I love Kyoto. My friends and I went there two years ago and we loved the culture and learned so much about Japanese history and tradition. It is rich in Japanese traditional experience with a fusion of old and new.
We were four backpackers from Manila, Philippines who were traveling from here to there. We thought of looking for a place to stay through www.airbnb.com to get the “taste” of real Japanese way of life.
First, we stayed at Sim’s Guesthouse, which is now called Guesthouse Soi. We had a wonderful experience at that guesthouse. The place was really nice but it was quite hard to find. You need to go up a hill from a bus station. But we were lucky because the staff was really friendly and very helpful. The female staff picked us up at the bus station and she was on time (well, all Japanese are never late which is a good thing). The guesthouse was small but very cute and clean. I actually love the interiors. A tatami-style lobby will welcome you and you can also sit and hang out with your friends there and play some games. The ambiance was very light, fun and very youth-friendly. We stayed in a two bunk-bed room which means all four of us had the room to ourselves. We had our own bathroom, too. Each bed had a curtain where you can have your own privacy as you sleep, relax, rest and just do your own thing. The bed was big and the sheets were really clean and soft. I loved Sim's Guesthouse. I highly recommend that you stay if you go to Kyoto. The guesthouse is very near Kiyomizu Temple, a very famous temple in Kyoto, and the National Museum. It is also not quite far from Kyoto Station which by the way has superb architecture in my opinion. Kyoto Station is my favorite!
The second place we booked through Airbnb was at the apartment of this cute couple named Kazuya and Saki. Their apartment provides a tatami room where you can actually experience the traditional Japanese way of sleeping. In the tatami, there are huge, comfortable and soft futons to sleep on. We actually all had a good rest in the room. The couple was really nice and friendly. Saki even made breakfast for us and served us fruits while we were there. The only downside is that the apartment is quite difficult to find. But the area is very safe and we could actually go out at night without any worries or trouble. There are nearby convenient stores in their area. We stayed there for a night just right before we went to Osaka. Their apartment is located pretty much in between Osaka and Kyoto.