Modern building facade with a modern lobby. I like the small garden to look out at which is a nice contrast to the rest of the building. Located in a mostly quiet area.
On arrival, we were promptly greeted by front desk staff and they were more than happy for us to leave our luggage prior to the check in time.
When we returned for check-in, the proprieties (okami-san) introduced herself graciously and showed us around the ryokan - dinner and breakfast area, the lounge area, public bath area and the amenities in our rooms.
She also promptly served us hot tea in the room with welcome sweets which was a nice welcome after a freezing day outside.
There are a lot of things to love about this ryokan.
Location: Central near the city town hall, within walking distance to bus stops and a subway station. Also within walking distance to some interesting shops along teramachi-dori (the undercover shopping "arcade") but do try and explore the shops that are on teramachi-dori outside of the arcade. Some gems to be found !!
Rooms: I was surprised by how large the rooms were for Kyoto standards. Very comfortable and warm. Comfortable futons. Small television with only a small number of English channels, mini fridge, tea making facilities and your option of a ensuite. Ensuite was very small - might be a squeeze for tall foreigners (built around the average Japanese size). I would highly recommend the bath at B1 if you are adventurous enough to share your bathing experience with complete strangers (same sex). A long soak in the hot tub after a day walking around exploring Kyoto is pure bliss.
Price: Accommodation in Japan is expensive but I think this ryokan provides very good value for money.
Language: Most staff can speak English reasonably well. No issues with asking for directions, sightseeing advice etc.
Opportunities for cultural experience:
The ryokan regularly offers the chance to participate in traditional Japanese cultural experiences eg. tea ceremony, calligraphy writing etc. It is a good chance for travelers not proficient in the language to be able to participate in activities that may sometimes only be viewed from afar.
Free wifi !!
Things that may make the experience more daunting:
Japanese breakfast is a great option in this ryokan. Mostly, food that can be easily identified by the rest of the world as being Japanese. However, having rice early in the morning may not be your "cup of tea".
Dinner can be a challenging experience to the uninitiated. I thought that they were very generous with the amount and also the quality of the food for the price was really good. However, I was approached by one of the other guests to help identify some of the ingredients. Even, the friend that I was traveling may not have loved everything served. (No issues for me because I have become familiar with the local ingredients used)
If you have dietary restrictions then I think it's not a good option.
So my advice is.. proceed with caution. However, since you are in Japan - proceed ahead anyway - sometimes it's best to eat first and ask later. =)
You do not HAVE to have meals in the ryokan throughout your stay. I would recommend having dinner 1 night and breakfast 1 morning. Eating out options are plentiful in Japan.
For the traveller who have regularly stayed at ryokans prior, then I think this ryokan might not be the top of the list for the most authentic experience.
Overall, a really good option for the uninitiated - especially if you are worried about not being able to sleep on a bed or become accustomed to the rules that more traditional ryokans may impose.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- NISHIYAMA RYOKAN is small japanese style hotel.more than 2000 visitors from around the world stay with each year.plese enjoy traditional japanese culture at very reasonable rates.thank you in advance ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Nishiyama Ryokan Hotel Kyoto