Don't let the word "hostel" fool you--this spot in the heart of Kyoto is a far cry from what many may assume a hostel to look like. With an eye for design, the lobby is sleek and modern (there was even what looked to be a special collector's edition book of Annie Liebovitz's photography when I stayed). Yes, its rooms are compact (as is the case for most of Japan), but they're spotless, exceedingly comfortable, and have TVs and ensuite options for those who want more privacy. The location itself is also stellar--only a few minutes walk from the Nishiki Market and plenty of eateries and boutiques. Along with dinners and gatherings, breakfast is available in the open kitchen/community area.