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“Japanese hospitality at it best” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kankaso

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Kankaso
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Ryokan
  |   10 Kasugano-cho, Nara 630-8212, Nara Prefecture   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 61 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Engadin
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Japanese hospitality at it best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

We stayed two nights at the Kankaso ryokan. It was an great experience. The ryokan has a beautiful garden and lies next near the temple with the Todai ji with the great buddha. Is is easy to reach. When leaving the train station just ho into the next bus of the inner loop and leave opposit national museum (yobushi garden). Then follow the road to the traffic lights and turn right. Among the shops you see a small sight on the left hand side. Just pass the iron bar gate.
The ryokan is not a cheap choice but with great meals, perfect service and a wonderful bath a "must" experience in japan.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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42 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Somewhere on Planet Earth
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2012 via mobile

We arrived at Kankaso before check in time, we were prompted for tea and our bags were taken care of.
The ryokan is ammidst the deer park, 3 minutes from big buddah.
The Japanese traditional diner is not cheap, an aquired taste but a not to miss. Both our kids (8&4) received western food with a japanese touch as in burger, pasta, tempura shrimp and macha desert.
Our host was amazing, this giggling lady realy does everything to ease you. We wanted sushi on the second night and she even proposed to have it brought in.
The Macha drink you get when returning in the afternoon was loved by all.

One warning if you do take the degustation diner...it is a taste of japanese traditional food but you get so much to taste we could have been rolled back to our room!

We and the kids loved Kankaso!

  • Stayed May 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 29, 2012

We stayed at Kankaso for 2 nights while visiting Nara. This traditional ryokan is beautiful, with stunning moss-covered gardens and sculptured trees.

My husband lived in Japan for many years and can still converse in Japanese. I don't know how else we would have managed here, as I suspect very little English is spoken by any of the staff at the ryokan.

We travelled to Nara by train from Tokyo. On arrival at the station, we hopped in a taxi to the ryokan (approx 10 minutes). The ryokan is conveniently located right outside Nara Park. We were surprised to see the abundance of tame deer all around (mostly waiting to be fed by giggling school kids and tourists). The big temple inside Nara Park (Todaiji) is definitely worth a visit.

When we arrived at the ryokan, we removed our shoes and were taken to our room, which was a 6 mat tatami room (the size of an apartment in Japan!) with a small private bath and a corridor which wrapped around 2 sides of the room, looking into the beautiful gardens. By day, the tatami room was used as a living space with a low Japanese table with chairs and by night, it was converted into a bedroom with futons.

One of the reasons why we stay at any ryokan is to experience the "kaiseki", a degustation menu featuring 7+ courses for dinner. The food at Kankaso was spectacular, exquisitely crafted with unbelievable delicacy and absolutely beautiful to behold. You need to love fish, though, and be willing to try things you might have never tasted before. Some courses are easily recognisable (eg tempura, sashimi, grilled fish, tofu, miso soup and of course, rice) and other courses aren't, but it's all part of the experience and we loved it.

We were initially a little worried about how our 2 year old daughter would cope with the kaiseki for dinner and the Japanese breakfast (rice, fish, tofu, miso soup) but she was totally fine and happily gobbled up bowls of rice with tempura and grilled fish. The lady who looked after us at the ryokan noticed that our daughter loved fruit, and brought us big plates of cut strawberries, kiwi fruit, oranges and rockmelon for afternoon tea and at breakfast, which was lovely.

We also loved the huge hot baths at Kankaso, of which there were 2, both with floor to ceiling windows looking into the gardens. After a day on our feet exploring Nara, it was lovely to come back to the peace and serenity of the ryokan and soak in the hot bath - aah. Our little girl loved it so much she didn't want to leave!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Newton, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
76 helpful votes 76 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2012

We stayed back in 2009, so this review is a bit overdue. A beautiful ryokan with a very traditional feel. I would definitely recommend it if you are interested in a traditional ryokan experience, but maybe not if you really prefer all of your typical modern hotel amenities. It's not that the ryokan wasn't comfortable or luxurious - it was! It's just that the experience is very different from one you would have at a typical hotel and so there are inevitably going to be some adjustments.

