The Thousand Kyoto Review: Wonderful Hotel Right Next To Kyoto Station

The Thousand Kyoto is a stylish and modern hotel just a short walk from Kyoto Station. We had a wonderful stay at this hotel in May and enjoyed every minute. Here’s a review of our experience and why we highly recommend it.

the lobby area of The Thousand Kyoto hotel.

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Convenient Location

The Thousand Kyoto is just a 2-minute walk from the JR Central Entrance of Kyoto Station, super convenient to catch JR trains such as the Thunderbird (toward Tsuruga, where you can change to Hokuriku Shinkansen to Kanazawa), the Haruka Express (to Kansai International Airport) or trains to Uji, Nara.

Please note that Kyoto Station have different entrances, so if you find yourself exiting via other entrances/exits such as the Kintetsu Railway Entrance or Shinkansen Entrance, you can take the pedestrian walkway toward the JR Central Entrance, and then walk to the hotel – this is the shortest route. Refer to the map of the station to navigate through those entrances and exits.

outside Kyoto Station, JR Central Entrance.
Kyoto Station (JR Central Entrance)

In general, Kyoto Station is a major transportation hub, providing easy access to various train lines, including the Shinkansen, local JR lines, and the subway. It is also a key bus terminal with buses departing for many of the city’s main sights. There are also taxi stands with plenty of taxis available.

If you are going to make multiple trips to other cities, staying near Kyoto Station will be definitely very convenient. If you mainly plan to stay within Kyoto, I suggest staying in or near Gion. The Celestine Hotel Gion is our favorite and you can read our detailed review here. For our most recent trip, we didn’t visit Gion again and had several trips to nearby cities instead, so we totally loved the location of The Thousand Kyoto. It’s just a short walk from the station, yet its immediate surroundings are pretty quiet with no noise issues.

There are a number of shops and department stores within or near Kyoto Station and we always enjoy have close access to depachika (department basement floors), where we can grab fresh fruits, snacks and bentos in the supermarket or basement food hall. One negative aspect of staying near Kyoto Station that people often mention is the lack of nightlife, but we don’t care about that at all.

Modern and Stylish Hotel

The Thousand Kyoto hotel lobby
Hotel lobby

I love the design of The Thousand Kyoto, which seamlessly blends traditional Japanese aesthetics and Zen elements with modern architecture. The thoughtful use of lighting – both natural and ambient – along with natural-colored wood and internal gardens, creates a serene and elegant setting. One may say some elements of the interior decor are quite classy.

Returning to our room, we entered through the entrance, passed a small internal garden, walked through a tunnel-like path that opened into a spacious lobby area with a high ceiling. This small journey set a calming mood, making it a comforting place to return to for rest and relaxation. Each night, we spent a few minutes sitting in the lobby watching the light show on the grand staircase. It was eye-catching, entertaining and relaxing.

The Thousand Kyoto tunnel like path.
Tunnel-like path
Light show on the grand staircase in The Thousand Kyoto hotel lobby.
The grand staircase in the lobby

Spacious Rooms

The Thousand Kyoto has a range of room types to cater to different needs, including superior rooms, deluxe rooms, premier rooms and suites. All of them are very spacious for Japanese standards.

We booked a Thousand superior twin room, which is 37 square meters (387 square feet). It somehow felt way more spacious than our 34 square meters room we booked at the Celestine Gion Hotel last year. The minimalist yet elegant aesthetic incorporated natural materials and a calming color palette, resulting in a very neat and uncluttered look.

spacious twin bedroom at The Thousand Kyoto, one of the best hotels near Kyoto Station.
Twin room

I think the layout is quite well thought-out, providing enough space for a decent-sized table where we could eat fruits and takeaways from depachika food halls. Plates and cutleries were also provided in the room. The bathroom had a good size with spacious shower area. Quality toiletries had a gentle, calming scent, free from overwhelming artificial perfume-like smells.

Guest bathroom at The Thousand Kyoto Hotel.
Shower room at The Thousand Kyoto Hotel.

The hotel opened in 2019 and I found the hard products in the room still in good conditions. Our only minor criticism of the room was the curtains, which were not completely blackout and blocked only about 90% of the light.

Good Breakfast

There are two options for breakfast: a Western breakfast buffet and a Japanese breakfast set, each served in a different restaurant. We opted for the Japanese breakfast every day and didn’t try the Western option. The Western breakfast restaurant often looked quite crowded, whereas the Japanese breakfast restaurant was very quiet and felt more spacious.

inside the restaurant where Japanese breakfast is served.
Japanese breakfast restaurant

The Japanese breakfast set follows the concept ichi-ju san-sai (one soup, three dishes) of the traditional breakfast. You can choose either rice or congee to be served with grilled fish, tamagoyaki, tofu, miso soup, pickles and small side dishes. Everything tasted fresh and delicious, and the presentation was nicely done. It would have been even better if some fresh fruits were provided.

a Japanese breakfast set at The Thousand Kyoto hotel in Kyoto.
Japanese breakfast set

I generally don’t mind having a breakfast set over a buffet spread as long as the quality of ingredients is good. Some breakfast buffet spread can be quite poor in quality, like the one at the Swissotel Nankai Osaka. Besides breakfast, we didn’t have any other meals at the hotel restaurants. There are so many excellent restaurants in Kyoto that it seems like a missed opportunity to have lunch or dinner at a hotel.

Efficient Service Throughout

The service at The Thousand Kyoto was satisfactory. While it didn’t have the personal touch found at luxury properties like the Shisui Nara, it still conveyed a sense of Japanese hospitality — courteous and attentive, with smiles and greetings at every encounter.

Check-in and check-out were seamless. The staff assisted us with luggage forwarding at check-out, calling our next hotel to confirm our reservation, and filling out all necessary forms. The entrance staff helped guests with luggage, taxis, and directions, although you can easily walk to the taxi stand at Kyoto Station to catch a taxi immediately.

The Thousand Kyoto also has a spa and fitness but we didn’t use them. The communal hot bath isn’t free to use, unlike at the Celestine Gion. They also provide some paid guided experiences.

the staircase in the lobby during the day.

Final Thoughts

We paid 40,000 yen per night for our stay in May 2024, and I found it very reasonable for the level of service and quality of the facilities. I can’t recommend this hotel enough — we truly adored it. While other locations may be more convenient depending on what you plan to see and do in Kyoto, if you are set on staying close to Kyoto Station, The Thousand Kyoto will not disappoint. I will not hesitate to return.

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