Where to Stay in Nara – Ryokan, Guesthouses & Best Hotels in Nara Japan

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If you’re looking for where to stay in Nara, then this list of recommended ryokan, guesthouses and best hotels in Nara Japan should come in handy. Read on to discover Nara hotels, hostels and other accommodation options in one of Japan’s most beautiful cities.

Where to Stay in Nara - Ryokan, Guesthouses & Best Hotels in Nara Japan cover

Where to Stay in Nara Japan

For many travelers, the city of Nara is a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka. But for those interested in the older and more traditional side of Japan, there are many things to do in Nara. We think it’s worth more of your time. Nara has lots to offer, and staying at a Ryokan or hotel in Nara can make the experience even better.

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Tips on Nara Hotels, Ryokan, Guesthouses

If this is your first trip to Nara, then here are a few tips of accommodation in the city. Many of these tips apply to Japan as a whole but are just as useful in hotels in Nara Japan.

Japanese Rooms vs. Western Rooms

Many Nara hotels will offer both “Western” and “Japanese-Style” rooms, and there are a few differences between the two. For example, Japanese rooms will have futons on the floor (tatami mats) for sleeping. Western rooms will have beds but could have any number of flooring options: tatami, carpet, wood, etc. Japanese beds tend to run firm, but futons on tatami mats will be harder. It’s our preferred way to sleep, but it’s not for everyone.

Rooms are Small

Remember: this is Japan. Rooms at most Nara hotels will be small compared to anything in the west. Bathrooms can be even smaller. That said, we usually prefer Japanese-style rooms, which often “feel” bigger because the futons are folded up during the day. Beds can’t do that, so some rooms feel even smaller — especially if you’re lugging large suitcases into them. Also, be reminded that there’s very likely no room for extra beds in most hotels in Nara.

Difference Between Nara Hotels, Ryokan, & Guesthouses

When choosing where to stay in Nara, you will likely see places categorized as hotels, guesthouses, and ryokan. A ryokan (旅館) is a Japanese-style inn. Ryokan in Nara and elsewhere in Japan will have a public bath (usually an onsen) but many Nara hotels and guesthouses have them too.

A ryokan may not have a private shower. Staying at a Nara ryokan will be a Japanese sleeping experience, with a tatami room and futons. There’s usually a tatami sitting room as well, where your dinner may be served. Dinner and breakfast are usually included in a ryokan price.

Hotels in Nara will offer both western and Japanese style rooms. Most will have private showers. As for guesthouses in Nara, these are like hostels, but the Nara guesthouses I’ve listed here all have private rooms as well. Some have private bathrooms/showers, while some have shared.

Shoes Off!

All ryokan and many of the best hotels in Nara Japan have tatami floors. There may be carpet or tile in the lobby, but the room could be tatami. Be ready to take off your shoes when entering a tatami room. In fact, we highly recommend wearing slip-on shoes while in Japan. You take your shoes on and off a lot more in Japan than you do elsewhere, and slip-on/slip-off shoes make it so much easier.

Buy Now: Great Slip-on Shoes for Japan Travel – Best Travel Shoes

Many Nara Hotels are Old School

And by “Old School,” I mean it in several ways. For one, even some of the best hotels in Nara Japan have old carpet and dated furniture. Some are sleek and modern, while others still have a design that hasn’t changed since the ’60s. I also mean “old school” when it comes to smoking. Lots of hotels in Nara Japan still have smoking rooms and non-smoking rooms. You can smell the difference. Smoking rooms should be indicated on the booking websites, so make sure you confirm.

Bathing in Nara Hotels

Most Nara hotels have a public bathing option. If you’re staying in a Nara hotel or visiting an onsen during your visit, make sure you know how to bathe in Japan.

Read More: How to Take a Japanese Bath — The Unwritten Rules of Japanese Culture

Also, keep in mind that many of the public bathing areas in Nara hotels are closed for cleaning in the afternoons. Often between 9 or 10 am and 3 or 4 pm (each hotel in Nara is different). It may not affect you if you’re out exploring for the day but check at your Nara hotel if you think you’ll be around during the day.

Tattoos in Public Baths

Unfortunately, many hotels in Nara Japan still follow outdated rules about tattoos. In the public baths of Nara hotels, people with tattoos are not allowed to enter. Decades ago, this was to keep yakuza (Japanese mafia) members out, but nowadays they should recognize that lots of people have tattoos. Times are changing, but not fast enough.

Top Nara Hotels

Here are some of the highest rated and best Nara hotels money can buy.

