Recently, I stayed at Kayotei, a ryokan at Yamanaka Onsen, in Ishikawa-ken, about two hours north of my home in Kyoto. My wife Hiroe, my son Kieran and I went up there with our friends Anthony and Nicole.
Kayotei was absolutely incredible. It is surrounded by greenery and overlooks a lovely river. There are only ten rooms and it is very peaceful and quiet. The staff is attentive, the food is superb and the rooms are beautiful. I highly recommend Kayotei for anyone who wants to try the high-end Japanese ryokan experience. Their website is here.
Here’s the entrance of the ryokan:
Kayoutei Entrance © Chris Rowthorn
Here is a picture of the balcony of our room:
View of Deck at Kayoutei © Chris Rowthorn
Here’s the view from the private bath:
View From Bath © Chris Rowthorn
Here’s a picture of me enjoying the balcony in the morning:
Chris Reading © Chris Rowthorn
Here’s the sashimi course of one of the incredible dinners. This one included sweet shrimp and toro:
Shrimp and Toro © Chris Rowthorn
Here is the meat course, which was some mind-blowing wagyu (Japanese beef):
Wagyu © Chris Rowthorn
Here’s a picture of the walking course along the gorge below the ryokan:
Gorge © Chris Rowthorn
Here are Kieran and Hiroe above the gorge:
Hiroe and Kieran © Chris Rowthorn
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)