Don't miss out! Join the thousands of people who subscribe to our once-daily email with all the best travel news. Some links on this page may pay me a commission - as always, thanks for your support if you use them

Kyoto was the Imperial capital of Japan for more than one thousand years. It is now the capital city of Kyoto Prefecture located in the Kansai region, as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area. With over 1,600 Buddhist temples, 400 shrines, many palaces and gardens, Kyoto is one of the best preserved cities in Japan and a sharp contrast to Tokyo. Most first-time visitors to Japan want to visit both Tokyo and Kyoto. In this post I will show you the best hotels in Kyoto on points.

[SEE ALSO: Best routes and cheapest miles to Japan from mainland U.S. ]

[SEE ALSO: Best hotels in Tokyo on points from four major hotel chains ]

Where to stay in Kyoto

I am not a Kyoto expert by all means as my first trip to Kyoto is finally around the corner. But since I booked my flights last April, I also booked a trip for my sister-in-law. I am traveling with my best friend and our youngest kids., I spent many hours over the last ten months researching online where to stay (at the cheapest cost)! Hopefully what I learned will make it easier for you to plan your family’s trip to Kyoto.

Kyoto is a relatively small city with an excellent public transport system. Taxi is readily available and much cheaper than in Tokyo. While staying near subway station is still beneficial, it is not as important as in Tokyo. There are a few things you want to keep in mind when looking for hotels in Kyoto on points:

  • There are only FIVE hotels in Kyoto on points, and two of them cost lots of points per night!
  • BOOK EARLY, as early as you can, especially during peak season like cherry blossom.
  • THREE hotels on the list will go up one category on March 7, 2017, so book now if you are planning to go during 2018. You can always cancel later.
  • If you can’t find any award nights in Kyoto, try Osaka which is an easy train ride from Kyoto.
  • Award rooms are usually for standard rooms with two twin beds. But at some hotels they are actually two double beds and technically can accommodate a family of four.

Just like in Tokyo, there are many well-located independent hotels in Kyoto in the $150-$250 range. You can book these hotels through online travel agencies (best with a discount code such as one for Orbitz). You can redeem bank points such as Barclay Arrival points or Chase Ultimate Rewards points to cover the hotel cost.

If you plan to use Kyoto as base for day trips out of the area, consider stay near JR Kyoto Station area. One hotel worth mentioning is Hotel Granvia Kyoto, located directly above the Kyoto Station. From here, you have direct and easy access to all over Kyoto, Kansai International Airport, and major cities across Japan including Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. The hotel, rated highly on Tripadvisor, is very popular among tourists due to its location and excellent services. My brother had visited Kyoto many times and he always stayed here.

architecture-1869398_1920

Best Hotels in Kyoto on points (and Osaka too)

There are only five hotels in Kyoto on points from the four major chains, two of them require lots of points. Which one is the best depends entirely on your personal preference. If you have a free night certificate for Ritz Carlton, Kyoto might be a better choice than Tokyo. If you have a free night to use at Hyatt, you will have to choose between Park Hyatt Tokyo and Hyatt Regency Kyoto, two highly-rated properties that are dramatically different.

Because Kyoto is a short train ride from Osaka, I am including Osaka hotels in the list to give you more redemption choices. Obviously if you are visiting Kyoto you should stay inside Kyoto. But during peak cherry blossom season award nights will be hard to find in both cities. Luckily you can train back and forth between two cities easily. Regardless where you stay, be sure to book early if you have plans to go to Kyoto, even if your flights are not booked!

