Where to stay in Osaka, Nara & Kyoto?
Traveling in Japan is awesome, but there is one thing that worries a lot of people. Yes, you guessed it, hotels. Hotels in Japan are known to be very small and expensive. No matter your budget you have a high risk to be disappointed. And let’s be honest, after a long day of visiting, the least is to have a hotel that satisfies you a minimum. We stayed Kansai for 5-6 days, and we were lucky enough to be in what was for us the best hotels in Osaka, Nara and Kyoto.
Regarding hotels we try to not write about hotels we didn’t stayed in, no matter the reviews. And this time we stayed in 3, one in each city we visited. So here is a short post about these 3 hotels and why. As a traveler, if you want to pick the economic and a good-quality hotels, there are some best hotel choices for Kansai (Osaka, Nara & Kyoto). The best hotels in this article are especially recommended for couple traveler 😛
Best Osaka Hotel
We stayed in Hotel Vertex Osaka when we went to Osaka, which was the first city we visited. In total we spent 2 nights there and we absolutely loved it!
We were surprised when we walked inside the room because the hotel is very clean and tidy as a whole. The staffs there are also very friendly and talked good English. They did their best to help us. The check in is at 3pm, and the checkout at 10, but we asked for an early check-in and they did their best to accomodate us.
Best Hotel Address:
556-0002 Naniwa-ku Ebisuhigashi 3-6-16
The most thing we like is the hotel’s location. Hotel Vertex Osaka is located in the center of Osaka, and is very near 3 subway stations.
Tsutenkaku and Tennoji Zoo are also 3-4 mins walk;
Dobutasuem-mae Station is 3 minutes from the hotel;
JR Shin-Imamiya Station is around 5-mins walk.
This is truly great to visit the city! We were never worried about getting back to the hotel, as we knew that we were in a prime location. Which is great when you want to stay late at Dotonbori! It’s also very near the Zoo of Osaka, so if you have kids it can be a great activity.
We really like Shinsekai area as many good restaurants on the street and they are 24-hours opening!
In the previous article for Osaka, we also introduced one delicious food near this best hotel in Osaka.
” Kushikatsu Daruma Dobutsuen Mae” is a must-try in Japan! Luckily it is super near the hotel. We actually were very lucky to try this place. We had been visiting since very early in the morning (to get to the Fish Market) and felt exhausted. The restaurant was on our way to the hotel to check-in, and we tried it as we had some time left. And it was amazing!
The hotel is also very near Shinsekai Kankan, a famous Takoyaki place. You can find it easily as they put photos of celebrities who visited their shop in front of it! The takoyaki is great (it was so hot we burned our mouth, but we couldn’t stop eating!).
There was maybe a little bit too much of the sauce, but we realized later that it is normal for Takoyakis.
So in overall, we highly recommend Hotel Vertex in Osaka. The location is great to visit the city in any direction, and it has great bars and restaurants to go out at night. Don’t miss it!
Best Nara Hotel
A quiet and peaceful location
The hotel is 8-minute walk from Todaiji Temple and 15-minute walk from Nara Park. This can seem a little bit remote, but it’s great to go to the temple, or have an evening walk to the park to see the night view. The hotel employees even advise you the best evening walk routes!
The location from the subway is a little bit far-away, and it is 15-minutes away from the business district, but it is really quiet. After 7 o’clock, almost on one on the street outside, and no shop is opening at night except walking 10 mins from the hotel to the 24-hours convenience store.
The 4th floor is the terrace.You have a really nice view of Nara from it, it is really beautiful and quiet. As there is no bar nearby so we went to convenience store to buy beers and snacks and then go to the terrace drinking & enjoying the fresh air. Being away from the tourist haste certainly felt really refreshing!
A Modern Ryokan
Hotel New Wakasa is a Ryokan (Traditional Japanese Inn). It’s a new establishment and feels like a mix between a hotel and a Ryokan. So it’s a very good introduction to the world of Ryokans if you don’t have any experience!
Like any Ryokans, there is a public bathroom & hot-spring (Ofuro) in the 1st floor. A Ofuro is a public bath shared by all the clients of the hotels. Read carefully the public bath etiquette provided by the hotel before going in! The hotel provides everything so you won’t feel lost (just a little bit awkward :)). The bath is definitively a fun and interesting experience.
