and ryokan, it is Capsule Ryokan. This hotel has 2 types of room : regular tatami room (10 square meters wide), and capsule room with tatami-covered floor which was claimed as “the first tatami capsule in the world”. The looks of both type of rooms are more or less like this:

Tatami capsule, via booking
Tatami capsule, via booking
Tatami capsule, via booking
Tatami capsule, via booking
Tatami room, via booking
Tatami room, via booking

That tatami capsule is pretty awesome, isn’t it? Even though it’s capsule shaped, tatami capsule has a strong Japanese ambience. That is because the hotel owner intentionally wish their guest to feel both the capsule hotel and ryokan atmosphere at the same time.

There are several plus points from Capsule Ryokan. Located very close to Kyoto Station and is quite close to various popular tourism objects such as Kyoto Tower, Nishi Hongan-ji Shrine, and Higashi Hongan-ji Shrine, the tariff to stay at this hotel is quite budget-friendly, which is starting from JPY 3500.

Not to mention that this hotel is equipped with plenty of supporting facilities to make it easy for guest with their tourism agenda, such as a large storage in lobby area, modern western-style bathroom, common room, kitchen, and much more.

Capsule Ryokan, via booking
Capsule Ryokan, via booking
Large storage at the lobby, via booking
Large storage at the lobby, via booking
Common room, via booking
Common room, via booking
Modern Bathroom, via booking
Modern Bathroom, via booking

Address: 204 Tsuchihashicho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8226
Telp: 075-344-1510
Access: 7 minutes of walking from Kyoto Station
Check in: 15.00-21.00, Check out: 08.00-12.00
Rate: starting from JPY 3500* or  USD 31/night (for tatami-capsule type) and JPY 7980* or USD 71/night (for tatami room with the capacity of 2 people) or JPY 3990* or USD 36/person/night Check Current Rate?
Facilities: Wi-Fi, washing machine and dryer (using coins), air cooler, baggage drop off, AC, payment with cash/credit card

Book now from Agoda.com 

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Those hotels mentioned above are just a few of budget ryokans in Kyoto. If you want a more complete experience of staying in a ryokan, don’t look for a budget ryokan. Instead, find one with complete facilities, such as one that is providing Japanese-style breakfast and dinner, having an onsen, private bathroom inside each room, and much more. The consequence is you need to prepare a higher budget, it could reach up to more than 10,000 yens per night.

 

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