Whatever your budget, group size, and dreams for Nara, there will be a bed (or futon) just right for you. Peruse our list of the best places to stay in Nara, below. We’ve included hostels, hotels, traditional Japanese ryokan, and a couple of wildcard options. Be sure to check out our tips on location, too.

Nara is often a tacked-on day trip from Kyoto or Osaka that leaves you little-to-no-time to explore. If you stay a while, though, you’ll discover that there’s much more to this ancient city.

Pro tip: If you’re torn between privacy and price, check out the Nara hostels with private rooms — they can bridge this gap nicely. Some even have private bathrooms.

Where to stay in Nara

There are plenty of hotels, hostels, and ryokan to choose from in Nara — not to mention temple stays and even a place with a built-in bakery. Nara is a small city, and the majority of the accommodation is centered between the two train stations and the famous Deer Park.

If you’re staying longer than one night, however, you may want to explore a little further afield. Check out our guide to things to do in Nara for ideas, and consider checking out the area’s historic connection to sake and sushi while you’re at it.

Todaiji Main Hall
Many hotels in Nara are close to Tōdaiji Temple. | Photo by Gregory Lane

The best hostels in Nara

Nara is perfect for hostels: it’s friendly, small enough to explore on the cheap, and has local hosts who want more guests to stay and explore. Choose from the hostel with the built-in bakery (yes, we are mentioning it again), the chance to spend the night in Nara Park itself, and places offering that personal touch.

The Deer Park Inn: Sleep in Nara Park

From ¥4,000 (two-night minimum)
30 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 5 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

The dream combination of affordable and peaceful, The Deer Park Inn in Nara has great views, free WiFi, and deer on its doorstep. Located at the foot of Mt. Wakakusa in Nara Park itself, the hostel is set amidst the run of stalls and shops near the temples that make Nara so popular. It’s still convenient though, as it’s just a 30-minute walk from Kintetsu-Nara Station (you can also take a bus or taxi). The only potential catch here is that they have a two-night stay minimum, so you’ll need to explore Nara for a few days.

Rooms and facilities

Deer Park Inn has a mix of dorm rooms and private rooms, including family, double, twin, and triple, although all have shared bathrooms. For the dorms, you can choose from six-bed mixed or four-bed female-only. All rooms come with aircon and toiletries.

The spacious hangout area looks out onto the park, and while there’s no restaurant on site there is a handy kitchen, so you can save some yen and prep your own meals. WiFi is available throughout, and there’s a coin laundry too.

Hilo Hostel: For the local touch

From ¥3,500 for dorms, ¥4,500 for private rooms
3 minutes from Nara Station, 30 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple and the Deer Park
Check availability

A homely vibe with a friendly and knowledgeable host, Hilo is the ideal base for exploring Nara on a budget. The hangout area has books and internet. Plus, there are free drinks to encourage people to relax and socialize after days spent out exploring, so it’s ideal for the solo traveler looking to be a little less solo.

Hilo is close to JR Nara Station, so it’s ideal for early departures or late arrivals. If you’re heading out on the airport Limousine Bus, you’re in extra luck as it’s one minute to the nearest stop. It’s also about 15 minutes to Kōfukuji Temple and then a further 15 minutes to Tōdaiji Temple.

Rooms and facilities

Hilo has a mix of dormitories and private rooms, so you can balance privacy and price. There are mixed and female-only dorms, and they’re the traditional curtained bunk-type rather than private pods. The rooms come with a choice of double or triple beds, with shared bathrooms. The hostel has a well-stocked kitchen, comfortable hangout area, and laundry services.

Bakery Hotel Chateau D’or: Fresh bread and bunk beds

From ¥2,600 for dorms, ¥4,500 for private rooms
2 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 15 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

If there’s anything that tips a hostel from great to perfect, it might just be this. Originally a bakery, they branched out and now offer accommodation with a hotel feel and hostel options. It’s located in a sweet spot between the stations (just 2 minutes from Kintetsu Nara) and the Deer Park, with plenty of local places to eat nearby.

The bakery café is very reasonable, offering sandwiches, chiffon cake, and toast sets, as well as souvenir loaves. Breakfast is thick toast with a variety of toppings, along with salad and a drink, setting you up for the day.

Bakery Hotel Chateau D’or. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Rooms and facilities

Guests can choose from a bed in a shared dorm (mixed) or private rooms with single, double, and family options. There are both Western- and Japanese-style rooms. Perks include aircon, ensuite bathrooms (shared in the dorm), WiFi, and a lovely breakfast terrace.

