Kyoto

Best Places to Live in Kyoto According to Locals

Known as the City of Ten Thousand Shrines, Kyoto is a place where innumerable temples, shrines and ancient cultural structures are interspersed among 20th and 21st century buildings, bustling commercial districts, and transportation lines to create a modern city where the past is very much alive.

With a population of almost 1.5 million people, Kyoto is also not a small city, but for a city of more than a million people, it is certainly more slow-paced and refined than Tokyo.

Ask the locals, and many of them will tell you that they would rather live in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan than move to the country’s modern capital.

But where are the best places to live in Kyoto itself, according to the people who live there?

SUUMO asked Kyoto residents to pick the best place to live in the city. Here are the top three:

#1 Kitayama Station

Sunset on Kitayama Street, near the entrance to the Kyoto Botanical Garden. Photo: blogs.yahoo.co.jp

Sunset on Kitayama Street, near the entrance to the Kyoto Botanical Garden. Photo: egecity

Where: Kita Ward, Northern Kyoto

Kitayama is a neighborhood, a street, and a station on the Karasuma subway line in northern Kyoto.

It is known as an urbane and sophisticated area, and can be compared to Shoto, the upscale residential district in southwestern Shibuya in Tokyo.

It might be criticized for being a little outside the center of the city, but it is only about a 15 minute ride from Kitayama to Kyoto Station on the Karasuma subway line

Kitayama Street is well-known for its many fine patisseries and restaurants. Photo:

Kitayama Street is well known for its many fine patisseries and restaurants. Photo: leafkyoto.net

Kitayama Street, which runs from west to east, is lined with high-end boutiques, restaurants, and pastry and sweets shops.

Kitayama has many outdoor attractions, including the Kyoto Botanical Garden. Photo:

Kitayama has many outdoor attractions, including the Kyoto Botanical Garden. Photo: Kyoto Prefecture

The Kyoto Botanical Garden and Kyoto Takaragaike Park are also nearby.

Takaragaike Park in northern Kyoto. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Takaragaike Park in northern Kyoto. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The average rent near Kitayama Station:

  • 1R, 1K, 1DK: 52,400yen/month (about $435/month)
  • 1LDK to 2DK: 80,700yen/month
  • 2LDK to 3DK: 140,900/month
  • 3LDK to 4K: 130,500yen/month

Note: the average rent for a 3LDK to 4K above is not a typo (it is lower than the average rent for a 2LDK to 3DK!)

#2 Karasuma Oike Station

Where: Nakagyo Ward, downtown commercial district

Karasuma Oike is a centrally located hub on the Kyoto Municipal Karasuma line (which runs north-south) and the Tozai line (which runs east-west), which is perhaps one reason it ranked highly on the list of best places to live in Kyoto. It is also a central commercial and shopping district.

Oike Street, a central commercial and shopping district, in Kyoto. Note the lack of skyscrapers! Photo:

Oike Street, a central commercial and shopping district, in Kyoto. Note the lack of skyscrapers! Photo: hinablue-kyotolog

The station is located on Oike Street, which runs just north of and parallel to Sanjo Street.

Sanjogai Shotengai Shopping Arcade, one of the liveliest shopping arcades in Kyoto. Photo:

Sanjogai Shotengai Shopping Arcade, one of the liveliest shopping arcades in Kyoto. Photo: sorrel_katabami

Sanjogai Shotengai (“Third Street Association Shopping Arcade”) is one of the liveliest shopping streets in Kyoto and is located between Horikawa and Sembon Streets. Is home to about 180 shops along an 800-meter long arcade.

Average rent near Karasuma-Oike Station:

  • 1R, 1K, 1DK: 59,800yen/month (about $495/month)
  • 1LDK to 2DK: 103,100yen/month
  • 2LDK to 3DK: 131,900/month
  • 3LDK to 4K: 173,200yen/month

#3 Karasuma Station

Where: Shimogyo Ward, downtown commercial and shopping area

Karasuma Station, on the Hankyu Kyoto Main line, is one of the busiest stations outside of Umeda station and Kawaramachi station on the Hankyu Kyoto line, or so Wikipedia tells us.

The intersection of Shijo and Karasuma Streets. Many banks, including UFJ, have branches here. Photo:

The intersection of Shijo and Karasuma Streets. Many banks, including UFJ, have branches here. Photo: SilkRoad-Lake

The Karasuma station area offers convenience of transportation and great shopping and dining.

The station is located at the intersection of Karasuma and Shijo Streets. Shijo Street (“Fourth Street”) runs east-west and Karasuma Street runs north-south.

A large number of banks and financial institutions are located on street level.

The basement food floor of the Daimaru department store is arguably the best food market in Kyoto. Photo: Tabelog

The basement food floor of the Daimaru department store is arguably the best food market in Kyoto. Photo: Tabelog

Daimaru, one of Kyoto’s high-end department stores, is also located near the station. The basement food floor of Daimaru is considered one of the best food markets in the city.

A long underground passageway links Karasuma Station with Kawaramachi Station, the next stop to the east. The area entered around the intersection of Shijo Street and Kawaramachi Street (which runs north-south) is one of the busiest shopping areas in Kyoto.

Average rent near Karasuma Station:

  • 1R, 1K, 1DK: 57,200/month (about $474/month)
  • 1LDK to 2DK: 106,800yen/month
  • 2LDK to 3DK: 129,700/month
  • 3LDK to 4K: 164,300yen/month

Source: Average rent data is from HOME’S

You may also be interested in: Top “Under the Radar Neighborhoods” in Tokyo Recommended by Locals

Top Photo: Kinkuji (Golden Pavilion Temple) in Kyoto

What do you think is the best place to live in Kyoto? Please leave a comment!