This place took my breathe away. I've stayed in some great Ryokans however this tops them all.
Only 7 minutes walk from the big red gates of Maruyama Park, this Ryokan sits in the middle if the forest surrounded by the best temples in Kyoto.
Whisper quiet, this Ryokan is over 100 years old originally a stay for monks visiting the temples. Its so hard to believe that downtown is only a short 10 minutes walk away.
Completely made of timber this has an old world charm that's become harder to find in japan. Although Ryokans are wonderful, many are wedged between concrete buildings, Yoshimizu is different.
Welcome: Unbelievably warm
Suga greeted me, presented my slippers and served warm tea on arrival. He gently walked me through the Ryokan experience including my own Yukata (gown), slippers how to make my traditional Futon bed.
The rooms are super clean, beautifully designed in Japanese style. I'm 6'5" and did just fine. I needed to duck under doors alot but that helped me slow down which is what I needed. There's always warm tea in your room, a floor warmer & heaters keep you toasty warm & extra blankets are available in your room.
Ask for room 'Ho Ta Ru' Its has its own western style toilet (with seat warmer!), seems to have the best privacy as its not ajoined by other rooms & is just opposite the bathing rooms.
Bathing: There are 2 bathrooms, I liked bathroom 2 as the onsen bath was cute. Despite the website saying one thing I was relieved to find you could indeed have a shower morning AND night. Such a great way to relax after a day of Temple tracking or shopping.
Breakfast: Western Style with Miso soup & all organic!
WiFi: the connection is super quick & if you don't have a computer there's one to use for free in reception.
This place is almost exclusively enjoyed by out-of-town Japanese who have been coming her for 'intellectual' retreats or groups that have been coming for years. I met a gorgeous English speaking group. Everyone was welcoming & totally charming. This made the place seemed so much more authentic.
I finally was able to meet the owner, a beautiful elderly woman who is passionate about organic foods & cooking & even has 2 cook books for sale! Wish they were printed in English.
TIP : Although only 10 minutes from downtown you may want to plan your day so that you don't need to keep returning. The transition from crazy concrete jungle to peaceful serenity will just entice you to not leave for the evening!
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