Kyoto, Japan: A Tranquil Stay at a Traditional Ryokan
A few months ago, thanks to crazy cheap airfare and an impulsive, er, adventurous nature, I was able to book a trip to Japan with my friend Katrina- that we had only two months to plan for! Although it was exciting to daydream of all of the things we were going to do and see, we had a limited window of time to book our lodging. All of the guidebooks mentioned the traditional ryokan as a good option, especially outside of Tokyo. A ryokan is very similar to a traditional bed and breakfast, but you sleep on traditional Japanese tatami mats instead of beds.
Since we knew we would be visiting Kyoto, the former Imperial capital of Japan, I thought an old-fashioned ryokan would be the perfect place to stay. While poking around on booking.com, I came across Yadoya Manjiro. It checked off my 4 requirements for lodging: 1) Highly rated (9 or above) 2) Affordable 3) Convenient location, and most importantly: 4) Cute!
Yadoya Manjiro was even more beautiful and charming in person, and the innkeeper was very welcoming and kind. Also, he wins the award of being the best host I've ever had for a sweet (literally) gesture- but more on that in a bit.
Upon arrival, we were led to a small, dimly lit room room near reception, where we were given a Japanese tea ceremony. The atmosphere was so tranquil and peaceful, a welcome environment having just come from buzzing Tokyo. The matcha tea and rice cake ball were beautifully presented, and perked us up after a couple of hours traveling on the bullet train.
Katrina and I booked the Japanese-Style Deluxe room. It was very spacious and airy, and we had terrific views of the garden below. The entire room had a golden glow from the plentiful natural light. In addition to the traditional tatami mats for sleeping, there was a floor table for eating and socializing.
One of the highlights of our stay at Yadoya Manjiro was the surprise dessert we were served late in the evening after we returned from dinner. The innkeeper brought us a jellied berry dessert in charming little glasses, along with grapefruit slices and glazed rice cakes. It was such a thoughtful treat!
This ryokan offered the option of purchasing a traditional Japanese breakfast in the morning, for about $15 (US) a person, which we took advantage of. I'm so glad we did! For the quality, variety, and amount of food served, the price is a bargain.
The breakfast was one of the best meals I had in Japan. It included salmon, fried tofu, tempura vegetables, miso soup, pickled vegetables, rice and some other things that were delicious, I just don't know their names! I ate everything.
Overall, I was very impressed with the hospitality and peaceful environment at Yadoya Manjiro. I’m not sure how common the surprise late night dessert delivery is in ryokans, but the standards for my future husband have just been raised.