The on-site bakery means breakfast is fresh and delightful, with biscuits and other sweet treats available too. There’s a coin laundry, microwaves, and even traditional Japanese pajamas for those in private rooms. Read our full review.

Haruya Naramachi: 100-year-old hostel

From ¥2,600 for dorms, ¥4,500 for private rooms
15 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 30 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

If you dream of staying in a traditional Japanese inn, but your bank balance says bunk beds, then this is the perfect place for you. In a renovated 100-year-old family home, Haruya is a hostel that offers very reasonable prices. Kept simple but with all you need, it retains the traditional Japanese style and provides the calm setting you need after a long day out and about. The location is a bit further out than other hostels, but that’s what the rental bikes are for.

Rooms and facilities

You can choose from bunks in a mixed dorm, twin, triple, and family rooms, some of which come with a private bathroom. All rooms have aircon and some have a garden view, with all but the dorms offering traditional futon bedding.

You’ll spot the rental bikes on your way in, but Haruya has plenty more practical help to offer. There’s a shared kitchen, a library, and a lounge to relax in, making it a home away from home — especially when the hosts serve tasty rice porridge for breakfast.

The best hotels in Nara

If you’re seeking creature comforts or you’re a family who needs their own space, Nara has some great hotels to choose from. Go for a classy stay at a century-old hotel, spend a night in the city’s tourism center, or splash out on some real luxury.

Nara Visitor Center and Inn: Central spot with crafts galore

From ¥6,000
3 minutes from Kōfukuji Temple, 10 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple and the Deer Park
Check availability

Just 3 minutes from Kōfukuji Temple and Naramachi, it doesn’t get more central than this. While staying in a visitor center may seem odd, it actually means you’re in a prime location with access to all the best information and activities in Nara. Add to that some incredible views of the pagoda, and the fact that all rooms come with a glass-fronted balcony to admire the park below, and you’ll be wondering why you ever questioned it in the first place.

The lobby of the Nara Visitor Center and Inn. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Rooms and facilities

All rooms are private and ensuite, and the majority are Japanese-style in that they have tatami and futon beds, although some twin rooms offer Western-style beds instead. There’s a public bath to rest your weary feet, a communal kitchen, aircon, heating, and WiFi throughout.

There’s luggage storage and a coin laundry too. Not to mention the activities taking place in the building, meaning you can book things at the desk and try tea-making before even stepping outside.

Nara Hotel: Charm, comfort, and class

From ¥17,000
20 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 15 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

A classic Japanese hotel with a hundred years of history, the Nara Hotel is a classy spot for your stay. It’s inspired by Western-style hotels but with all the charm of Japanese hospitality. Expect comfortable rooms, a grand bar, and two high-end restaurants, along with a tea lounge, all under one roof.

Just south of Kōfukuji Temple, the Nara Hotel has beautiful park views and is surrounded by mature trees, whisking you away from busy streets to a serene haven. You may want to get a taxi if you’re traveling from JR Nara Station with luggage, but you’ll appreciate the green location once you arrive. It is on the pricier side, but it has the class to back it up, especially when it comes to the views and the beautifully presented meals.

Rooms and facilities

As a larger hotel, Nara Hotel offers twins, doubles, and Japanese-style rooms as well. Plus, there are options for your view and whether you want smoking or non-smoking rooms.

Breakfast is provided, and there are all the mod cons — including private bathrooms, WiFi, TVs, and aircon to make sure your stay is comfortable. They offer rental bikes to help you explore, and have free parking if you’re driving.

Centurion Hotel Classic Nara: Budget family hotel

From ¥6,000
4 minutes from JR Nara Station, 25 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

If you’re in the budget hotel game, you’ll have seen this chain around Japan. A couple of things to be wary of here though: first is — be sure you get a non-smoking room, and second is to check there is WiFi in rooms, as many still lack this. Caveats aside, this Nara hotel is very reasonable. It’s also super close to JR Nara Station, making it ideal for late arrivals or early departures.

Rooms and facilities

This is a budget hotel that’s had a facelift, so you’ll get value for money — but not much space. The rooms start at a standard double and go up in size, with sofa beds available alongside single and double beds to make up your family space. There is a restaurant serving breakfast.

The best ryokan in Nara

To go true Japanese style, it has to be a ryokan (Japanese-style inn). Traditional, peaceful, and offering all the perks of Japanese hospitality, they’re the ideal way to make your stay part of the overall experience.

