No other Japanese city can compete with Kyoto for style and grace. For the ultimate experience of Kyoto hospitality, stay in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. Though often costly, a night in a ryokan guarantees you beautiful traditional Japanese surroundings, excellent service, and two elegant meals (breakfast and dinner) in most cases. But you don't have to limit yourself to the traditional. Kyoto is a tourist city, so accommodations range from luxurious hotels to small guesthouses. Service in this city is impeccable; the information desks are well stocked, and concierges or guest-relations managers are often available in the lobby to respond to your needs.
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In the mountains northwest of Kyoto, this ryokan allows you to soak in your own rotemburo (outdoor hot tub) overlooking a private garden. If you're feeling adventurous, you can join other guests in one of the communal baths (separated by gender, of course). Though the building is nondescript, the layers of sliding paper screens of the lobby's facade and the steps bordered on one side by a gently sloping waterfall suggest Old Kyoto. Kaiseki dinners are prepared with seasonal favorites, including crab, sukiyaki, and wild boar in winter. A great way to get here is the scenic Sagano Torokko train, which leaves from Saga Torokko Station in Arashiyama. Alternatively, you can take JR Sagano Line to Kameoka Station.
If you don't want to rush the serene beauty of Arashiyama, Kadensho is a wonderful place to lay your head, with kimono-clad staff, modern amenities, excellent full-course meals, a spacious public hot spring, and our highlight: five private thermal-water pools, three of which are open-air. Other perks include complimentary ice cream bars after your bath and professional massages (for an extra charge).
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