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“A wonderful night”
Review of Shikitei

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Ranked #20 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Level Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“A wonderful night”
Reviewed September 27, 2009

This is a lovely old inn that is connected to the Nara deer park. Everything has been renovated in the last few years. Great public baths! Our bathroom had a wooden soaking tub and a heated toilet seat.
The dinner was outstanding-so many courses and the presentation was beautiful. Our "server" worked to make our stay perfect. She spoke enough english for us all to function! The futons were comfy and wake up hungry because the breakfast was huge. It's exspensive but well worth it.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank Cindy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Bonsall, California
Level Contributor
345 reviews
133 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 622 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2009

We stayed in three very different styles of ryokan during our month long travels through Japan and this one was by far the best experience. Although the building isn't old, it is done in a very traditional style both inside and out. So, you get the advantage of modern plumbing and amenities, but with a totally traditional feel to the decor. There are only ten rooms, so it isn't overrun with guests. In fact, we never saw another guest the whole three days we stayed there.

Our room was enormous with a large foyer area with a river rock floor and large stepping stones leading from the front door to several separate areas. There was a fountain with fresh flowers floating in a basin in the corner. The effect was that you were entering a private courtyard, although the entire thing was inside your room. There was a mini-bar and tea making equipment by the front door, a small booth with a modern electronic toilet, another room with the sink and an attached private cedar bathing area with a huge soaking tub.

There were two tatami rooms, the largest of which was 12 tatami mats, so was very large. The other one was smaller and was probably intended for children to sleep in. Both rooms had the traditional low table with backrests. The larger room's table was placed on a heated carpet, although we didn't need that feature while we were there. The futons that were laid out after dinner were comfortable, but the duvets were so hot you could probably sleep outside in the snow and be too warm. Eventually we learned how to hang strategic body parts out of the covers to adjust the temperature.

Attached to the larger room was a small dressing area with a closet and another room that was an enclosed verandah with Western style chairs and a coffee table.

We did not see the public baths, so I can't comment on that, but the private faclities were very nice and provided every possible amenity you could think of. It was a bit odd to have to cross the foyer to use the toilet and then back to the bathing area to wash your hands, but that was a minor inconvenience and is typical of ryokan.

The location couldn't be better for touring Nara. I highly recommend spending at least two nights here so you can get used to the whole ryokan thing. The first day we were clearly out of our element, but by the second day we had bonded with our charming room attendant and the whole experience grew on us. Unfortunately, being in such a central location means the ryokan is located on a very busy street, but the windows are double-double paned, so with the windows closed you can't hear anything from outside. We wanted to air out the room and cool it down, so we left the windows open during the day, but it was too noisy to leave them open at night. The inn has air conditioning, but it wasn't turned on yet. We had a lovely view of Ara-Ike pond and the Nara Hotel on the hill beyond. All of Nara's sights were within easy walking distance.

Meals were served in a very traditional style in the room by the aforementioned charming room attendant. She was very formal during the actual service, but she easily opened up to us when we spoke some limited Japanese to her. We really enjoyed our interaction with her. The dinners were plentiful, but somewhat bland compared to what we had at other ryokan, but the food was nicely presented and the service was flawless. We had the Japanese breakfast twice and tried the Western option one morning. The Japanese breakfast was superior in every way to the Western version, so stick with that if you can handle fish for breakfast (plus many other things).

Very little English is spoken here, but everyone was very eager to please and it was possible to communicate with our limited Japanese. The manager at the front desk spoke a fair amount of English, so you can always go down there if you can't make your point with the staff. We had no problems at all and they were all very pleasant and welcoming.

Upon arrival we were greeted with a tea ceremony in a private room, then again another afternoon to honor us after we impressed the manager by being kind to the room attendant. We could not have been treated any better the entire 3-night stay. One night they sent a musician to the room to play for us while we ate. It was amazing and quite a surprise.

The room had two telephones and two flat screen TVs, although there were no English channels as you might expect. When we arrived the room smelled of cigarette smoke, which is fairly typical in Japan, but after opening the windows and airing the room out the odor disappeared and we had no problems with it after that.

This ryokan is a great introduction to the whole experience with lovely, gracious, traditional service by a young, but very attentive staff. They rush to greet you before you can reach the front door (there is a sensor at the gate to alert them of your arrival). Everything was explained to us to make us as comfortable as possible and we were offered XL yukata since we are both very tall. We were treated so nicely that we would return based on that alone. The fantastic central location and beautiful facilities are just icing on the cake.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6 Thank davegidd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shikitei

Property: Shikitei
Address: 1163 Takabatakecho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Nara Prefecture > Nara
Hotel Style:
Ranked #20 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Shikitei 3*
Number of rooms: 10
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