After bath, the hotel will provide a Yukata, which is a traditional Japanese bathrobe. The room has a detailed explanation of how to wear bathrobes (along with the bath etiquette mentioned earlier). It’s a little bit complicated at first so you can ask the staff’s help!
As any traditional establishment in Japan, you need to take off your shoes at the entrance of the room. The floor is a tatami and it really feels genuine. There was also a little area behind the curtains with a table and two little sofas, which was great to have a drink.
All the brands of the hotel’s products are using Shiseido. It is a famous skincare brand in Japan!
Again, like any traditional Ryokan, New Wakasa provides the breakfast and dinner. These are served as a “Kaiseki” which is a traditional japanese course meal style. The meals are very special and delicious! They are not your everyday japanese meal you find anywhere else. And you will be wearing a Yukata to make sure you are experiencing everything about traditional Ryokans.
During the meal, the staff will head to your room to prepare it for you. Yes, because at first the room is set so you can have a Japanese tea. After your meal you will see that they made your beds! The beds are Japanese futon, and they are more comfortable than they look.
In general, we think it’s the best hotel in Nara. We would recommend Hotel New Wakasa to anyone for sure! It’s not usual to stay a night in Nara, but if you have time, staying 1 night in Nara would be a good choice to relax and recharge yourself.
Best Kyoto Hotel
We stayed 3 nights in Rinn Mibu-dera, while visiting Kyoto, and this was the best price to quality ratio hotel we have been in Kansai. Indeed, the rooms are HUGE compared to other hotels! See it for yourself!
Great Room Facilities
See? This is the biggest room we have been in Japan. Don’t let the tiny entrance fool you!
Moreover, the hotel is very new and the equipment are great! It has a washing machine with a dryer! So for those of you who bring few clothes to wash them during trips, this hotel is for you!
And the room comes with basic cooking utensils, so you can even buy some foods from the supermarket and cook them yourself. However, they don’t provide any meals. As you can see, the hotel feels more like an apartment than a hotel per se.
The hotel is located near the station of Omiya, on the Hankyu Kyoto line. So it’s very convenient to visit Kyoto. Moreover, there are tons of bus stop in any direction from the hotel. From the second day, we ended up using the bus more often than the subway! The mibudera district is very convenient to get in any part of the town, so it’s really perfect for visitors.
The surrounding of the hotel itself is great too. You have plenty of restaurants and convenience stores all along the main street. And the hotel is just in front of the Mibudera Temple, which has a great view at night!
There are a lot of local restaurants near the hotel, which is great. Leave all the tourist packed restaurants and go for the authentic ones! We saw two excellent ones near the hotel:
Yakiniku no Bull: Great japanese barbecue restaurant. The meats are amazing! Even though they don’t have an english menu, we greatly enjoyed the restaurant thanks to the amazing staff! Try the meat combination, for which you can try 3 different cuts, it’s really a heaven on earth. We mostly saw japanese customers, which is for us a warranty of authenticity! And it’s really fun to cook our own meat, japanese style :). Oh! And couple this with an incredible japanese beer (or a sake!) and you are set for the night!
Izakaya on the map: We couldn’t get the english menu, but you can see it on the map above. It really looked so great, we tried to get a place but it was packed :(. But really, usually we don’t recommend a place we didn’t try but this one looked incredible. And we stayed 10 minutes at the entrance so it counts as an experience!
So in global a great hotel with a BIG room and a convenient location. Oh, and did we tell you it was the cheapest? So go for it! Recommended!
End of our list
That’s it, these are the 3 hotels we have been in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. And we sincerely loved all of them! They were not overly expensive hotels (on the Japanese scale of course) and were all worth their prices. They offered us truly amazing memories that we will carry for our whole life! So for us, they are the best hotels in their cities :).
Of course these hotels are our personal favorites, and it’s possible that they don’t fit your criterias. If you need more ideas for hotels, you can check out:
Do you have hotels that you prefer over our list? Share it with us in the comments, we will try them one day!
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