Even if you’ve never been to Japan, you’ve most likely heard of Kyoto, one of most-visited tourist sites in the world. With Kyoto being home to 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there are a number of monumental temples and shrines. In addition, you can enjoy beautiful nature, unique food and cultures, and find communities that facilitate your creativity.
Read on to find out why we love Kyoto as a workation destination.
In Kyoto, you will enjoy multitudes of different experiences. From visiting historical sites and savoring local cuisines to taking a pottery-making class and mingling with local creatives, Kyoto will surely keep you hooked.
From left to right: Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Kinkakuji Temple, Sanjyusangen-do
From left to right: Obanzai cuisine, Yatsuhashi, Matcha parfait, Wagyu(Japanese beef) ramen
From left to right: BnA Alter Museum Kyoto, Kagan Hotel, ARTISTS’ FAIR KYOTO, TouchDesigner Kyoto
Now you know that Kyoto is a place with so many tourist destinations, you might be concerned that they’d completely distract you from focusing on work and securing an environment suitable for working.
However, that is really not the case. Especially around these tourist sites, you often find worker-friendly cozy cafes and restaurants with fast Wi-Fi. That means you can easily fit in both work and leisure in a day without too much hustle.
For example, it is entirely possible for you to spend a day like this - take 1hour train ride from Kyoto station in the morning, visiting the famous bamboo forest and Togetsukyo bridge in Arashiyama, walking by the Katsura river, working at a nearby cozy cafe in the Fukuda museum for few hours, and coming back to the Kyoto station to get some Obanzai cuisine for dinner.
As you can imagine, the accommodation pricing in Kyoto can go up during the peak seasons(late-March to mid-April, and mid-November to early-December), and the city might be crowded with tourists. If you keep this in mind and plan wisely, you will be surprised by how affordable and comfortable your workation in Kyoto can be.
Kyoto is a perfect place to enjoy the fusion of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture and city ambience. Likewise, you have miscellaneous options for accommodations from old Japanese-style hotels to vibrant modern hotels with social scenes and everything in-between.
Here are some of the interesting places we love -
Unknown Kyoto is a mixed-use facility with a restaurant, bar, and co-working space. This building was renovated from formerly a red-light district, and now became a community hub where locals and visitors get together and mingle. It is conveniently located within 10 minutes from the Kyoto station area, and even if you choose to stay at a different location, you can always drop-in at their co-working space for a fairly cheap price. This is a great place to live within a history-rich place with Japanese sensibilities.
🚃 Access: Kyoto Shimgyo-ward, Hiraicho, 55-1 (4 min walk from Kiyomizu-Gojyo station, accessible by taxi from Kyoto station and Kawaramachi station)
🛌 Room rates: ≒ ¥4,000(dormitory, single) - ¥13,000 (private triple room)
⏱ Co-working space business hours: Drop-in: Mon-Sat 10am - 7pm Full-time members: 24 hours
💰 Co-working space rates: Full-time membership: ¥11,000/month Weekend membership: ¥4,400/month Drop-in: 2hrs/ ¥550, 5hrs/ ¥1,100, All-day/ ¥1,650 (1 drink included in all the pricings)
The Millennials Kyoto
The Millennials hotel is an innovative budget-friendly facility with dormitory-style capsule accommodation and a variety of shared facilities including co-working space. They have several locations in Japan, including The Millenials Kyoto. There is a wide range of amenities available from basic towels to ear plugs and iPod Touch. There is a working lounge perfect for workationers and also unique complimentary services such as free coffee, breakfast, and even beer for happy hours.
🚃 Access: 235 Yamazaki-cho, Nakagyo Ward, Kyoto (5 min walk from Kawaramachi station on the Hankyu Railway, 4 min walk from Shiyakusho-mae station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Tozai Line)
🛌 Room rates: ≒ ¥2,000(dormitory, capsule, semi-double bed) - ¥3,500 (dormitory, smart pod with telework pod) - discount available if you have .andwork membership
⏱ Co-working space(.andwork) business hours: 8am - 10pm
💰 Co-working space rates (same rate for hotel guests): Drop-in: ¥600/hr, All-day/ ¥2,000 (Drink bar, free beer, nap room, and shower use included)
Webase Kyoto is Japan’s largest community hostel and is a perfect choice for budget-conscious single workationers. Despite its affordable pricing, you can get freshly-baked bread and coffee for free, and multi-lingual support is provided throughout your stay. They have a big lounge with a cute cat sculpture where you can freely work from and interact with other fellow workationers. You will also enjoy their open bookshelf filled with more than 1,000 English and Japanese books.
🚃 Access: 436-1, Iwatoyama-cho, Shimogyo-ku Kyoto-city (5 min walk from Shijyo station on the Karasuma Line, 7min walk from Karasuma station on Hankyu-Kyoto Line)
🛌 Room rates: ≒ ¥2,800(dormitory) - ¥5,000 (private room with bath and toilet)
Taikoukyo Co-Living Apartment has been registered as a Tangible Cultural Property since September, 2019, giving a good-old Japanese traditional house a new life to accommodate visitors from all around the world.
Here, you can experience living in a traditional Japanese house and join in various activities such as Soba noodle making and pottery-making.
This building also has a co-working space adjacent to the main building, so you will not waste time and money for finding a space.
