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“expensive but worth every penny”
Review of Kankaso

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Kankaso
Ranked #26 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
347 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
“expensive but worth every penny”
Reviewed January 9, 2013

The ryokan is located off a busy street leading to the Tojiama temple and its great Buddha amongst other marvels. Set back in its own Zen garden behind gates meant to keep out the "wild" (but really rather tame) deer, it used to be the lodgings of monks and still proudly displays many scrolls and sculptures.
My son had a room with private bathroom (shower and typically deep and narrow bath tub), I had access to the beautiful antique-furnished dining room where we had breakfast in the monings.
The public baths were very clean and had lovely garden views and I never encountered anyone else there, in fact our whole stay was like a private experience.
We were welcomed with afternoon tea (matcha and a sweet then green tea) every time we came back to the ryokan to catch our breath between excursions.
Breakfast was beautifully served up and very tasty, with special mention for the New Year spread with lucky gold flakes on everything and even sake - we weren't offered any extra rice as I'd got used to in other ryokan but one bowlful was enough given everything else!
The maid / waitress was exceedingly courteous and helpful. The woman who took the payment when we left was a little haughty and cold - perhaps she's the owner and doesn't feel like kowtowing to tourists?
Highly recommended anyway, the place is beautiful, great service and priceless location. But just a word of warning - the whole area shuts down at night so don't hope to get dinner within walking distance so if you haven't ordered it at the ryokan be prepared to catch a cab into Nara city centre - there are plenty of decent restaurants around Kintetsu station, a 5 mns ride away.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank brancusirocks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
166 reviews
88 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed December 20, 2012

Wonderful welcome in a very traditional ryokan. Mama-san, the hostess, is the most gracious lady to host foreigners in Japan. Perfect experience, including a very large room, a great 7-meal dinner, the best traditional Japanese "hot" bath I have ever had, all that with a very serene garden view in the Nara park. A dream!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Bernard L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level Contributor
269 reviews
238 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 585 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2012

Even as recession is looming in the horizon, I scrimp on western hotels in Wakayama and Osaka, staying in 15-18 sqm small rooms so that my parents and I could 'roll the boat out' and stay two nights at the authentic and lovely, Kankaso Ryokan in Nara. No regrets or whatsoever!

This was my 5th ryokan stay (3 in Kyoto and 1 in Miyajima) and the first for my parents. I would rate this ryokan's location to be among the very best in Nara as its located on the main walking path (no cars!) towards the Nandaimon and famed Todaiji. Sandwiched between gift shops and little restaurants, it was a heaven of peace once you enter its private grounds!

Having arrived by train and cab from Wakayama at 10am, we left our luggage behind and started exploring Nara. We then had a late lunch at its adjoining restaurant and checked into the Ryokan at 3pm sharp. We had two meals at its adjoining restaurant, with good food at reasonable pricing (most affordable in the neighborhood, trust me!).

We roughly paid 25,000 yen (before 5% tax) for each person, two meals a day on our first night of stay and only 17,000 yen each person for the second night with breakfasts only. Though not cheap if you compare it with western hotel's small and character-less rooms, but good value if compared it with other nearby modern and traditional ryokans. You will probably be shocked at the prices charged by other ryokans in Nara ....

And to our surprise, we were being assigned to me, some of the best rooms in the ryokan - my parents stayed in the 8+4 tatami detached house (number 24), linked to the main building via a small cosy bridge while I stayed in a 8 tatami one in room number 22. The detached house faced the main front garden and has its own private cypress wood bathtub and shower area, as well as, toilet facilities. Very quiet indeed!

As for my own room, I only have a wash basin and toilet but the three common bathrooms is just next to my room and I could bathe in completely privacy, with permission from Aya san. My room faced the ryokan's back gardens and I could occasionally hear school children laughing in the near distance during the day. After 7 or 8pm, it was all quiet but even in the day, the slight muffled noises does not bother me and I could even catch a nap. There was a TV with only Japanese channels, safe, toiletries (no body lotion though), toothbrush with paste, yukatas, socks, slippers in the room. Shower caps in the common bathrooms only.

The Kankaso has 5 rooms on the ground level and 3 on the second level. The biggest room seems to be room 26 on the second floor but room 25 (8 tatami with an extra small entrance area) on the second floor is also quite nice - could hear the river gushing and children laughing away ... The ryokan even has free Wifi in its lobby area but the signals are somewhat weaker in my room 22. No complaints but full of praises for the well maintained and charming ryokan.

Breakfasts was great and you could choose between Westernized or Japanese one. Dinner, is a 11 course feast .... beautifully presented and very tasty indeed. Though my parents are not so keen in Japanese food but being a lover of the food myself, I found its quality rather high and very tasty. And the ever hard working and pleasant Aya san did her best to please and take good care of us, domo arigato!

After a memorable two nights stay in Nara, we took the JR train to our final destination, Osaka. And the reason why our 3 cities 6 nights holiday has become so memorable, its due mainly to the fact that we had stayed in the lovely Kankaso in Nara, a very genuine and authentic Japanese traditional ryokan. Arigato to the Management as well as Aya san of Kankaso.

Room Tip: Either the detached room number 24 or 8 tatami rooms, number 22 or 25.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank JChua
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviewed November 23, 2012 via mobile

The service is great, even with Japanese standard. We had the Kaiseki dinner which is excellent! So many courses one followed by another. we stayed at the main bedroom which face the garden, the view is just amazing. Location is good too, with bus stops right at the front door. This is true authantic Japanese experience and you will not regret to stay there!

  • Stayed October 2012
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Helpful?
Thank MaoMaoFur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Engadin
Level Contributor
136 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
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
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Helpful?
Thank lemongras
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somewhere on Planet Earth
Level Contributor
39 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Hinfo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank CHKS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kankaso

Property: Kankaso
Address: 10 Kasugano-cho, Nara 630-8212, Nara Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Nara Prefecture > Nara
Hotel Style:
Ranked #26 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 9
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