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Jun 24, 2009 08:20 AM

ryokan in Kyoto with excelent food?

Hi, please help me. I am going to Kyoto in a few weeks. Please suggest me a traditional ryokan with good food - that is essential. However, it should be on the cheap side - I cannot pay more than appx 30.000 yen for 2 people.
Thank you very much.

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  1. If you have an office of the Japan Travel Bureau near you they might have some suggestions. I have doubts that you can find a ryokan at that price, especially one with great food, but you might be able to find a "minshuku" or "people's inn" in that range. I've stayed at both types of accommodations over the years and both are nice. The ryokan is fancier, but minshuku are clean and some have great food and baths with lovely views.

    The JTB probably has a website. One thing to keep in mind is that "Daimonji," a fantastic festival, is happening in Kyoto in August for Obon and prices are bound to be higher near that time. If you can get to Daimonji I strongly suggest you do so. It's one of the most impressive events I've ever seen in my life. We stayed in a hotel for that one and watched from a roof top beer garden. My parents were visiting me in Japan at the time and they didn't stop talking about it for the rest of their lives.

    The PL fireworks will also be held outside of Osaka, at the PL Temple grounds, around then. I can't remember when, but I went every year and watched from the roof of a friend's house or the top of hills near another friend's house. It's most impressive fireworks display I've ever seen, especially the finale.

    1. For a traditional ryokan, my favorite is Seiwasou:

      I think that it is out of your budget.

      You may want to look into staying at a temple - that is always affordable and an interesting way to try vegetarian cuisine.

      1. As posters above wrote, great food served at a rokan in Kyoto would cost you a lot more than your budget allows (I'd say 35,000 yen per person). Most ryokans serve kaisei dinner which normally would cost around 15,000 (and up) then full breakfast that would go for at least 4000 (plus 15% service fee). So if you look it that way, 35,000 yen per person isn't such a bad deal.

        I recommend Nunoya (a wonderful little B & B situated in a traditional townhouse) where it costs 6800yen per person so then can dine out rather than spend a little fortune staying at ryokan. If you really want to experience kaisei food, many well-known restauratns do take-out boxes for less than 4000 yen. You won't get a garden view or have a lazy in kimono wait on you but I would much rather do that if my other choice was eating generic food at an affordable ryokan.

        7 Replies
        1. re: kikisakura

          Oh my, this should teach me to stop posting/editing while sneaking around at work.

          To clarify, what I meant was, I've been sending my friends to Nunoya where it costs about 6800 yen per person per night to stay and the rate includes breakfast. That would leave you 8000 yen per day for food and you would be able to eat very well on that budget even in Kyoto.

          It's not that you won't be able to find a traditional inn that serves great food at 15,000 yen per peron in Japan. In fact, I only paid a bit less than that to stay an inn in Nagoya where I had one of the best meals of my life so it's certainly a possibiliy - I just haven't found or have heard of one yet in Kyoto.

          You might want to look into Hiiragi Annex:

          Their prices start at 15,000 yen per night per person. I doubt that their food would be on par with say, Tawaraya (talk about great food) but it sounds like a very good value to me.

          1. re: kikisakura

            I second this. In Kyoto, you'll probably get a better value for your money by staying at a less expensive place that doesn't include dinner and go out to one of city's many delightful restaurants. There are places that serve kaiseki lunch or dinner, even in the Gion that will fall within your budget. Here's one that I like, it's called Mame Tora


            Set menu Lunch is 3800yen Set menu Dinner 5000-15,000 yen (I've had the 8000yen dinner twice and it was excellent and included the box of "maiko style sushi") You need to make reservations, so if you don't speak Japanese, you will need to get someone, perhaps at your hotel, to help you.

            1. re: deraumai

              I just came back from Japan yesterday, and there is much internet hype about this place called Grill Miyata. GO THERE! It's not kaiseki but the best steak I've ever had in my life! I got the medium steak (9000 Y) and it includes soup, salad, sashimi, potatoes, rice, Haagen-Dazs, and the juciest, softest steak ever. It also includes one drink. You can get either smaller or larger portions. The 80-year old man who cooks the steak will come out and talk to you about WWII and pour you some soju for free.
              Then, go to Mount Fuji area (Hakone or anywhere in Shizuoka prefecture) for the ryokan experience.

            2. re: kikisakura

              I stayed at both Hiiragiya and Tawaraya with a profound preference for Hiiragiya. Hiiragiya had exemplary food and service to match. Tawaraya left me with an unpleasant feeling so I will not return there.

              1. re: robertlf

                Hiiragiya is the closest thing to paradise that I am ever likely to see. Service, food, decoration, welcome, everything perfect. No more expensive than a high-end hotel room in NYC but so much more.

                1. re: buttertart

                  Just to note, Hiragiya and Tawaraya are considered two of the top high-end ryokans in Kyoto. Checking Hiragiya's website, their rooms with kaiseki meals start at around 46,000 yen per person (up to 90,000 or so), so it's probably not relevant for this thread.

                  Here's a report on a mid-range ryokan in Kyoto:

                  1. re: E Eto

                    Very true, but if someone wants to splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime treat, the Hiiragiya would be top of my list.

            1. Thank you all for your recommendations. I have reserved a room at a ryokan called Kohro, one night with dinner and breakfast and the other nights without food - I don't want to miss out on the Kyoto cuisine :-D
              Unfortunatelly Seiwasou closes for reconstruction during my planned stay and Hiiragaya Annex was full (I am not able to pay the price of the normal ryokan). Tawaraya was also too expensive for me...
              I will post here my review of the ryokan & its food.