Where to Stay Instead When Kyoto Is Fully Booked

Kyoto, a city steeped in history and culture, beckons travelers year-round with its captivating beauty. Whether you’re seeking the vibrant hues of cherry blossoms in spring, the lush greenery of summer, the fiery foliage of autumn, or the tranquil serenity of winter, Kyoto has something to offer during every season.

However, this popularity comes at a cost – Kyoto’s hotel prices can skyrocket, often reaching three to five times their usual rates during these peak seasons. Booking a room can be a daunting challenge, leaving many visitors wondering where to turn when Kyoto is fully booked.

In this guide, we’ll navigate the sea of fully booked accommodations and offer you a range of fantastic alternatives in nearby cities. Whether you’re seeking convenience, affordability, or a blend of both, these options will ensure that your autumn adventure in the Land of the Rising Sun is as unforgettable as the foliage itself.

Osaka – Osaka Station (Umeda)

Osaka is a bustling transportation hub, the heart of the city, with JR lines, Hankyu lines, and Osaka Metro. Take the JR Special Rapid train, and you can reach Kyoto Station in 28 minutes for 580 yen. Alternatively, take the Hankyu Line, which takes 43 minutes to reach downtown Kawaramachi in Kyoto for 410 yen.

Osaka – Shin-Osaka Station

Shin-Osaka is home to the Osaka Shinkansen (bullet train) station. You can take the Shinkansen and reach Kyoto station just 13 minutes, but it comes at a higher cost, approximately 3,000 yen. Alternatively, you can take the JR Special Rapid train, which takes 25 minutes and costs 580 yen.

Osaka – Takatsuki

Takatsuki City, a small city in Osaka Prefecture near Kyoto, offers convenient and affordable access to Kyoto. Take the JR Special Rapid train for a 12-minute ride to JR Kyoto Station, costing 410 yen. On the Hankyu Line, it’s 21 minutes to downtown Kawaramachi for 290 yen. Takatsuki has several upscale department stores and good amenities.

Nara Station

Nara, the former capital before Kyoto, boasts historical charm and numerous attractions. It’s a 35-minute ride to Kyoto Station on the Kintetsu Express, costing 1,280 yen, or a 44-minute ride on the JR Rapid train for 720 yen. Staying near Kintetsu Nara Station is recommended as it’s closer to Nara’s famous sightseeing spots.

  • Henn na Hotel Nara: Just 2 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, a comfortable chain hotel with modern facilities.
  • IROHA GRAND HOTEL Kintetsu-Nara: A newly opened hotel in 2022, a 2-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station.
  • Nara Hotel: A renowned upscale hotel with a rich history, just a 5-10 minute free shuttle ride to Kintetsu Nara Station or JR Nara Station.
  • Hotel Nikko Nara: A high-end hotel connected to JR Nara Station.

Nara – Uji

Uji is a town known for matcha (green tea) situated between Kyoto and Nara. It’s 30 minutes by JR Nara Line to Kyoto Station and 30 minutes by Keihan Line to Higashiyama. There aren’t many hotel options in Uji.

Otsu Station

Otsu is located on the shores of Lake Biwa in neighboring Shiga Prefecture. It’s connected to Kyoto by two rail lines: the Keihan Keishin Line, which directly connects to the Kyoto subway Tozai Line (20 minutes to Higashiyama), and JR railways, where it’s a 9-minute ride to JR Kyoto Station.

  • Biwako Hotel: A high-end resort hotel by Lake Biwa, offering beautiful lake views. Conveniently located near the Keihan Keishin Line for access to Higashiyama. It’s also a 10-minute walk to JR Otsu Station, with a free hotel shuttle available.
  • Hotel Tetora Otsu.kyoto: Adjacent to JR Otsu Station, a business hotel. A 10-minute walk to Keihan Keishin Line.
  • HOTEL KOO Otsuhyakucyo: Looking for a traditional yet affordable alternative to Kyoto’s machiya-style lodgings? This hotel combines design with traditional ambiance. It’s about an 8-minute walk to both JR and Keihan Keishin Lines.

Otsu – Ishiyama

Ishiyama, located south of Otsu, has both JR and Keihan rail lines. It takes 16 minutes to reach Kyoto Station directly or 24 minutes with a transfer to Higashiyama.

Otsu – Seta

Seta, to the east of Otsu, takes 18 minutes to reach Kyoto Station directly, or half an hour with a transfer to Higashiyama.

With these alternative accommodations in and around Kyoto, you can enjoy the enchanting autumn foliage season without worrying about fully booked hotels. Each of these options offers a unique experience, whether you’re seeking proximity to Kyoto’s attractions, budget-friendly stays, or a blend of both. Your autumn adventure in Japan awaits!

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