Once the capital of Japan, Kyoto is a city steeped in history, mixing modern life with beautiful traditions. Perhaps the most wonderful way to experience "true" Kyoto is to stay at a traditional inn, and no ryokan can compare to the 145-year old Kaneamean Nishitomiya.
It was at the Arabica in Higashiyama that we watched as two geishas in kimonos styled their iced lattes for Instagram, with a 5-story Buddhist temple in the background. The juxtaposition gives the city so much charm, and offers an immersion into the culture, both past and present.
Staying at a traditional inn remains the most wonderful way to experience « true » Kyoto, and no ryokan can compare to the 145-year old Kaneamean Nishitomiya. From the moment you step barefoot onto the plush carpeting and are escorted to your tatami-mat room, you know your stay is going to be something special. Favorite details included the kimonos (to be worn at both breakfast and dinner), the wooden tub for soaking, and the incredible art collection throughout. Dinners were traditional Kaiseki, while breakfasts came with the choice of "Western" or "Traditional." Our hosts had impeccable taste in wine, and their collection complemented every meal to perfection. While we were not relaxing in our garden-view room, or dining on Japanese maple smoked fish, we were wandering the beautiful neighborhoods surrounding this Inn, soaking in every ounce of Kyoto's culture.