There are many ways to access the Kansai Airport (KIX). As much as we love the convenience of the JR network, it was quite a hassle to drag the luggage around the crowded JR station. Even if you manage to get to Kyoto Station via JR, you would probably need to take a taxi to your final destination. Taking a taxi in Kyoto is a disaster. Taxi is small and its almost impossible to fit 2 luggages and 2 passengers. Kyoto taxi drivers are not familiar with places and they refuse to use the GPS (At first I thought it was our bad luck but even the locals say so too).
After learning our lessons the hard way, we tried the door to door shuttle and were completely satisfied with their service. You can choose from MK Taxi or Yasaka Taxi. We tried the Yasaka Taxi on our last trip. We booked the shuttle online and you get a discount if you book rountrip service. They have an English website and they accept credit card payment. It’s a shared shuttle service and they take up to 8 passengers at one time. I love the hassle free experience 🙂
We love Kyoto so much we bought a machiya (京町家) there earlier this year. As much as we love to move there asap, we are not financially ready yet. And we are not fascinated about the crazy work-life in Japan. So before we can become a Kyoto-jin, we will rent out our machiya as Airbnb.
We will share about our machiya in future posts. Here I want to share things you should consider when you book an Airbnb in Kyoto.
- Pinpoint the Airbnb location – As you might know, Airbnb does not pinpoint the exact location of the apartment. It can be off quite a bit. I’ve booked an apartment in Tokyo, thinking its right next to the train station, but ended up having to walk a good 15 minutes. So before you book the apartment, message the host and ask for the exact address. They might not provide you that (for privacy reasons I guess) but if you ask the cho(町) they should be more than willing to tell you. Cho is mostly a block or 2 in size, so you get a better idea where the apartment is located.
- Does the apartment have an elevator – Kyoto is an old city. Many apartments are not equipped with elevator. Unless you don’t mind carrying your luggage up the stairs, send a message to the Airbnb host to check if there’s one.
- Is washer provided? – One of the convenience feature Airbnb offers is a washer/dryer. You can pack less and save more room for shopping 😉
- Is portable wi-fi provided? – Portable wi-fi is a must have for travellers. You need to upload your travel photos to IG. You need to look for where to eat on Tabelog. You need to find out how to get to Kiyomizu-dera (清水寺) 🙂 If portable wi-fi is not provided, you can still rent one at Softbank at the KIX airport.
- How flexible is check-in/check-out time – One thing hotel wins over Airbnb is that you can leave your luggage in hotel lobby after checking out of the hotel. If Airbnb host does not offer late check-out, you can look for coin lockers at Kyoto station.
We’ve used Airbnb in France, Italy and Japan and had great experiences. If you like to try Airbnb, you may use this link to take US$35 off your first rental.
Hope you find the above tips useful and let me know how you like Airbnb 🙂