As one of the most visited cities in Japan, if not the world, Kyoto has a competitive market for accommodation. This is a good thing for us visitors, as it presents us with absolute bargains like the central, sociable Hostel Jam Gion.
I say central, and the location is just outstanding: it's in the very heart of the city, literally footsteps from Gion Shijo subway station, convenient for transportation and the diverse nightlife of Gion, Pontocho and Kiyamachi-dori, which made me grateful for the generous 12:00pm checkout time. It's also within walking distance of Nishiki food market, Yasaka-jinja shrine and, if you don't mind stretching your legs a bit, Sannenzaka shopping slope and Kiyomizudera temple. And there's a 24-hour supermarket not five minutes down the road.
The airy, clean dorms hold six or eight people, and there are also four-bed female only dorms, and double and twin private rooms. I stayed in a six, which seemed actually a bit pokey compared with the more spacious eight that most of my hostel friends were in. There are just two showers, which may be a problem at busier times, though they're reliably strong and hot, and there's also a washing machine and a couple of hair driers.
The common room is tiny, barely big enough for the fridge and table and chairs it holds (and consequently difficult to photograph); a lot of guests preferred to hang out and socialize at the connected sake bar downstairs, run by the same people, where you can also get free tea, coffee and toast in the morning. There's also a PC for guests' use in the bar, and wi-fi throughout the hostel. The staff are all cheerful and helpful,and speak good English to boot, able and willing to provide information and recommendations about the city and the sake.
The standard dorm price is ¥2500 for an eight, ¥2750 for a six or four, while doubles are ¥5700 and twins are ¥6000. At the time of writing the hostel's own website was still 'under construction', but a search on a couple of popular booking sites gave me some generous discounts, which I imagine depend on the season and demand. But even at the regular price, for the location, comfort and atmosphere, Jam Hostel Kyoto Gion must be one of the best value places to stay in the city.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.