The best places to stay in Kyoto blend the old with the new in a timeless dance. You’ll find them in the beating heart of the city with incense-filled temples on every corner, or hidden in the hills so you can embrace the concept of shibui (peace and harmony with nature). Light up your social media with shots of rainbow-painted shrines, attend a geisha-led tea ceremony with kimono-clad hosts or learn about Japan’s ancient history at the Imperial Palace.
If you’re lucky enough to be in the magical city when the cherry blossom trees bloom, you’ll want to stop to admire the delicate pink flowers whether you’ve booked a state-of-the-art skyscraper or a traditional guesthouse where time stands still. Your accommodation will add to your Japanese experience, so look for features like intricate artisan-made furnishings, in-room cedar tubs fed by natural hot springs and peaceful gardens where you can zen out.