Hotel Nikko Nara

Hotel Nikko Nara 1

This is one of the best hotels in Nara thanks to location, convenience, and Nikko Hotel service. It’s connected to the JR Nara Train Station, and easy to walk or bus to Nara Park. Rooms are clean but showing their age.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: Connected to JR Nara Station and 5 minutes from the bus to Nara Park
  • Room Details: One kid under six stays free in extra bedding

Book Now: Hotel Nikko Nara at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Hotel Nikko Nara at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Hotel Nikko Nara at TripAdvisor

Nara Hotel

Nara Hotel 2

Over 100 years old, this luxury hotel in Nara has had quite a few celebrity guests: Einstein, Chaplin, Hepburn, the Dalai Lama, etc. Stay here and you’ll see why. Rooms are very spacious for Japanese standards, yet maintain the old-school Japanese style. The restaurant here is excellent as well. You’re staying here for the history and the old-Japan architecture, not for the latest amenities.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location:20min walk to Nara Park
  • Room Details: Western & Japanese style rooms available. New wing Japanese rooms are very spacious (58 sqm) for the usual Japanese standard. Kids under 5 stay free in existing bedding.

Book Now: Nara Hotel at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Nara Hotel at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Nara Hotel at TripAdvisor

Nara Royal Hotel

Nara Royal Hotel

While not the best located on our list, the Nara Royal Hotel is one of the best hotels in Nara for large families or groups. They have a wide variety of room sizes — including rooms that sleep from 5 to 12 people. Just be aware of smoking and non-smoking rooms. The hotel provides a free shuttle, and you’ll need it (or a short taxi ride) to get to Nara Park and the Nara temples.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 10 minutes by car to a station or Nara Park
  • Room Details: Rooms that sleep from one to a dozen people. Kids under 12 stay free in existing bedding.

Book Now: Nara Royal Hotel at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Nara Royal Hotel at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Nara Royal Hotel at TripAdvisor

Mid-Range Hotels in Nara Japan

If you want quality Nara hotels but at a more reasonable price, look no further. Here are some of the best mid-range hotels in Nara Japan.

Hotel Fujita Nara

Hotel Fujita Nara

Located between two main train stations and a shopping street, this is one of the best hotels in Nara in terms of location. It also markets itself to female travelers, with “women-only” floors. Rooms are clean and relatively large for Japan. The bar, unfortunately, has a cover charge — even for guests — but there are other watering holes nearby if you’re looking.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: Less than 10 minutes on foot from JR Nara and Kintetsu-Nara stations.
  • Room Details: Several “women-only” floors. All kids under five stay free in existing bedding

Book Now: Hotel Fujita Nara at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Hotel Fujita Nara at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Hotel Fujita Nara at TripAdvisor

Piazza Hotel Nara

Piazza Hotel Nara

Connected to the JR Nara Station by a footbridge, the Piazza Nara Hotel is one of the best Nara Hotels thanks to modern rooms and convenient location. Shopping and a convenience store are just outside the entrance. Japanese style (futon) rooms are larger than western style rooms (with beds)

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: Connected to Nara Station
  • Room Details: One kid under 12 stays free in existing bedding

Book Now: Piazza Hotel Nara at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Piazza Hotel Nara at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Piazza Hotel Nara at TripAdvisor

Kasuga Hotel

Kasuga Hotel

This is one of the highest rated Nara Ryokan (Japanese style inn). That means excellent onsen facilities and dinner served in your room if requested. A short walk from Nara Park and right next to a traditional shopping area.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: Minutes from Kintetsu-Nara Station. 5-min drive/15-min walk to Nara Park
  • Room Details: Japanese-style rooms sleep four. One kid under six sleeps free in existing bedding

Book Now: Kasuga Hotel at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Kasuga Hotel at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Kasuga Hotel at TripAdvisor

Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara Eki

Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara Eki

Rooms are small and clean here, but this is one of the highest rated Nara Hotels for a reason. Staff is well-trained and friendly — even for the already-high Japanese standards. The included breakfast is good. The tubs are nice, and the location couldn’t be better.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: Connected to JR Nara Station

Book Now: Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara Eki at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara Eki at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Super Hotel Lohas JR Nara Eki at TripAdvisor

Centurion Hotel Classic Nara Station

Centurion Hotel Classic Nara Station

Located within minutes of Nara Station and a supermarket, this is a great Nara Hotel. But expect Japan-sized rooms and Japan-sized bathrooms. Beds are firm

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 5-minute walk from Nara Station
  • Room Details: one kid under 6 stays free in existing bedding

Book Now: Centurion Hotel Classic Nara Station at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Centurion Hotel Classic Nara Station at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Centurion Hotel Classic Nara Station at TripAdvisor

Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring

Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring

There’s a lot to love about this modern ryokan/hotel in Nara. It’s close to the station and has great onsen tubs. Then there are lots of little extras like free hot drinks and electric bike rental. They also offer free ramen between 9 pm and 11 pm — a nice perk, but no substitute for a proper dinner if you have hungry teens. They’re located very close to the station so some rooms have train noise.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 2 minutes from Nara Station entrance
  • Room Details: Kids under two stay free in existing bedding

Book Now: Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring at TripAdvisor

Budget Hotels in Nara Japan

Traveling on a shoestring? Here are some of the best budget hotels in Nara Japan.

