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
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, which runs from west to east, is lined with high-end boutiques, restaurants, and pastry and sweets shops.
The Kyoto Botanical Garden and Kyoto Takaragaike Park are also nearby.
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.
The station is located on Oike Street, which runs just north of and parallel to Sanjo Street.
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 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.
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!