As we were only in Kyoto for three nights, Monique and I decided to splurge on a hotel that was a tad more expensive and a whole lot more traditionally Japanese.
I’m so glad we did.
Ryokan Ryokufuso is a wonderful hotel: Conveniently located. Lovely staff. Large Traditional Rooms. Clean. Excellent service. Great facilities.
It’s also close to many awesome places:
Once you know where you’re going it’s about 10 minutes to Kyoto station on foot and only one or two minutes from the Gojo train station and the Gojo-dori – a busy main road that leads directly to the Kamo-gawa, the Ponto-cho and up into Gion.
There’s a supermarket close by on the Gojo-dori and loads of cafes, restaurants, parks, temples and curious stores to visit.
The staff at RR were lovely people. Always friendly, helpful, and politely amused at our sometimes cringe-worthy attempts at Japanese. I’m not sure (because I didn’t think to ask) but I think it’s a family owned and operated business.
One of the funniest conversations we had at RR was when we left the hotel at around 8pm to find dinner. I asked the elderly man (who I’m pretty sure was the owner) what time they closed and if we’d need a card to get back in.
He laughed like it was genuinely the most hilarious thing he’d heard all year. He explained that RR was open 24/7 and then shook his head as if the idea of closing was comic genius. Being from Perth, I was thinking that if he ever visited our fair state he was in for a bit of a shock!
Ryokufuso, keeping with it’s moniker ‘Ryokan,’ offers traditional Japanese rooms that are blisteringly clean and very generous on space.
When you enter your room you’ll find yourself in a little landing area where you can stash your shoes. Here’s where you’ll also find the toilet and shower.
To enter the main room, slide back the shoji (paper) doors and get ready to do a bit of girlish squealing (even if you’re a guy).
You’ll be greeted with cream tatami mats edged in forest green (EEEEEE!), delicate shoji doors, traditional futon, table and chairs plus kimono. Your room will glow in gorgeous honeyed wood tones and on the opposite side of the room there’s a small ‘entertaining’ area with a sink (for brushing teeth/washing up), tea table and a gloriously stocked bar fridge.
While all of this is amazing enough, the devil, as they say, is in the details. And the details really made it.
‘Like what,’ you ask?
Upon arrival, and every day when we returned to our room, we’d find a new type of sweet snack left for us on the table. Sometimes baked yatsuhashi, sometimes nama yatsuhashi and sometimes candy. But always something different and local. If you take a fancy to any of these you can buy them from an in-house store near the lobby.
Each day we were supplied with a large, round container that included green tea, a traditional teapot and two cups. We were given a hot water urn that always delivered hot water, no matter how long it’d been in our room, and despite not being plugged into the wall.
We were also supplied with cold water every day, again, in a container that kept it endlessly cool by some secret witchcraft (aka: science that I don’t understand). The room had it’s own heating and we were free to adjust it as we liked.
Finally, when our rooms were cleaned they weren’t just cleaned: they were completely neatened and made to look inviting. Even if that meant moving our bags a little or folding some clothes that we’d slung over the back of chairs. Our room always received a caring touch.
On top of all this (and literally on top of the building) RR has it’s own Onsen. And it’s friggin amazing:This means, if you’re like me and have tattoos, that you’ll be able to visit an Onsen while in Japan (99.9% of Onsen refuse entry to people with tattoos, even if they’re gaijin).
If you’re visiting Japan and spending any amount of time in Kyoto, I highly recommend Ryokan Ryokufuso for a quality, enjoyable, and authentic experience.
Oh and one more thing?
Sometimes Geiko and Maiko stay there:
Maybe if you stay at Ryokufuso you might be lucky enough to meet a real Geiko?
Until next time,
Kally & Mon.
Location of Ryokan Ryokufuso
RR is located in ‘central downtown’ Kyoto on the most adorable, quiet street (although I thought every street in Kyoto was adorable).
For some reason I can’t find the name of the street anywhere but it located between the Gojo-dori and the Hanayacho-dori, and between the Kujo-dori and Shinmachi-dori.
According to their website you can get to RR by taxi, bus or on foot.
Flag a taxi and instruct your driver with the following:
‘Nishitoin 6-jo agaru Ryokufuso.’
A taxi from Kyoto station will cost you around 600-700 JPY which is very reasonable.
Take Bus 50 from the Kyoto Station bus terminal and get off in the third Nishitoin 6-jo. I have no idea what that means so maybe ask the bus driver when you get on.
Ryokufuso is actually just opposite the bus stop and the ride will cost 220 JPY.
Until you actually know where Ryokufuso is I wouldn’t recommend trying to find it on foot. When you first arrive take a bus or taxi and then find your way back afterwards.
Booking to stay
[Feature Image Credit: Monique Nielsen]
[Image Credit (1): Top Deals Hotel]
[Image Credit (2,3): Monique Nielsen]
[Image Credit (4-7): Ryokan Ryokufuso]
What was your best accommodation on holiday? Did you have the good luck to stay with locals or friends? Let us know, leave a comment.