Kyoto's Top Tourist Attractions and Best Apartment Hotels for Your Stay

Kyoto's Top Tourist Attractions and Best Apartment Hotels for Your Stay
| 10 min read

Once the capital of Japan, the city of Kyoto is steeped in history. Despite taking the brunt of the wars during its reign as the capital, many of its historical buildings have survived, including regal palaces and serene temples. Kiyomizudera Temple is one of the most outstanding examples of this, and its renowned veranda features traditional Japanese construction done without nails. For an unforgettable experience, plan a longer stay in the month of August to get a glimpse of Sento-Kuyo, also known as the Thousand Lantern Memorial Service. Held in Adashino Nenbutsuji Temple, this festival honors the dead with thousands of candles.

Being a popular destination, Kyoto sees many tourists throughout the year, so it’s ideal to book a hotel in advance to ensure a comfortable stay. If you’re looking to stay for a week or two, consider booking your accommodation in a Minn Apartment Hotel. Combining the convenience of a hotel with the comfort of an apartment, these hotels have homelike amenities, including a kitchen where you can prepare your favorite foods and a washing machine to keep your wardrobe fresh during your stay. You’ll be able to experience living like a local in Kyoto while enjoying the freedom that a hotel provides.

So, if you’ve been wondering, “Where should I stay in Kyoto?” Then keep reading to learn more about Kyoto’s top tourist attractions and the best apartment hotels for your stay.

Kyoto's best apartment hotels and top tourist attractions nearby

1. Minn Gion

If you’re looking for an apartment hotel that offers easy access to some of the top things to do in Kyoto, Minn Gion will be perfect for you. Located within walking distance to Sanjō Keihan Station, this hotel is a favorite amongst tourists. After your adventures outside, head to their sauna to soak away your worries.

In your room, you’ll find everything you need, including a kitchen stocked with cooking basics, an air purifier, and a washing machine to help you do your chores. Do note that the hotel doesn’t provide complimentary plastic toiletries or toothbrushes. However, should you forget to pack yours, you can easily purchase a toothbrush and even nightclothes for as little as 200 JPY (1.35 USD) and 600 JPY (4.06 USD) respectively.

Minn Gion

Address: 342-3 Miyoshicho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

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If you’re looking for attractions in Kyoto that are near the hotel, check these out!

Hanamikoji Street

Located in the heart of Gion, Hanamikoji Street is a 1-km (0.62-mi) stretch of cobblestone lined by machiya (wooden townhouses). While the southern portion of this street holds on to tradition, the northern portion is a lively modern hub. But, no matter which part of Hanamikoji Street you visit, it’ll be lit up at night with lanterns and flooded with tourists eager to explore. Do be sure to check out Ichiriki Ochaya, the oldest tea house in Gion and the setting for Arthur Golden’s book, “Memoirs of a Geisha.” If you want to experience wearing a kimono, there’s a large rental store along the street where they’ll help you don one of these traditional Japanese garments.

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Yasaka Shrine

Another gem in Gion, Yasaka Shrine has been part of Kyoto’s story since before 794 and is a beloved and well-preserved landmark. Visitors flock to the shrine to pray to the enshrined deity, Susanoo-no-Mikoto. His wife and children are also enshrined in the main sanctuary. In the month of July, the month-long Gion Matsuri (Gion Festival) is celebrated here.

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Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

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Posted by Tokyo Samurai Museum on Thursday, December 10, 2020

Kyoto Samurai and Ninja Museum with Experience

This exquisite museum calls to history buffs, especially those fascinated by the martial arts, and a visit here is one of the best things to do in Kyoto. You’ll be able to enjoy a fully guided tour of the museum, which houses ancient armor, weapons and artifacts.

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2. Minn Sanjo

Don’t know where to stay in Kyoto? Minn Sanjo is an incredible option close to many attractions. Simply whip up a quick breakfast in the kitchen before you put on your walking shoes and head out for an adventure! For those planning to stay in for a while, the TV and free Wi-Fi will keep you entertained. The hotel even has a sauna for true indulgence.

If you like to have your own private nook to people-watch from, book Minn Sanjo’s Deluxe 5 Beds with Roof Balcony Access. It can accommodate up to five people comfortably and, as the name suggests, has a lovely furnished balcony to relax on.

Minn Sanjo

Address: 18 Higashiiri Sanchome, Sanjo-dori Ohashi Bridge, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

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Minn Sanjo has a range of attractions close by. Here are a few worth adding to your itinerary.

