“ Hostel / Guesthouse located in central Kyoto. 418 Nayacho / Shichijo-agaru / Dotemachi-dori / Shimogyo-ku / Kyoto City / Japan / 600-8142 / Tel: +(81)-75-342-2444 / Fax: +(81)-75-342-2440 / Email: email@example.com 7 Web: http://kshouse.jp/kyoto-e/ „
Since just flying to Japan was expensive in itself, I certainly did not want to splash out on luxurious accommodation for our trip, so my cousin and I looked at hostels in Tokyo and Kyoto. The key things I looked for were low price, a fairly central location (or being close to good transport links) and decent looking rooms. Sure, we wouldn't be lounging in our room all the time so I wasn't expecting a high standard for what we prepared to pay, but returning to the hostel after a long day around Japan to a comfortable looking abode would give us (and our families) some piece of mind.
I found K's House Hotel Kyoto, which is one of a popular hostel chain in Japan (having hostels in Tokyo, Takayama and Hiroshima among others) on hostelworld.com and saw it had glowing reviews and an accolade of awards such as 'Best Hostel in Asia 2013' (according to Hostelworld) and a Certificate of Excellence (Tripadvisor). Looking at hostelworld.com and the K's house's website, this hostel seemed to offer everything we wanted for accommodation at a good price, so I booked a twin room there for six nights.
K's House Hostel Kyoto is located within Kyoto's city centre and is a 15 minute walk from the JR Kyoto Station. However the hostel is located off a main road and could easily be missed; thankfully, my confirmation email informed me of this and attached a map and step-by-step directions for me to print off. Following this allowed me to easily find the hotel, unlike with our hostel in Tokyo where we wondered in circles for almost half an hour (all due to going out the wrong exit from the subway station)!
The hostel is marked by a small sign next to the pavement. There is also a café, simply called 'Zen Café', located right next door to K's House so you should remember to associate one with the other should you ever forget where it is on a night out.
Upon arrival we were greeted warmly at reception by the staff, all of whom spoke English well. We paid by cash (credit/debit card isn't an option for payment, but this is the case in most of Japan) and after filling in a small form the receptionist explained the rules and regulations to us. Then we were given two card keys were escorted to our room.
I found that the staff were friendly and very knowledgeable about the local area. They recommended places to go and where the nearest facilities were around Kyoto city centre. For example, when the hostel payphone wouldn't accept my sister's calling card, the staff provided me with directions to the next nearest one. Another problem we had was that on our first night, the Wi-Fi in our room wasn't working despite having an actual router located on the windowsill. My cousin and I spoke with the staff the next morning and they agreed to look at the router while we were out. Sure enough, when we returned that evening the router was fixed and internet was ours!
K's House Hostel Kyoto consists of two buildings (three if you count Zen Café, which is pretty much attached to the main building). Our room was located in the second building, which is more like an annexe as you have to climb up the stairs to access the entrance. Although both buildings are modern and fairly Western looking on the outside, they are Japanese in that you are required to take off your shoes upon entry. Your shoes can either be left out on the threshold or put into lockers next to the entrance. If you're uncomfortable walking around the hostel barefoot, the hostel provides indoor slippers to wear inside. Although there is no curfew at K's House, buildings are locked after 10pm and you need to use your card key to gain entry.
Both buildings have a lounge area just past the entrance. Ours was very large and included three sofas around the table, shelves of books to browse (mostly Japanese manga though), a small patio outside with seating and even a Japanese sitting area to one side. The lounge is very spacious, bright and clean; we didn't use the lounge much as my cousin and I preferred to chill out in our rooms rather than in a public space, but the lounge was cleaned daily every time we were there.
In addition to the lounge there is a kitchen and dining area. The hostel provides you with a microwave, fridge and kettle if you're not eating out during your stay. The appliances are in Japanese but English instructions are provided on how to use them. I only went in the kitchen once to use the microwave. From what I remember the microwave was clean and worked fine. Alternatively, the Zen Café provides a Western style breakfast buffet between 8am-12pm for about ¥600 if you want a filling, homely meal before you set off for your Kyoto adventure. They also serve various snacks/small meals throughout the rest of the day. I tried their Karaage (fried chicken pieces) for lunch and it was quite tasty. The café itself is very relaxing and has lovely décor which fits its calm, Zen atmosphere.
As mentioned earlier, my cousin and I booked a twin room. The room was pretty basic, consisting of a bunk bed and mattresses, the aforementioned router, some rows of shelves, a bin and a few hangars. Despite its simplicity we were pleased because we got what we paid for; plus the room was very clean and it seemed more 'homely' than our previous hostel.
Every room has air conditioner/heater fitted in which is operated by remote control, making it perfect for coping with the summer heat of Kyoto. Again the air conditioner had a Japanese controller but English instructions were provided on the wall.
Our beds, an unusual combination of western-style bunk beds and Japanese mattresses, were pretty comfortable to sleep on. The walls were pretty soundproof as well, since we couldn't hear our neighbours in the room next door and the only time we could hear people was when the door between the lounge and the bedroom corridor was open. The wi-fi (once fixed after that first night) was really fast and rarely dropped out.
The bathrooms are shared with other customers staying on the same corridor. There are three toilets (1 female, 1 male and 1 mixed) as well as two showers, one of which is joined with a bath in a separate bathroom. Shower gel and shampoo are not provided, but you can rent towels from reception. Like the rest of the hostel, the bathroom was always clean when we used them and I had no trouble operating the showers, which readily had hot water although it took about a minute for them to heat up.
There is a washing machine and dryer located in the bathroom too, so it should save you making a trip to the laundrette. The washing machine cost 300 yen to use and detergent is provided. The dryer is free, but we found it took ages to completely dry our clothes. As an idea of this, 3 lots of 30 minute cycles later our clothes were still damp. To be honest, though, we did have a large load of washing to do! I think there is another, larger washing machine in the main building as well.
I really enjoyed staying at K's House because, on top of clean rooms and facilities, I felt like you got a lot for your money: free wi-fi, friendly and helpful staff and a lot of other extras available. If you're a young traveller or part of a young group coming to Japan and/or Kyoto for the first time then I would definitely check out K's House as a place to stay. Even if I came back to Japan on holiday with three times my previous budget I would still consider staying here, because the service and facilities rival that of a normal hotel!
Rooms at K's House are available from ¥2300 a night (dormitory rooms).
Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto
Address: 418 Nayacho, Shichijo-agaru, Dotemachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku,
Kyoto city, Japan 600-8142
Telephone No.: +(81)-75-342-2444 FAX +(81)-75-342-2440
(Originally posted on ciao under the username Anti_W.)