Nara Ryokan: Japanese charm with Western comforts

From ¥8,500
10 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 20 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

Small and cozy, Nara Ryokan is the perfect blend of traditional and practical, with tatami rooms, comfortable beds, and a great location. 10 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station and 15 minutes from Nara Station, it’s just south of the landmark Sarusawa Pond. Stay here and you can start the day with a perfect morning stroll up to Tōdaiji Temple.

There’s a private hot spring (onsen) bath guests can reserve for free, which sources its mineral-rich water from Yoshino, one of the few intermittent cold mineral springs in Japan (but don’t worry, it’s still hot).

The on-site restaurant serves authentic sushi made in-house, and a traditional Japanese breakfast. There’s a small garden and massage chairs to relax into after racking up those steps. Rooms are each inspired by a different era from Jōmon to Shōwa, so if you’re into Japanese history, this is for you.

Nara Ryokan. | Photo by Maria Danuco

Rooms and facilities

Nara Ryokan starts off with a small single, making this a nice option for solo travelers looking to treat themselves. There are also twin rooms ranging from small to deluxe, but be sure to check if there’s a private bathroom, as the cheaper single and twin rooms have shared bathrooms.

All rooms are tatami and come with Western-style beds, although some have additional futon beds. Plus, all rooms are equipped with aircon and WiFi. One of the perks is the private onsen that guests can reserve for free: ideal if you’re still not quite sure about the idea of stripping off in front of strangers.

Pro tip: Read our guide to what to do at an onsen in Japan.

Hotel New Wakasa: Modern ryokan with outdoor baths

From ¥8,500
12 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 3 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

Offering terrace views of the city and a private spa, this is a ryokan with some extra luxury comforts. It’s in the perfect location between Kintetsu Nara Station and Tōdaiji Temple, making it ideal for those who want a central base.

The design is stylish and modern, but retains the Japanese influence, with tatami, wood, and soft lighting throughout. Be sure to take a soak in the spa pools, some of which can be reserved for private use. And make time to relax on the rooftop terrace after a long day of sightseeing, as you can see Tōdaiji Temple and Mt. Wakakusa.

Rooms and facilities

Rooms come in Japanese- or Western-style, with plenty of options for single or family occupancy, and futon beds offering flexibility. They are spacious and many come with a balcony offering mountain views; some even offer a private outdoor bath.

The modern dining room serves a highly recommended breakfast, and there are two restaurants to choose from. The spa and wellness center is a real perk, along with the terrace, meaning you can take your time and relax in the public bath or just dip your toes into the footbath. They have WiFi throughout, will hold luggage, have parking, and are accessible as they have an elevator for upper floors.

The wildcard options

Looking for something unusual? Say no more.

Nipponia Hotel Nara Naramachi: A spot of luxury

From ¥47,000
8 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 25 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

Nipponia Hotel Nara Naramachi. | Photo by Maria Danuco

While it may be blurring the lines between hotel and ryokan, this place is not playing when it comes to luxury. The stunningly renovated property offers vaulted ceilings, balconies overlooking the gardens, and a pleasing twist of Scandi design which compliments it all perfectly.

Rooms and facilities

Needless to say, you get pretty much everything a hotel can offer here — from a kettle to a private outdoor bath. There’s aircon, WiFi, and all the basics, but also air purifiers and minibars, so you know you’re not in a Travelodge anymore. Room rates include breakfast.

Temple Stay Renjoji: Charming temple stay in Nara

From ¥12,000
20 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, 25 minutes from Tōdaiji Temple
Check availability

There’s traditional, and there’s staying in an actual temple. Renovated into a private guesthouse, Renjoji is a unique place to stay — perfect for a relaxing break. Set a little out of the way, it’s in a quiet neighborhood but still walkable to the main sights of Nara.

You can take part in the morning prayers, enjoy the beautiful gardens, and spend time with the mother and daughter who run the temple-stay. Prices are charged on a per-person basis even though you get the whole place, so it’s a great option even if you’re in a couple or solo traveling.

Rooms and facilities

The temple has been carefully renovated, so it has all the mod cons while still retaining the temple feel. There are two tatami bedrooms, which can host between one and five people in total, along with a courtyard, kitchen, bathroom, and dining area, not to mention the gardens.

There is aircon and WiFi, and it’s child-friendly and accessible, with all rooms on one floor. Two other things worth mentioning are that parking is available, and the property is non-smoking (indoors).

*Note that booking for Renjoji is very limited, and the property may become unavailable on booking sites.

While we do our best to ensure it’s correct, information is subject to change. Unless otherwise specified, accommodation images courtesy Agoda.

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