Besides for being dubbed as the best city in the world, Kyoto (京都) remains awash with remnants of its past glory. It is a place stunningly rich in heritage sites, exquisite cuisines, and a little sprinkling of modernity. As a place often visited by people, it also boasts historically enchanting inns which have been accommodating people through the centuries. Here are 5 of these places.
One of the Japanese-style inns located in Kyoto which has been operating for over 100 years is Sumiya Ryokan. It is popularly known for its traditional Kyoto-style multi-course meals which use several of the fresh seasonal Kyoto vegetables. The atmosphere in this ryokan (旅館) is very welcoming as the staff are looking forward to meeting and serving you.
The services offered highly reflects the spirit of tea ceremony wherein only the most relaxing things will be provided to your heart’s content. In this place, guests are invited to attend a tea ceremony every 7th and 17th of the month where they can experience being served with tea from a tea kettle heated over a sunken hearth.
Accommodation fee starts at 35,000 to 65,000 yen (excluding tax) depending on the number of guests. Lunch price is 15,000 yen and up per person, while dinner price is 18,000 to 23,000 yen per person. It is required to make a lunch/dinner reservation for at least two persons or more beforehand. Check-in time is 3:00 p.m. while checkout time is 10:30 a.m. The place is accessible by car or other public transportation. It approximately takes 15 minutes by taxi from JR Kyoto Station (JR京都駅).
Aburaya is located in the town of Ine (伊根), the closest town to the sea in Kyoto. Along the banks of the Ine Bay are roughly 200 houses lining it. These have garages for boats which is a necessity for fishing. If you feel like staying in this beautiful town, then Aburaya is the best choice for you. Here, you’ll be able to experience typical Japanese culture such as tatami (畳), yukata (浴衣), futon (布団), hot springs (温泉), and much more! Its atmosphere is very casual and relaxing and offers an amazing view of the Sea of Japan. There are 23 rooms completely renovated in 2014 providing easy access to different facilities. The 2nd-floor terrace area is perfect for taking pictures without anything obstructing the view while the guest rooms come in various types. Some have 8 tatami mats while others have 10 tatami mats. Some only have toilets while others have bath and shower units. Wi-Fi access is available at the entrance or lobby area. The front desk is available from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. If you feel like enjoying alcohol and karaoke (カラオケ) at a bar, you may do so on the 1st floor.
Matsui Honkan is a ryokan with over 80 years of history in Kyoto. It has a convenient location for sightseeing as it is close to temples and popular sightseeing spots. It has 27 rooms brimming with Japanese taste and offering comfort and heartfelt hospitality. Each room has a different character from each other but all provides the atmosphere of Japanese harmony. Guests who use wheelchairs have an accessible room available for them. Wi-Fi can be accessed for free from anywhere within the premises. Facilities include a large public bath, a banquet hall, a small dining hall, and a souvenir shop. For in-room relaxation, aesthetic treatment is available starting at 3,000 yen (dry head massage for 30 minutes). Check in time is 4:00 p.m. while checkout time is 10:00 a.m. There’s no parking area on this site so it’ll be best not to use a car to avoid parking trouble. Some of the popular sightseeing destinations nearby are Nishiki Market (錦市場 – also known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen”), Shinkyogoku (新京極) Shopping Arcade, Rokkaku-do Temple (六角堂), and Gion (祇園). It only takes 20 minutes to go to Gion from this ryokan on foot.
This inn is located on the banks of Kamo River (鴨川) and was established in 1831. It is a classic ryokan which has been beautifully decorated with an almost art nouveau approach. It provides free internet access in all guest rooms which are highlighted by wooden bathtubs. This inn promises to provide the best Kyoto traditions, a warm-hearted staff, finest rooms, and delicious cuisines. Its Kyo kaiseki (京懐石) dishes are beautifully prepared to help guests feel every season in Kyoto. It is also accessible with an easy walking distance from both downtown and the Higashiyama (東山) sightseeing district. It is only a 2-minute walk away from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station (清水五条駅), Keihan Line (京阪電鉄).
In the heart of Arashiyama (嵐山) is a traditional ryokan called Togetsutei. It was established in 1897 and has long been known as a cuisine inn. It consists of 25 traditional Japanese-style inns with each having its own private bath and toilet. If your room is located near the riverside, you’ll be lucky to see panoramic views and beautiful landscapes. It serves Japanese-style meals made by expert chefs in the privacy of the rooms with some special meal requests available. An indoor bath for same genders is available with a sauna. Check-in time is 4:00 p.m. while checkout time is 10:00 a.m. If you’re late for the check-in time, it would be best to call the hotel directly to avoid any penalties. If you wish to cancel, a cancellation fee will be charged to you according to the date. This is a perfect inn to experience the varying seasons of Kyoto as it provides mesmerizing views which change through time and an intimate and refined ambiance. Its location is also suitable for exploring Arashiyama and the Sagano area of Kyoto.
These five historical inns have long been admired and visited by many guests. The welcoming atmosphere if you stay at these traditional places is just as relaxing as staying in your own home. It is one of those ways wherein Japanese culture is extended as a form of warm service to guests. Most of the time, the stay is comfortable, rewarding, and remarkable, and the food is extraordinarily delicious!