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“excellent, memorable stay” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Kankaso

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Kankaso
Ranked #27 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Certificate of Excellence
Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
70 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“excellent, memorable stay”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 16, 2013

This was our second ryokan stay during our trip in July. An excellent place, with exquisite food. The owners are very friendly. The lady owner does not speak much english, but she understands a lot. We had no problem communicating. We stayed as a family and the owner arranged for private onsen time for us, at no charge. When we came back in the middle of the day for a rest before heading out again, she made tea for us. We had dinner for the first night and it was so beautifully presented, and so delicious, we wish we could afford the kaiseki dinner the second night as well. I would say the dinner is worth the high price. I guess the key is to be open and willing to try new things - honestly we did not know some of the things we were eating but they all tasted delicious. When we asked what something was, she would tell us in Japanese and then get it translated to english for us. We stayed in 2 rooms: one was a private room linked to the main building by a bridge, and another room on the second floor. The private room had a beautiful view of the garden.

I found sleeping on the futon mats gave me a backache, but it was fine for the rest of my family. On the second night I put double the layers under the futon mattress and it was fine.

The only criticism I would make is that the property is a little old so there are parts of the carpet that are stained, and wall paper peeling off. However the rooms are very clean and the tatami mats in excellent condition.

Room Tip: Ask for the room connected by the bridge, or a room with a garden view.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank annettarella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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63 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    37
    19
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Ventura, California, United States
Level Contributor
55 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 4, 2013

Stayed here the beginning of June. Its the only ryokan I've ever stayed at. The service was really amazing. They don't speak very much english, but we didn't have any problems. They were so friendly and helpful. We had the dinner and breakfast in the room. The food was absolutely beautiful! But a word of warming, but veeeeery Japanese. As two americans, we did find it a bit difficult to enjoy the whole dinner or breakfast. You might do well to bring a small snack of your own. Our room did not have the in room onsen, but that didn't turn out to be a problem at all. The staff was so very nice that they arranged for my wife and I to have one of the large onsen rooms to ourselves as a private bath. Both in the evening and the morning! The grounds are absolutely beautiful. And Kankaso is literally IN the nara park, so its super easy to go pet the deer.
As for getting there.... We took the non JR Kintetsu line into the station KintetsuNara. From this station its an easy 10-15 minute walk to Kankaso, IF you don't have a lot of luggage. With lots of luggage, you could still do it, but you might now like it as much. If you take the JR train in, you'll end up at the Nara station, which is even farther. That would be about a 30minute walk. I would definitely not recommend walking this with any kind of luggage.
Overall, it was a great stay. The dinner was a real experience. Very relaxing. Loved the staff.

Room Tip: We saved some money by NOT getting the room with built in onsen, but the staff was still able to sch...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
50 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 3, 2013

We stayed in 4 different ryokans during our trip to Japan, different price categories, and Kankaso was by far the best! It is a bit more expensive than average, but the value you get is amazing. First of all, it is located close to all the Nara sites, while preserving tranquility in its garden. Second, the garden and the buillding, including the room is as traditional as it gets and beautiful. It is managed by a an elderly couple - they are very friendly and apparently the husband can cook - and HOW! We had our most amazing kaiseki meal of the whole trip and we did eat excellent during our trip in general. The dinner was served in our room, which is a very exclusive tradition and a rarity these days. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better, in the morning we were invited into a beautiful room where an unbelievable traditional Japanese breakfast spread was served.... no words.... If you only had one night to spend at a ryokan, I say make it Kankaso.

Room Tip: Ask for the room facing the garden.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Julia_van_Bommel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
108 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 17, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Kankaso for two nights in early April 2013.

First things first, I would recommend Kankaso without hesitation, for all the reasons laid out below. However, it is expensive (we paid £600 for two nights, 12 tatami, priovate bathroom, two breakfasts, one dinner). If you want to experience a comfortable, well-run ryokan serving superb food in a beautiful location then it is worth every penny. This is a place to really cherish your accomodation in, not one to use simply as a bed at night after exploring the area and having dinner/drinks out.

The location is perfect. It is within Nara Koen, within a hop skip and jump of Todai-ji and the big buddha and close to so many of the other beautiful temples and shrine within the park.

Our room was lovely, very spacious and comfortable, with chairs to relax in with a view of the front garden. We had private access to the large baths (I think there were not many people staying the first night we were there), plus a smaller wooden bath in our room.

The food here was spectacular. We only had dinner the first night (to save a little expense) but it was unforgettable. Certainly the most elaborate meal we had in our two weeks in Japan, it consisted of many 15 separate courses, each one beautifully crafted and very tasty. There were a lot of items that were foreign to an English couple (some of which we couldn't identify even after tasting it and asking what it was!), but everything (bar perhaps one fruit/nut-like item) was delicious. The only thing that took us by surprise is that we were offered beer or sake, which we duly accepted, which was then added to our bill. At around £150 for two people to have dinner, and given the way it was offered, we'd expected this to be included in the cost. For the record, dinner is very expensive, but it's certainly worth trying for one night of your stay - please don't miss it!

Breakfast, like dinner, consisted of many courses - fish, rice, tofu, pickles, miso, etc. It was even more of a foreign concept to have all this for breakfast, but it was tasty, it was substantial, and it set us up really well for a day of walking around the park.

Fortunately, Nara is not that large. As a result, there is not very much to see of the town outside of the beautiful park with its shrines, temples, etc. (although there is a lot within the park!) This works well as you could easily spend a whole day lazing around Kankaso - bathing first thing in the morning, taking a long, leisurely breakfast, another bath, a nap, another bath, a rest in the garden with a book, your evening meal, another bath and a rest before bed.

To reiterate, I would not hesitate to recommend this place. If you plan to relax and take it easy in Nara, go for it. If, though, you're looking purely for accomodation in between busy days out and about, there may be better budget options around.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tom L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
61 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 31, 2013 via mobile

We started our three weeks in Japan here - and such a great place to get over the jet lag. Very relaxing, even though it's just a few steps from the tourist hustle outside. Both dinner and breakfast was traditional - maybe a bit too traditional for the faint of heart, with a lot of unusual tastes for a westerner. Great baths after a day out. Beautiful garden. And excellent service from our hostess, doing her best with english as we havent learned any japanes yet.

Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
Helpful?
2 Thank mb10000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
36 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 17, 2013

This ryokan was recommended to us by the booking service, Japanese Guest Houses, and we couldn't be happier that they directed us here. The location is truly exceptional, being right in the heart of Nara Park, a few paces from Todaiji Gate. The hoardes of tourists and friendly deer make the park a busy place, but walking through the gate to Kankaso feels like entering a hidden oasis of calm. We were lucky enough to be the only guests on the night of our stay, and were assigned a stunning ground floor room with expansive views onto the beautiful moss garden through large glass windows, and a lovely en-suite bathroom with deep wooden tub and shower. The kaiseki meal we had here was our best meal in over 2 weeks in Japan (and food was a major focus of our trip). Our delightful host, Aya-san, immediately understood our interest in the food and kindly translated each course in some detail, running back to the chef for any clarification. We didn't want to leave and will definitely return here on our next trip to Japan. This was also an unusually great value ryokan stay, comparing room and meal quality with the others on our trip.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank kavey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
346 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 181 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank brancusirocks
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 #27 of 63 Hotels / Ryokan in Nara
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 9
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