First, the grounds are beautiful. The entrance garden is exquisite. The wood building was beautifully maintained and very traditional-looking. The covered walkways between the rooms gave views of the gardens. Our room opened up to one of the gardens and provided a beautiful view. Overall, the setting was peaceful and serene. The building felt old, not in a run-down way (it was spotless and well-maintained), but in the sense of having a lot of tradition and character.

We had a large tatami room, with a separate small porch overlooking the garden. The innkeeper rolled out futons in the evening. We also had slippers and yukatas (robes) to wear during meals and for walks to the bath. Sitting and sleeping on the floor was a real nice experience for us, though could be tough for folks who don't like firm sleeping surfaces. No locks on the sliding doors, so there is less of a feeling of privacy.

The meals were quite an experience - elaborate and multi-course. We sat in a separate large tatami room (just the two of us), on the floor with a low table. Many, many courses followed, not all of them easily identifiable. A lot of fish and vegetables, all exquisitely presented. Overall, I would say that the food was quite good, though not out of this world.

The communal bathrooms were quite nice as well. We occupied one of them that was devoted to family use, so we could have it to ourselves. A very large (and hot!) tub with a view of the garden. A terrific place to relax at the end of the day.

The service was extremely attentive, although language was sometimes an issue. The innkeeper did not speak much English and our Japanese was pretty rudimentary. However, we were able to communicate quite well with hand gestures, etc. (I think they are quite used to this). Finally, the location is really terrific, right near the gate and many of the sights, within walking distance to many of them.

So, overall, I would recommend Kankaso if you are looking for a ryokan experience. Padding along the walkways in our slippers and yukatas, moving from dinner to the baths through the beautiful gardens was a great experience.

(We booked through Japanese Guest Houses, which was pretty straightforward).

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Stockholm, Sweden
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2011

I cannot speak for the other ryokans in Nara but we stayed in three other ryokans (in Tokyo, Kyoto and Matsumoto) and this was the closest to a 'traditional' (as I imagine it to be) Japanese experience . We had two large tatami mat rooms with views over the beautiful garden. And Aya is a wonderful hostess, breakfast was divine and we did not eat until late in the day as a result of such a good breakfast.

Kankaso was more expensive than the other, more modern, ryokans but the location and service made up for this.

I would certainly recommend the Kankaso for anyone seeking a convenient place from which to explore Nara and enjoy some of the older charms of Japan.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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Berkeley, CA
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 17, 2011

Kankaso is an elegant Japanese inn within walking distance of the main Nara sights (including Shin-Yakushiji, Kofukuji and the Nara National Museum). Its building was formerly part of the Todaiji complex and parts are 1000 years old. The inn's gardens are exquisite. The rooms are spacious and well heated in winter. The ample food at dinner and breakfast over three days was excellent and refined. The are several spacious baths and also en suite bathrooms. Ms Aya, the maid, manager and general factotum, is warm and welcoming but not intrusive. In the evenings the area is quiet. The price for our two room suite and all meals was very reasonable, just over Yen 200,000 for two persons for three days.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
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Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2010

The staff is very friendly, despite the language barrier, and very helpful too. The spa is nice, and the location is ideal for visiting Nara Park. (The deer and schoolchildren are right outside, but in a way, that's part of the charm!) The place itself is very nice and green. But I wouldn't go there again. It was extremely expensive and--having eaten their multicourse haute tofu cuisine--I have no desire to return. The breakfast was great, but the dinner quelched any desire I might have had for tofu, as I wasn't a big fan of it in the beginning. Also, I personally found it hard to sleep on the futon. The walls showed their age with water stains, although it's perfectly clean. I wasn't necessarily expecting more for my money because I know ryokans are expensive, but Kankaso is too expensive for the experience to be considered worth the price.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kankaso

Address: 10 Kasugano-cho, Nara 630-8212, Nara Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Nara Prefecture > Nara
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 61 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 9

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