Hotel NameHotel Program5th night freePoints required per nightRoom for Family of 4 (2 adults 2 kids under 12)
Crown Plaza ANA KyotoIHGNo30,000No. Bedding type and smoking preference not guaranteed
Hyatt Regency KyotoHyattNo20,000Yes, reserve with 2 adults 2 kids
Westin Miyako KyotoStarwoodYes10,000
(12,000-16,000 after 3/7/17)
Technically yes, reserve with 2 adults 1 kid
The Suiran, A Luxury Collection HotelStarwoodYes30,000-35,000Technically yes, reserve with 2 adults and email hotel to add 2 kids
The Ritz-Carlton KyotoMarriottYes70,000Technically yes, reserve with 2 adults and email hotel to add 2 kids.
Hyatt Regency OsakaHyattNo8,000No. Club room (12,000 points) will allow only 3 people.
Crown Plaza ANA OsakaIHGNo25,,000No
Holiday Inn: Osaka Namba IHGNo30,000No
InterContinental ANA OsakaIHGNo50,000No. Bedding type and smoking preference not guaranteed
Sheraton Miyako Hotel OsakaStarwoodYes7,000No
The Westin OsakaStarwoodYes10,000
(12,000-16,000 after 3/7/17)
Technically yes, reserve with 2 adults 1 kid
The St. Regis OsakaStarwoodYes20,000-25,000Yes, reserve with 2 adults and email hotel to add 2 kids.
Courtyard Shin-Osaka StationMarriottYes30,000No
Osaka Marriott Miyako HotelMarriottYes35,000
(40,000 after 3/7/17)
Technically yes, reserve with 2 adults 1 kid
The Ritz-Carlton OsakaMarriottYes50,000Not sure
Hilton OsakaHiltonYes50,000No
Conrad OsakaHiltonYesTBAOpening summer 2017

Finding a hotel room for a family of four

Finding a hotel room for a family of four in Kyoto is surprisingly easier than in Tokyo! Most of the hotels listed above have two double beds in the standard room (even though they are labeled as twin beds). The trick is to know how many people to put in the reservation, and also email the hotel directly with your request.

 

Kyoto map

The Crown Plaza Kyoto is located near Nijo Castle in Central Kyoto. At 30,000 points per night it is a great value. But award nights does not guarantee bed type and smoking preference, which could be a deal breaker for most people.

The Westin Kyoto is located in Northern Higashiyama district of Kyoto. It is also good deal at 10,000 points a night. Standard rooms here actually have two double beds which should fit a family of four. But hotel will only allow you to reserve the room for 2 adults and 1 child. The hotel does not have great reviews on Tripadvisor. The Westin Kyoto is moving from category 5 up to category 6 on March 7, 2017, and will cost 12,000 points to 16,000 points per night. So book before March 7 if you plan to stay here prior to August 8, 2018 (the date current schedule ends). 

Hyatt Regency Kyoto is located in Southern Higashiyama district of Kyoto. It is among the top rated Kyoto hotels on Tripadvisor. Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade certificate cannot be used here. The Standard Twin room costs 20,000 points per night and can accommodate two adults plus two kids! The same room can also be booked using 10,000 points plus about $150 a night. The Deluxe Twin room here will accommodate five people with a rollaway bed added!  But you cannot book the deluxe room using points. After I booked a standard twin room using points and cash, I emailed the hotel and ask if they could add a rollaway bed. They offered to change my room type to Deluxe Twin for additional 7200 yen per night, and add a rollaway bed free of charge. I took the offer but stupidly cancelled it two weeks prior to my trip. When I rebooked my reservation, they did not make the same offer again. If you have a family of five traveling, it is definitely worth trying this trick.

Surian and Ritz Carlton Kyoto are two top luxury properties in Kyoto. Basic rooms at both properties have two double beds, and also accommodate a rollaway bed at additional charge. But hotel websites only allow you to reserve for two people. If you want to stay here on points, email the hotel directly after you make the reservation and inform them you would be traveling with children.

Conclusion

Now that you know how to fly to Japan using the cheapest miles, and how to book hotels in Kyoto on points (and Tokyo too), are you going to take the family to see that beautiful cherry blossom? 😉

Sign up for our once-daily email with the latest tips and tricks on how to travel for free / cheap. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!