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“Not Your Typical Chain Hotel”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Nara Hotel

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Nara Hotel
Ranked #1 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
126 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Not Your Typical Chain Hotel”
Reviewed June 16, 2013

This hotel has a stunning location – in Nara Park, on a hill overlooking a lake, with trees all around, and a view of the famous Five-Storey Pagoda. The main building, built in 1909 in a mixed-Japanese-European style, oozes history, charm and old-fashioned elegance. The vast majority of the guests are Japanese, and at times, with its un-remodeled, un-hip beauty, the hotel seems like a time capsule of Japanese travel before the age of mass tourism.

Breakfast is served in the hotel’s gorgeous main dining room, Mikasa. And if you stay at the Nara Hotel, you should really go all the way and eat dinner once at Mikasa. We have a review of Mikasa on Trip Advisor under Nara restaurants.

With all these pluses, though, come some minuses. We took everyone’s advice and booked a room in the main building. (There’s also a new building, built in 1984, which everyone, including the hotel’s own employees, say is a far step down from the 1909 main building.) Our “standard twin” turned out to be quite small, the bathroom even smaller, the sink ridiculously low, and storage space hard to come by. We want to go back to the Nara Hotel again, but if we can afford it, we’ll try for a larger “deluxe” room.

The staff at the front desk is sweet and well-meaning, and there’s always someone on duty with passable English. On the other hand, level of service is not what you get in a top international hotel. (We came to the Nara Hotel directly from the Hyatt Regency Kyoto, a move that underlined the difference.) For example, if you want a taxi, there are no cabs waiting at the hotel; the staff has to call, and it takes a few minutes for the cab to arrive.

Oddly enough, despite its old-fashioned looks, the Nara Hotel has excellent free wi-fi in every room.

The Nara Hotel is not a wallow-in-luxury type of place, but it’s something even better: full of character, one of a kind.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank LaBu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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667 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (56)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco Bay area
Level Contributor
81 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2013

Being able to walk from the hotel to some of the famous Nara sights was great. When we got tired, there were taxis available to take us back. It is a beautiful area and worth staying at least overnight. We had a room on the second floor of the old section. It didn't have a view but we did like the feel of being in an older, more traditional hotel. The room was quiet and comfortable, but the bathroom was very small. Breakfast was included. It was not a buffet but it was good. We could order the traditional Japanese breakfast or the American. All of the staff were very kind and helpful.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank N0rCalfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
88 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed May 20, 2013

We were lucky enough to stay at the Nara hotel for 1 night during our holiday to Japan, whilst this hotel didn't have the shine and sparkle of some of the big named hotels we also stayed at it did have something very special.
It felt like going back in time, the service was fantastic and breakfast and dinner excellent, altogether we would not have missed this experience, a lovely addition to our fantastic holiday in Japan.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank gj6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canton of Fribourg, Switzerland
Level Contributor
33 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed May 20, 2013 via mobile

Located in Nara park, this very traditional and quiet hotel is definitely not like these international chains that look the same all over the world...
Emperors have stayed there... Building made of wood... Two parts, the traditional and the new one. If you choos the right dates, a single room for 100USD it a double for 230... So affordable for a 1-2 night stay.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Hugues S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed May 20, 2013

We stayed at Hotel Nara for one night to make the most of our time in Nara. Our room was in the newer building but was still very nice and although it didn't have quite the same charm as I imagine the old rooms have, we weren't woken up by boilers or other guests.

The staff were incredibly friendly and attentive, eager to make sure that we enjoyed our stay. The main part of the hotel has managed to maintain its old world charm and after the chaos of Tokyo, our quiet time in Nara was much needed.

Location-wise, it's only a short walk from some of Nara's best sites and the main street where there are a number of shops, restaurants and cafes. However, if you're lugging cases, then I'd recommend you take a taxi from the station to the hotel which will take less than ten minutes.

We would definitely recommend this hotel to couples or families looking to stop over for a day or two to enjoy all that Nara has to offer.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank HKGem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
156 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
Reviewed April 28, 2013

Beautiful hotel located right in the middle of Nara park. Our room was big for Japanese standards. Service was great and food was amazing at their Mikasa restaurant. The only down side is that as iris quite an old hotel, the walls are quite thin and one can hear everything that is happening next door. Wear earplugs if you are a light sleeper.

Room Tip: Go for the afternoon tea. You have lovely views of the park and the cakes are delicious.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CCfromLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 27, 2013

I was able to barrow an adapter for my lap top battery charger from the front desk. “Takuhai (baggage forwarding) service in the lobby is a wonderful and helpful service hotel has made available at the hotel with a reliable vendor, which we took advantage of. Hotel is non-smoking but their smoking section outside of the 2nd entrance is the best I have ever seen, with a roofed wooden building and bench, and a heater for chilly days was like a waiting place in a tea house’s garden. This is a sensitive, service minded hotel. Only negative comment is a small cup of a coffee costs 500yen when we had a visitor dropped by while having our breakfast, although we knew the Nara Hotel is expensive. We would like to come back for a longer stay to enjoy the hotel and it beautiful surroundings. 2nights were not enough to appreciate this old but beautiful hotel with wonderful services offered to its guests.

Room Tip: Many people said the new wing rooms are bigger than old wing. Hotel employee agreed too. Unless you...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Urusai A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Nara Hotel

Property: Nara Hotel
Address: 1096 Takabatake-cho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Nara Prefecture > Nara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Nara Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 129
Reservation Options:
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