NARA Visitor Center and Inn

NARA Visitor Center and Inn

This is one of the best Nara hotels for location and an international feel. The staff in most hotels in Nara (and elsewhere in Japan) speak only Japanese. Yet here you’ll find lots of bilingual — and occasionally trilingual — staff. Rooms are large by the usual standard and the onsens are nice and clean. You also have the benefit of the info and activities offered by the visitor center, which is a tourist attraction itself.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 10-15 Minutes from Stations, 15-min walk to Nara Park
  • Room Details: Pond-side rooms have a better view. Kids under six stay free in existing bedding. Some rooms sleep up to seven.

Book Now: NARA Visitor Center and Inn at Booking.com

Compare Prices: NARA Visitor Center and Inn at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: NARA Visitor Center and Inn at TripAdvisor

Oak Hostel Nara

Oak Hostel Nara

This is one of the best hostels in Nara and a great value for the money. It’s close to the park and the station and has friendly English-speaking staff. Free coffee and tea in the lobby, and a laundromat and local sento around the corner.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 3 minutes on foot from Kintetsu-Nara Station
  • Room Details: Family rooms have 4 single beds. One kid under six sleeps free in existing bedding.

Book Now: Oak Hostel Nara at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Oak Hostel Nara at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Oak Hostel Nara at TripAdvisor

Guesthouse Nara Komachi

Guesthouse Nara Komachi

Clean and cozy, this Nara Hotel/Guesthouse is close to the station and rents bicycles to explore the area. The shared kitchen allows you to cook for yourself, and a laundromat is close by.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 5 minutes on foot from Nara Station
  • Room Details: Family room has 4 single beds, One kid under six sleeps free in existing bedding.

Book Now: Guesthouse Nara Komachi at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Guesthouse Nara Komachi at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Guesthouse Nara Komachi at TripAdvisor

Nara Guesthouse 3F

Nara Guesthouse 3F

Located on a shopping street, this is a convenient Nara Hotel/guesthouse that accommodates families, too. But only with kids over three. Rooms are simple and clean but not very soundproof. Breakfast is included and includes eggs cooked when you order. Lockers could be a concern, but not if you have a private room.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 5 minutes from Kintetsu-Nara Station
  • Room Details: Kids 3-11 sleep free in existing beds. No kids under 3 allowed.

Book Now: Nara Guesthouse 3F at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Nara Guesthouse 3F at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Nara Guesthouse 3F at TripAdvisor

Guesthouse Tsunoya

Guesthouse Tsunoya

This is recommended for a modern Nara hostel/guesthouse experience. Rooms lock with a PIN code and water pressure is strong. Washing machine available on the roof. No kitchen provided but ask about a coupon for the cafe next door. Kids may like the loft-style private room.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location:10-15 minutes on foot to stations, and 20 minutes to Nara park
  • Room Details: One kid under six sleeps free in existing bedding

Book Now: Guesthouse Tsunoya at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Guesthouse Tsunoya at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Guesthouse Tsunoya at TripAdvisor

Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi

Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi

This is one of the best Nara hotels for budget travelers. You feel like you’re staying in a Japanese home, then this is the budget hotel in Nara for you. The staff is warm, friendly and good in the kitchen. Rental bicycles are available for 500 yen per day.

  • Pool: No
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Location: 20minutes walk to Nara Park, 10 minutes to Kintetsu-Nara Station
  • Room Details: Kids under 17 cannot stay in dorms (must book private room).

Book Now: Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi at Booking.com

Compare Prices: Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi at HotelsCombined

Read Reviews: Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi at TripAdvisor

Do You Know Where to Stay in Nara?

We’ll be adding and editing this list of Nara hotels, so if you know where to stay in Nara, let us know!

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book a top hotel in Nara using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help you find the best hotels in Nara Japan. Also the best Nara Ryokan and best Nara guesthouses. 

Comments

  1. Interesting about the tats Jason. My wife spent a year in Japan over a decade ago. I recall her noting the tat rule still applied to many baths back then, or to a fair number, at least. Hopefully they get that a few more folks than Yazuka sport ink.

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