An amazing traditional ryokan in the heart of the preserved area of Kyoto (the next street along is where you can spot geisha in the evenings)
It's a prime spot for shopping for lunch at the amazing department store food halls, a walk along the river, transport links and also very close to some of the most beautiful shrines.
They provide a traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner in your room. We were blown away by the daily variations.
Dinner was an experience I want to repeat - outstanding.
The staff were also incredibly helpful in creating a vegetarian option for my mother and were really concerned about giving her the best they could.
The service is incredible, the atmosphere fantastic, and I wouldn't miss the opportunity to experience a tea ceremony in the ryokan's own tea house located in the courtyard.
229-2 Nishinocho, Yamato-Oji Higashi-Iru, Shinmonzen, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 605-0088
My husband and I went to Japan on our honeymoon in May 2009. We spent our first week in Kyoto, staying in a furnished apartment which we found through Kyoto Stay Club. As we're both vegetarians and were travelling on a tight budget, we wanted to be sure that we had a cheap place to stay with access to local shops so that we could cater for ourselves.
The staff at the Kyoto Stay Club office are really friendly and helpful. We had identified a couple of apartments from the site, but they turned out to have already been booked. The staff made other recommendations to suit our budget, and we ended up staying in a lovely top floor apartment in the Marutamachi area of Kyoto - near to the Imperial Palace.
Kyoto is a walkable city, and the apartment was close to Nishiki Market, as well as having a Co-op and a Family Mart just around the corner, so we were able to cook for ourselves. There were also two vegetarian restaurants nearby, so we could sample Japanese cuisine. We were across the road from the neighbourhood shrine, in a residential area full of friendly people, too.
We are going back to Japan in October and contacted Kyoto Stay Club again. We received a "repeat custom" discount and are hoping to stay in the same apartment, as it really was a home away from home for us.
I'd recommend it to anyone travelling on a budget (it worked out as costing around £30 a night each - although the current exchange rate (July 2010) means that this is now nearer £40 a night each).
This is an old Kyoto merchant’s house (Machiya) which was very recently (January 2010) restored to its original splendor, but with modern western amenities in the kitchen, bath and toilet. The house has two bedrooms, a dining room, kitchen, toilet and bath. It is a small house on a very narrow cobbled lane close to the Shirakawa canal. The location was fantastic and resonably priced. The owners showed us how to use the house and how to find the nearby markets, cafes and restaurants. It was a really great experience, alot nicer than staying in some of the hotels we experianced on our trip.
Higashiyama area of Kyoto near Heian Jingu.
Unassumingly tucked behind its traditional street wall, this beautiful historic ryokan in the heart of Kyoto offers calm and seclusion with exquisite personal service. A younger and much cheaper relative of the famous Hiiragiya frequented by Charlie Chaplin and Elizabeth Taylor, the Bekkan welcomes you to airy wooden rooms with floor to ceiling sliding glazed screens and bamboo shutters overlooking the small ornate gardens. Green tea and red bean pastries are ceremoniously taken on arrival, followed by donning yukata for an appointment in the private onsen baths before a 12 course dinner is served on tatami mats in your room. Finally your futon bed is unrolled and the staff glide backwards out of the room for a peaceful night in this vibrant city of opposites. In the morning breakfast arrives and the futons disappear while you are in the bathroom. Around 20000 yen with meals, and worth more.
Close to City Hall and Teramachi shops. Within walking distance or a bus most of the hundreds of places to visit. www.hiiragiya.com/index-e.html
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