Ryokan’s. Windows into old Japan.

Yoshikawa Inn logo.

I am still alive. I have been away from Hong Kong for ages. I’ve been incredibly and constantly busy mostly due to celebrating with friends (thanks for inviting us, guys!) and my absurd scheduling but more about that another time… Many things have happened since our trip to Japan and I cannot wait to write about all of them, however, I would still like to share a few more things from the land of the rising sun..

Ryokans are Japanese style inns famed for their hospitality, high level of service and for allowing a peek into the traditional culture of Japan.

Eight years ago, we spent a single night at Yoshikawa Inn, after a recommendation from the Hyatt concierge and loved it. Of course we wanted to go back again.

It is located in the heart of old Kyoto, in a ‘sukiya-zukuri’ style teahouse. The entire building smells of warm dry wood. Everything is in the old traditional Japanese style with incredible attention to every detail.

We waited with anticipation, our second stay in Yoshikawa Inn and were dying to see what had changed. Check in time was 3pm and we were there exactly on time, not wanting to waste a single minute of relaxing and being pampered in this quiet, idyllic setting.

I expected the staff to be completely different – though the only one we could remember was the old, small, very delicate looking geisha. She was a treasure the first time round and I was afraid that she was not going to be there.

 

Hallway.

Slippers and husband’s sandals in the ‘genkan’ (entrance). It is the tradition to remove your shoes and wear a pair of slippers, provided by the host, around the ryokan.

Tatami mats are only to be walked on with socks and bare feet. Wearing slippers from the entrance, we followed the host to our room, took off our slippers and entered in just socks/bare feet.

Our room.

Cool matcha tea and traditional japanese sweets to great us.

Reading guidebooks and planning what to do the next day.

If we wanted to try Japanese calligraphy we had some beautiful paper and brush set for it.

Sliding doors open to a veranda with a views of manicured garden.

Garden shoes placed directly below the sliding doors out of our room.

Small pond with carps.

Beautiful garden.

Warm bath with a fragrance of cypress.

Husband relaxing in his yukata after his long bath.

There was wifi.

Our room transformed into a bedroom. Each bed were made by stacking four futons. They were placed directly on the Tatami mats. One of the best nights’ sleep ever!

We had a choice between a traditional Japanese style breakfast or Continental. Husband tried the Japanese style breakfast 8 years ago and didn’t touch fish for months afterwards. We both stuck to Continental breakfast this time. It was delicious, especially homemade yoghurt!

Last look at the garden.

Goodbye photo. Until next time. The same lady greeted us eight years ago. She does not speak much English but with gestures and smiles she is able to communicate. She is one of the most graceful people I have ever seen.

Staying in ryokan is quite an experience and I’d recommend it to everyone planning to go to Japan. There is, unfortunately, one rather large problem with ryokans like Yoshikawa Inn: the price. I have to warn you: it is not cheap, but it is a truly unique and very Japanese experience worth saving for.

Yoshikawa Inn, Tominokoji, Oike-sagaru, Nakagyu-ku, Kyoto

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