Travel bucket list idea:
Stay at a ryokan in Kyoto
Kyoto, Kansai, Japan|
To stay a night at one of Japan’s ryokan (traditional inns) is to immerse yourself in living history – the oldest hotel in the world is a ryokan, established in 705 and still going strong 51 generations later.
Ryokan can be modest or uber-luxurious, but there are defining traits.
Almost all have tatami mat rooms and futon beds, staff wearing traditional attire like kimono, and an air of calm and quiet. Many have in-house onsen baths, and serve traditional kaiseki-ryori dinners (if not the full 12-course extravaganza, then at least simpler multi-course dinner that focuses on local produce and specialities).
But it won’t be for everyone. Kids can find ryokan a bit dull – and the food challenging. The service, though often superb, can also be inflexible, with mealtimes locked into narrow windows and many mid-range and above ryokan not offering room-only stays. The best approach is to stay for just one night.
Contemporary resort meets traditional ryokan at this uber-luxe retreat in a tranquil corner of the bustling Arashiyama district. An experiential stay, that includes an artistically presented kaiseki-ryori dinner.
Destination guides including or relevant to this experience
Ancient temples and shrines, sublime cuisine, manicured gardens, colourful geishas and living history in spades – Kyoto is traditional Japan at its best.
Round-ups that include this experience
Here’s our round-up of 60 unique and unusual places to stay – from castles to palaces, treehouses to caves and even UFOs – that justify a place on any travel bucket list in their own right.