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Once home to the imperial family, Kyoto Imperial Palace is a wonderful addition to any itinerary. It’s set in Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, which also houses Sento Imperial Palace, the former abode of retired emperors.

If you’re wondering, “When is the best time to visit Kyoto?” Well, if you visit the garden during spring, you can spend your time walking around and admiring the cherry trees. A visit during autumn, meanwhile, will grant you unmatched views of trees bedecked in hues of orange and red.

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Maruyama Park and Kyoto City Zoo

Maruyama Park and Kyoto City Zoo are both fun spots to go to if you’re looking for family-friendly activities. To see the beauty of Maruyama Park at its peak, visit Kyoto during the spring. Meanwhile, friendly and adorable red pandas await visitors at Kyoto City Zoo.

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Nanzenji Temple

Nanzenji Temple, with a history spanning several centuries, is a testament to the resilience of the land. It was established in the mid-13th century, however, the temple’s buildings were destroyed in wars and had to be rebuilt. So while you may not see the original structure, the temple today stands tall and proud and makes for a fascinating stop. Do keep in mind that you’ll have to pay to enter Sanmon Gate and the temples on the premises.

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Nishiki Market

With over 100 shopping and eating outlets lining its sides, Nishiki Market is a bustling street stretching out over 5 blocks. This is a paradise for foodies and has enough variety to ensure that visitors discover something new with each visit. What’s more, most products sold here are locally produced, so you’ll be supporting the community while you shop!

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3. Minn Nijo-jo

Not only is Minn Nijo-jo close to several tourist attractions in Kyoto, Japan, but it also offers gorgeous interiors and every modern comfort imaginable for a longer stay. This includes weekly housekeeping for guests staying longer than one week.

Book the Sai or Ryu options for accommodation complete with all the amenities you need, including a kitchen and in-room washing machine. Do note, however, that condiments aren’t provided.

Minn Nijo-jo

Address: 17-1 Shinsenen-cho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

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Minn Nijo-jo is set in one of the best areas in Kyoto. Here are its most fascinating attractions.

Nijo Castle

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nijo Castle is one of Japan’s most impressive historical structures. It’s also the biggest castle in Kyoto and aptly demonstrates the grandness of the era it was built in. The grounds are divided into three parts: Honmaru, Ninomaru, and the gardens that surround them, so be sure to set aside a good chunk of your day to explore everything. Be sure to visit Ninomaru Garden, which was designed by famous landscape architect Kobori Enshu.

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Kyoto Teramachi and Shinkyogoku Shopping Street

Two of Kyoto’s most popular covered shopping arcades, Teramachi and Shinkyogoku are complete opposites in terms of the products they sell. While Shinkyogoku has cheesy but fun souvenirs aimed at tourists, Teramachi appeals to a different crowd with its quaint bookstores and art galleries. This area is also only 2.5 km (1.55 mi) from Minn Nijo-jo.

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Kyoto International Manga Museum

If you’re a manga lover, this beautiful museum is where you’ll find your solace. It has a collection going all the way back to the 17th-century Edo period, so history buffs will also be fascinated. While you’re here, check out the museum’s Wall of Manga, where you’ll find 50,000 books.

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Arashiyama Togetsu Bridge

This bridge is set over the lovely Katsura River and lined by Arashiyama Mountains, and it has been a fixture in the Arashiyama district for over four centuries. You’ll have incredible views from here, so keep your camera ready for those Instagram-worthy shots! To visit the bridge while staying at Minn Nijo-jo, simply walk to Omiya Station, around 10 minutes away, and take a train to Arashiyama Station. The bridge will be a three-minute walk from here.

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4. Minn Kiyomizu Gojo

Minn Kiyomizu Gojo offers great amenities to go with its convenient location, including premium suites that can accommodate five people and Japanese-style rooms for an authentic stay. All options have a bath, so you can enjoy a soothing soak before bed. Other enjoyable amenities include free Wi-Fi and an air purifier to ensure you get a good night’s sleep.

For those who are planning to take in all the sights, one of the city’s major railway hubs, Kyoto Station, is just 10 minutes from Minn Kiyomizu Gojo, so you can easily travel wherever you wish.

Minn Kiyomizu Gojo

Address: 4-432-6 Gojobashi Higashi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

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Minn Kiyomizu Gojo is located in Higashiyama Ward, a historic area that preserves its ancient charm. The attractions here are an interesting blend of modern and ancient. Check them out!