🚃 Access: Co-working space - 26 Yamadaminami-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto city (10 min walk from Hankyu Railway Kamikatsura station)
🛌 Room rent: ¥64,000/month (Single bed room) - utility bills, Wi-Fi, amenities, free access to co-working space included
⏱ Co-working space business hours: Weekdays : 10am - 6pm Saturday, Sunday & National holidays : Closed
💰 Co-working space rates (Tax inclu., no registration fee required): Full-time membership: ¥16,500/month Drop-in: ¥2,200/day
Kyoto isn’t just a tourist destination, but is often chosen as a place to live and settle. Many people from all over the world are drawn to Kyoto and intend to live there for decades.
That’s partly why you find many tightly-knit local communities around Kyoto. These communities and businesses often collaborate with each other, creating synergy
Here, we’ll show you some of our favorite co-working spaces and communities.
Garden Lab is a co-working facility in a Japanese machiya style building providing members with a comfortable workplace and various events. The first floor is equipped with bar-style counter seating and comfortable armchairs which are perfect for mingling with other visitors, and on the second floor you will find work desks and a reading nook, which are suitable for when concentration is required. They provide a Daily Pass for drop-in visitors, and each pass uniquely allows you to tear it in half and use it as a half-day pass.
🚃 Access: 682-6 Ishifudonocho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto (7 min walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo station, 8 min walk from Kawaramachi station)
⏱ Business hours: Everyday 9:00am - 6:00pm
💰 Rates (each can become half-day pass of 20 and 10 respectively): Daily Pass booklet of 10: ¥24,750, Daily Pass booklet of 5: ¥13,750
ImpactHub is a global network with a number of locations that encourages people who are dedicated to creating innovative solutions for a sustainable world. With the concept of “Art of Living” , ImpactHub Kyoto offers a range of functional spaces to accommodate different kinds of activities and non-activities. Not only will you be able to use their co-working area for an astonishingly affordable price, you can also join their variety of workshops and entrepreneurial programs.
🚃 Access: 97 Kainokamicho, Kamigyo Ward, Kyoto (13min walk from Imadegawa station, or 3min walk from Horikawa Nakadachiuri bus station)
⏱ Business hours: Mon-Fri 10am - 8pm (Closed on national holidays)
💰 Rates: Drop-in - All-day/ ¥1,000 (healthy drinks and snacks, nap space included) Membership - Hub50 (50 hours a month)/¥5,000 per month (drop-in perks included) Hub100(100 hours a month)/¥10,000 per month (drop-in perks, free printing of 30 pages per month, private locker, virtual business address included)
Renovated from a then-traditional Japanese house with 120 years of history, FabCafe Kyoto is a center of innovations that connects local and global communities. They regularly host unique and exciting events and hackathons that bring local and international communities together. They accept applications for their project-in-residence program CounterPoint, to encourage eccentric public experiments by individuals who are driven by deep passion. There you will find a great community of innovators and myriads of collaboration opportunities. If you become a program member, you can receive a discount and free access to event space and tools like 3D printers.
🚃 Access: 554 Motoshiogamacho, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, 600-8119 (5 min walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo station, 20 min walk from Kyoto station)
⏱ Business hours: Tue-Sat 11am - 9pm (Closed on Mondays and Sundays)
💰 Cafe unit price (Discount available for CounterPoint members): Soft drinks (≒ ¥600-700), Sandwiches, dessert (≒ ¥700-750)
Kyoto itself is a great place for a longer stay and we’re sure you won’t get enough of the place. However, for those pro-workationers who hope to get the best out of their time, you can easily take a day trip to nearby cities such as Osaka, Kobe, and Nara.
See below for access and signature experience in each area:
Osaka, one of the biggest cities in Japan, is known as “Japan’s Food Center”. You will find a number of unique, tasty local street foods such as Takoyaki (fried octopus balls) and Kushikatsu (deep-fried skewered meat). If you are more into experiences in nature, you can find beautiful mountains and seaside locations on the west side.
🚃 Access [Kyoto sta. to Osaka sta.]: 47min via Tokaido-Sanyo Line(JR West) toward Kakogawa station
⏱ Frequency: Every 10 to 20 min
💰 Fare: ¥570
Unsplash | Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge
Kobe is the most famous port city in Japan, and was one of the cities to open for trade with the West following the end of the policy of seclusion in the mid-19th century. You will find historical, Western-style homes built by foreign merchants and diplomats. This city is also surrounded by mountains and blessed with a beautiful sea.
🚃 Access [Kyoto sta. to Kobe sta.]: 1hr 10min via Tokaido-Sanyo Line (JR West) toward Himeji station ⏱ Frequency: Every 10 to 20 min 💰 Fare: ¥1,100
Nara was the first capital of Japan during the 6th century and flourished as a center of Buddhism. There are a number of magnificent temples and shrines in Nara, including Horyuji Temple, the oldest wooden structure in the world and Japan’s first World Heritage Site.
🚃 Access [Kyoto sta. to Nara sta.]: 1hr via Nara Line (JR West) bound for Nara station
⏱ Frequency: Every 30 min
💰 Fare: ¥720
In Kyoto, not only will you be able to immerse yourself in the rich Japanese history and cultures, but you can also encounter diverse communities of creatives working on innovative projects.
You will get a good balance of work and vacation with an abundance of nice cozy small cafes with Wi-Fi around the city. Whether it’s working from the city, nature, or historical areas, Kyoto will give you a freedom to select an environment that meets your needs for the day.
🚃 How to get to Kyoto: Kyoto is about 1 to 1.5 hours away from Tokyo by flight (one-way trip: ≒ US$50-100), 2.5 to 3.5 hours by Shinkansen(bullet train) (one-way trip: ≒ US$120-170), 6.5 to 7.5 hours by express bus shuttle (one-way trip: ≒ US$20-40).
Interested in going on workation in Kyoto? Check out our selections of co-working hubs in Kyoto from here.