Updated: Feb 16
Kyoto is often awarded as the best city in the world in terms of beauty, tourism and quality of life, so it is not difficult to imagine that many students choose Kyoto as a destination for their studies. However, if thanks to sites such as Airbnb, Booking, Expedia or others it is now very easy to find accommodation for a period ranging from one day to a few weeks, it is still relatively complicated to find accommodation that goes from a minimum of 1 month to a maximum of two years that can be suitable for a foreign student. Usually a foreign student has difficulties with the Japanese reading experience and finding an English language site that offers a good range of suitable accommodation is still complicated but the situation is gradually improving. As a good Italian when in the past during my travels I was looking for accommodation in various cities the first thing I referred to was the price. Nothing more wrong! Of course, the price is an important value but if to save 10,000 Yen a month you will take an apartment 20 km from your school instead of 2 km, the savings go away in train tickets, wasted time that could be used for the study and some snacks consumed during the wait, therefore, the house 20 km from the school costs you more than the one 2 km. Not to mention that if you have a few party nights with friends and miss the last train, the taxi will have a lot of impact on the monthly budget.
So the first tips is: cheaper it doesn’t always mean convenient.
The second suggestion I would like to give you is to not underestimate the impact this journey will have on your life forever. In 2007 I moved for the my first long trip to Byron Bay in Australia for an English language study holiday where I then met my Japanese wife at school and today here I am, in Kyoto to write these lines, but this is another story! You know, there is not a day goes by that I don’t think back to Byron Bay and that magical year of freedom. If you decide to come and study in Kyoto, whether are 3 months, 6 months or 1 year, it will not be just a study holiday, it will be an experience that will change your life forever, so don’t give up on living the city. , the atmosphere of its magical river, the walks in Pontocho in the evening only because conditioned by the few tens of thousands of Yen of difference you have decided to take an accommodation far from the center or in any case in a context that does not excite you every single moment of your stay here. Rather save on something else, but the watchword as real estate agents say in America is only one but repeated 3 times: Location, Location, Location. You still don’t know it yet but being able to walk downtown or access the Kamogawa River whenever you want in less than 2 minutes on foot will change your day and the perception of your experience in Kyoto. Don’t give up on this experience.
Second tips: Location, Location, Location
What kind of person are you? It is possible that this is your first experience abroad and that you are living alone in general so before making a hasty decision among the alternatives available to a student, ask yourself which of the alternatives can really suit you. In Italy we have a saying that says “The best way to ruin a friendship is to have a holiday together”, this is because living together 24 hours a day goes far beyond just going out in the evening, married people know it well! (anfortunately too late!) So, are you a serial snorer or can’t stand those who do? Here maybe the shared room is not the best solution for you. Are you a very demure and shameful person who spends a lot of time in the bathroom and hates being seen in certain situations or slalom in the pubic hair of others in the shower? Here perhaps not even a share house with a private room but shared bathroom and shower can do for you. Are you an introverted person who has a lot of difficulty in relating to others and tends to suffer from loneliness and homelessness? Well then let’s say that the private apartment is not the best choice for you. Are you a highly independent person and intolerant of the rules? Delete the homestay from your list! In short, try to think of a typical day in each of these situations, such as the hostel, the share house, a private apartment and a homestay and imagine which one could really do for you. I have experienced them all in the past and I can say with extreme certainty that there is not one that I liked 100%. I am a serial snorer, I also had my uvula cut in a private clinic in Bangkok after a self-diagnosis on google with the result that now I snore even more for the sake of my wife (but that’s another story too!) and therefore no shared rooms. I do not disgust the pubic hair of others in the shower but I hate sharing the kitchen with those who never wash the dishes, steal my beers from the fridge, the oil from the pantry and leave mess around. I like the privacy of the apartment but as a friend of mine always said, it is people who take a trip, in the sense that in the long run what you have left is always and only human relationships and therefore a beer in company is worth more than all the books of the world!
Third tips: Before looking an accommodation outside, look inside yourself.
So what is the best solution for a student visiting Kyoto? Not the Hostel, not a Share House, not an apartment, not even a Homestay, simply Groliving, and I just happened to invent it! Groliving is a new building, in the city center, 2 minutes walk from one of the best accesses to the Kamogawa River and 5 from the Imperial Palace. It offers 5 studio apartments with all the privacy you need inside, bathroom, shower, kitchen, washing machine, bed desk, in short, everything but with a common area where you can talk and play with other people like you and a roof top where you can relax afterwards. an exhausting day of study. Created by a former students abroad for students abroad. For more information take a look at the Groliving page.