Kyoto Tower

Kyoto Tower, the tallest building in the city, is an iconic landmark that can be found in almost every list of places to visit in Kyoto. Its famed observation deck is 100 m (328.08 ft) off the ground and offers an unforgettable panoramic view of Kyoto. What’s more, the telescopes can be used free of charge for a closer look! When you’re done gazing at the view, visit Kyoto Tower Sando to explore its food hall and souvenir market.

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Start your day with a spot of sightseeing in Kyoto. Founded in 778, Kiyomizu-dera Temple is an integral part of Kyoto’s history and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend your time on its well-known wooden terrace, which connects to its main hall and provides a panoramic view of the surrounding cherry and maple trees. Both the main hall and the terrace were built in a traditional style without the use of nails. Also located at the base of the hall is Otowa Waterfall, where you can drink from any of its three streams.

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Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari Shrine is known for its 10,000 torii gates that create a brightly colored tunnel, and it has a special significance to the people. It is the most important shrine built for Inari, the Shinto God of rice. Thus, you’ll find people coming here not only to admire the beautiful structure, but also to pay their respects to Inari. At the back of the property is the start of a hiking trail covered with torii gates, so gear up and wear comfortable shoes if you’re planning to embark on this journey. This is one of the best things to do in Kyoto, especially when the weather is nice, so don’t hesitate to add it to your itinerary!

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Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka

If visiting charming cobblestone streets to look at historic buildings is your idea of the perfect day out in Kyoto, Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka are your best bets. Combine the past and the present with a visit to the Starbucks outlet in Ninenzaka, which is housed in a 100-year-old building. There are also various souvenir shops here that you can visit. Meanwhile, Sannenzaka draws visitors with its sweet shops, such as Sanneizaka Marun, where you’ll find a vast array of candy that’s too pretty to eat!

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Other popular attractions in Kyoto

Kyoto has enough attractions to keep your curiosity piqued for a good while. One of them is Kinkaku-ji, also known as Golden Pavilion, which lives up to its name thanks to its golden exterior.

Meanwhile, Fushimi Inari Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its winding tunnels made of 10,000 traditional torii gates. Once you’ve explored these two, head to Gion to catch a rare glimpse of a geisha or visit one of its traditional teahouses.

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Why Minn apartment hotels?

Kyoto is an old and distinguished city that possesses a noble air, much like the historical figures who lived in this ancient capital. That’s why the Minn apartment hotels in the city are all thoughtfully designed to adhere to the elegant aesthetics that is part of what makes the city a cultural treasure.

As your second home, Minn assures well-appointed accommodations available in both traditional and modern styles. Their Japanese rooms are particularly attractive if you’re looking forward to a culturally immersive stay. The special Sai and Ryu rooms of Minn Nijo Castle even include shoji screens for their sleeping area. Other locations such as Minn Sanjo and Minn Kiyomizu Gojo have tatami spaces so you can enjoy meals and moments of relaxation like a local would.

Moreover, each Minn apartment hotel is close to train stations and beloved attractions, so you can expect convenience on top of quality of accommodations. These wonderful apartment hotels are fantastic home-away-from-home options whether you’re here for a short-term vacation or an extended stay.

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Check out more Minn apartment hotels here

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Experience the best of Kyoto

In case you’re looking to stay close to Kyoto instead of inside city limits, do consider Minn Juso and Minn Shin Osaka, both of which offer easy access to Kyoto along with the chance to see the wonderful city of Osaka.

Minn Juso, for instance, is located close to Kita Ward, a lively commercial district filled with hip restaurants and attractions such as Umeda Sky Building. The latter features a glass-covered atrium space with staggering views of the city. The hotel is also only a five-minute walk from Juso Station, so you can easily travel to Kyoto.

Meanwhile, Minn Shin Osaka is within walking distance from Shin-Osaka Station, allowing you to come and go as you please. It’s also close to fascinating spots, such as Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka, which looks like art in itself.

If you’ve ever wanted to visit the historic city of Kyoto and were confused about where to start, make your travel plans smooth by following our guide to Kyoto, Japan’s, tourist attractions and best apartment hotels for your stay.

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Having grown up in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, I've spent my whole life surrounded by a vibrant culture and the greenest of trees. My curiosity for the great beyond eventually led me into the...Read more

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