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“The perfect place to experience the essence of Nara.”
Review of KKR Nara Mikasaso

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KKR Nara Mikasaso
Ranked #12 of 16 B&Bs / Inns in Nara
Reviewed January 25, 2011

Nara Mikasaso is located on the fringe of the never ending Nara Park. Surrounded by trees and with a manicured garden it feels completely at one with the relative serenity of this beautiful city. It takes about 30 minutes to walk to Nara Kintetsu railway station of about 1,000 yen by cab to Nara JR station. We found the staff to be friendly and helpful. The staff's English was generally very limited, but completely sufficient to enjoy the experience. The only challenge was understanding what the magnificent meals contained.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank spoignand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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5 - 11 of 16 reviews

Reviewed October 19, 2009

KKR Nara / Mikasaso is a lovely traditional ryokan located on the southern edge of Nara Park. While this property might be a little intimidating for Westerners who speak no Japanese, for those who can muddle along in the local language, the Inn is a lovely destination right in the heart of Nara's sights. Read on for more:

OVERVIEW NOTES:
KKR Nara is definitely a site that requires a minimal ability to speak and understand Japanese. (We're by no means fluent, but have an ok vocabulary, and did generally well -- though a few interactions with staff still had to resort to hand-waving and single vocabulary words in either language to get through...) Their website (including reservations system) is in Japanese only, their desk and dining staff have only moderate English ability, and their location is not terribly easy to find unless you can understand Japanese maps. Note that on most maps, and when getting directions from local information staff, they'll most likely know the Inn as "Mikasaso" -- even though the Inn itself refers to itself in documentation as only KKR Nara. With all of that said, however, if you're able to muddle through in the local tongue, KKR Nara was an outstanding find! We greatly enjoyed our brief stay there.

LOCATION:
The Inn is located on the southern edge of Nara Park, about a 10 minute cab ride from the JR Nara station. From either the JR or Kintetsu Nara Stations, you can take the #2 bus to the first stop outside the southern entrance to the park -- when riding the bus, once you see a large lake outside the right-side windows, press the stop button and get off! A short 5-minute walk from that stop will get you to the Inn. Once there, you're only a few minutes walk from the Shiga Naoya residence, about 10 minutes walk from the Kasuga Taisha shrine, and maybe 25-30 minutes walk from Todaiji Temple. It's also about a 20 minute walk into the old part of Nara town, with its array of shopping and eating destinations.

PROPERTY / AMENITIES:
The Inn is something of an odd combination of sanitized-institutional, with rich traditional Japanese ryokan. With that said, however, it works! The Inn is welcoming and beautiful for the most part. Once you check in, you're shown the lower level of the Inn, which contains the dining area, a common room, and views of the sculpted back garden, which abuts onto Nara Park. Unless you're in a large upgraded room, the standard rooms are located on the upper level of the Inn. Common sinks and men's/women's toilets are located at the end of the hall.

There is one common bath area located inside of the Inn on the first floor, and another larger bath area off the front courtyard outside. The baths are changed daily between which one is for men, and which for women. The baths have a changing area with sink and baskets for clothes and towels. The inside area contain the typical low stools with hand-held showers for washing, and large ceramic baths for soaking. There is also a one-person shower room on the first floor for those who just want a quick scrub, without the traditional Japanese bathing experience.

Note that this is a traditional, full-service ryokan. When you select your room, you're given a choice of meal plans -- typically the "Seasonal" meal plan with ingredients to match the season, and a "Gourmet" meal plan with a somewhat broader array of delicacies. The plans include both breakfast AND dinner, so you'll need to plan on being back at the Inn by 6:30 PM for the last dinner seating. Both meals are kaiseki-style, and they were delicious and well prepared. Your first alcoholic drink is included with dinner, and more can be purchased at reasonable prices. Note that the dining area is also very traditional, with thin cushions and no cut-outs for legs under the low tables... so you'll need to be ok with traditional Japanese-style seating for your meals.

ROOMS:
The rooms are standard ryokan style, with a low table and chairs, a nook for luggage, and a shelf area with TV and telephone. A hot-pot of water is provided, as is the traditional tea case with teapot, cups and higher-end green tea for your use. Slippers, yukata and heavier tanzen (overcoat) are provided for use in the Inn, and most guests did wear that traditional dress when going to meals and the baths. A local attraction guide and magazine are provided, but are in Japanese only. When you go to meals, staff will lay out (and re-pack) your futon for sleeping. The futons and fluffy comforter were in good shape, and reasonably comfortable. The Japanese-style buckwheat-hull pillows were a little thin, however -- we ended up using the chair cushions as an underlayer to the firm buckwheat pillows for a little extra support.

The rooms look out over Nara Park, and with the windows open, the sounds of nature (including the weird hooting grunts of the Nara deer) transform your room into a wilderness outpost. With a pot of hot green tea available, we sat in our room for quite a long time and just relaxed -- unwinding after a long day is pretty easy here, and by itself was well worth the cost of our stay.

STAFF:
The Inn's staff were very helpful, and very nice. They really looked out for their guests, and tried to ensure that your every need was anticipated and taken care of. As Westerners, we sometimes encountered language difficulties interacting with them for things other than the typical, basic Inn requests, but they were good natured about this, and we generally were able to communicate with simple vocabulary and some hand waving when all else failed. If you speak no Japanese whatsoever, you're probably in for a rough time here, as previously mentioned... basic competence in the local language is really going to be important. But having a Japanese phrasebook, and a bit of experience using it, will probably be sufficient if you're an experienced traveler.

Overall, we had an outstanding visit to Nara, and our enjoyment was in no small part due to the hospitality and friendliness of the KKR Nara, Mikasaso Inn. With its traditional feel, its excellent food, and spectacular surroundings, it's not only an ideal spot for visiting Nara's attractions, but it feels like you've visited a world apart, thrown back into traditional Japan. We'd recommend this Inn to any traveler with basic Japanese language competence, looking to visit Nara's historical sites and relax in the beauty of Nara Park.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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13  Thank Darlox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: August 2017, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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1  Thank nishinomiya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2017
Google Translation

  • Stayed: September 2016, traveled solo
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Thank fattycat2525
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2016
Google Translation

  • Stayed: February 2016, traveled solo
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank miyosiko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2015
Google Translation

Room Tip: 煙味重!不建議家庭旅行時入住!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2015, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Thank kk168kuo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2014
Google Translation

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank 心歩遍路88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about KKR Nara Mikasaso

Address: 1224 Takabatakecho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Nara Prefecture > Nara
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 16 B&Bs / Inns in Nara
Price Range: $219 - $219 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 8
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