Just because Kyoto is always a popular place to visit doesn’t mean it always has to be expensive.

If you’re traveling in Japan, the city of Kyoto is a must-visit…and odds are you already knew that. Japan’s pre-Tokyo capital has been at or near the top of model itineraries for years, and with good reason, as no other city can match Kyoto’s concentration of beautiful, culturally significant temples, shrines, and other historic sightseeing locations.

Of course, the downside to being such an attractive travel destination is that Kyoto is also one of the most expensive cities in Japan to try to find accommodations in. However, there are still bargains if you know where to look, and our recent search for budget lodgings in Kyoto turned up one place that was charging only 1,800 yen (US$16.70) for the night!

Right off the bat, we should mention that the place we found, One More Heart’s Nijo Castle branch, is a guest house, not a full-fledged hotel. That means there are common-use areas, like a lounge and kitchen, that you share with other guests. However, for just 1,800 yen our reporter Mai was able to book a private room, not a shared sleeping space in a bunk bed-filled compartment.

While you’d never mistake it for a suite in terms of floor space, Mai had enough room to stretch out, relax, and snap selfies without banging her elbow into the wall. Her room was outfitted with a heater/air conditioner, mini refrigerator, hair dryer, electric hot water kettle, TV, cups, and a mirror, pretty much all you need to stay comfortable while resting from or gearing up for a day exploring Kyoto. Guests also receive slippers, a toothbrush, and green tea teabags upon check-in.

But what’s really nice is that the room Mai booked (which, again, cost just 1,800 yen) has its own attached private bathroom and shower, pretty much an unheard-of luxury in a guest house. Shampoo and conditioner are provided, as are three kinds of soap (body, facial, and hand) plus plenty of towels, and everything was scrubbed clean to a sparkly shine.

If you need a clothes iron, trouser press, or USB cables, just ask the staff, and they’ll loan you one free of charge. The Wi-Fi is also free, allowing you to search online for local sightseeing info or check in with work if you’re a mobile professional who’s snuck out of the office for a few days for a pleasure trip to Kyoto but need to touch base with the people who’re covering for you while you’re gone.

And while there’s a charge to use them, Mai was still thankful that One More Heart rents out bicycles, since Kyoto’s buses can get incredibly crowded on the most popular tourism-related routes.

▼ One More Heart’s signage is consistently bilingual, in Japanese and English.

And if you’re thinking all this affordability comes with a trade-off of sub-par hospitality, think again. When Mai showed up at One More Heart’s entrance at 2 p.m., two hours before her scheduled check-in time, all she wanted to do was see if she could leave her suitcase there. Instead, the friendly employee told her that since the room she was going to be using was already empty, she could check in right away, essentially comping her an extra two hours of guest house use.

As with many guest houses, One More Heart’s rates fluctuate depending on specific dates and room types. But with 11 branches, eight of which are located in Kyoto, you’ve got a lot of options in finding a great deal, and that many fewer excuses not to visit Kyoto.

Guest house information
One More Heart (Nijo Castle) / ワンモアハート 二条城
Address: Kyoto-fu, Nakagyo-ku, Juraku Mawari Higashimachi 6-1

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