Nishiyama Ryokan is a traditional Japanese hotel located in the center of Japan’s ancient capital, Kyoto.
I visited this amazing ryokan during my last visit to Kyoto. It was a great experience, and I’m happy to share it with you.
Are you planning on visiting the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto? If you are a fan of Japanese culture and history, I am sure that you will get the chance to visit this historic city. If you do, you should definitely book a stay at a traditional Japanese ryokan. That way, you can experience the traditional side of Japan in the best way possible.
One ryokan that I suggest you check out if you decide to visit Kyoto is the Nishiyama Ryokan. It is a traditional and affordable ryokan known for its excellent hospitality and dedication to the comfort of its guests. So it comes as no surprise that more than 2000 visitors from around the world stay here each year.
Nishiyama Ryokan is located in the center of Kyoto, in the vicinity of the Imperial Palace grounds and the Shijo-Kawaramachi shopping areas. The whole area is not only convenient for shopping but also for sightseeing and going out for dinner or a drink at night.
Since the ryokan is located in an upmarket district of Kyoto, there are many great local shops nearby such as calligraphy shops selling brushes, small craft shops selling ceramics and stationery, small restaurants, and even French boulangeries.
One more thing to note is the fact that even though this is a popular area, the immediate surroundings of the ryokan are calm and peaceful. In addition, many famous attractions are only a few minutes away, such as the Nijo Castle and the already-mentioned Imperial Palace grounds.
I loved exploring these alleys around the ryokan, and I highly recommend you do the same. Just wander around a bit without a specific plan, and you will not regret it. Also, a great thing to do is to rent bikes from a nearby bike rental shop and drive around this part of the city.
Kyoto is considered one of the best cities in the world for driving around in a bike. You can visit many temples and castles that way and explore all these calm and peaceful streets.
This ryokan is well connected to the public transport network and most of the other attractions in the city can be reached by bus or by subway from the nearby Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae station. It is also well connected to the Kansai Airport via trains or shuttle taxi. The trip between the airport and the Nishiyama Ryokan usually lasts about 2 hours.
As I already said, Nishiyama Ryokan is known for its outstanding level of service and warm hospitality offered to each of its guests. The staff here is very friendly, extremely polite, and totally attentive. Their attitude makes you feel like you are truly a guest in somebody’s home. They were always ready to help me at a moment’s notice.
And I had nothing but the highest praise for them. Another great thing about the staff here is that there is always an English-speaking staff member present, so you can feel free to inquire about anything. They will be more than happy to help you with any issues or give you some suggestions on places to visit or activities to do.
You all know how much I enjoy going for a hot bath after a day of sightseeing, especially after cycling all around Kyoto that day. And I’m happy to say that the baths at the Nishiyama Ryokan were great as well. The hotel features a public bath and a beautiful traditional garden.
In the public bath, you enjoy the natural waterfall. The public bath is open from 4:30 pm until midnight and from 7:00 am to 8:30 am in the morning. Keep in mind that men and women have separate bathing areas.
There is also a garden with a pond where you can enjoy the beautiful flowers and greenery and relax form sightseeing and shopping around town.
Since this is, after all, a traditional Japanese hotel, it is time that I tell you a bit about the rooms in which you can stay here. First of all, there are five different types of rooms.
These are Superior Japanese room, Standard Japanese room, Western-style twin room, Japanese Deluxe room, and Japanese Style single room. So you can easily find the one that suits your needs.
You can see that designers put much effort into the design, layout, and cleaning of each room. All to make your stay comfortable and unforgettable.
Also, it is important to note that rooms come equipped with air conditioning. In addition, hosts have added a tatami (woven-straw) floor with traditional futon bedding. The rooms are aesthetically beautiful and minimalist, with gorgeous shoji screens, tatami mats, and surprisingly comfortable futons.
The room in which I stayed was genuinely amazing. It had a large foyer, a big bathroom, and a living room with seats and a table where I would sit and work. Of course, there was also a large Japanese traditional-style bedroom with futon beds. I was delighted with everything it offered.
Also, the hotel offers a safety deposit, luggage storage, and free high-speed broadband internet access. Facilities include a souvenir shop and drinks vending machines, and public parking is only a 5-minute walk away.
Another thing I really like about Nishiyama Ryokan is that here you can enjoy several kinds of delicious Japanese food and sake as well. They serve traditional Japanese Kaiseki cuisine, prepared with the freshest of seasonal ingredients for dinner. Also, they have seasonal flavors.
In spring, you can eat Bamboo Sprouts. In summer Ayu (Freshwater fish), in autumn, Tamba Chestnuts are offered, and in Winter, Amadai is served (Sweet sea bream). Kyoto’s traditional Kaiseki cuisine dinner is prepared with fresh fish and seasonal vegetables.
The Japanese-style breakfast consists of Yudofu “Boiled tofu”, grilled fish, a Japanese omelet, vegetables, Miso soup, and rice. These are some of my favorite dishes so I suggest you try them.
Fun fact, Tofu is called the Energy Source of Kyoto and is made of soybeans, water, and magnesium chloride. This makes it extremely healthy. Because of this, Tofu is served with the first breakfast during a stay here. For the second breakfast, grilled fish is served.
Also, Western-style breakfasts can be prepared upon request. However, keep in mind that reservations are required for dinner three days in advance. For breakfast, you need to book two days in advance. The food quality and presentation are really excellent.
I highly recommend that you book a dinner for at least one night of your stay at this amazing place. That will truly make your stay here an unforgettable traditional experience.
The staff can also notify you of any events that might be happening in the ryokan. Recently they have started a mini-concert of koto (13 strings Japanese harp) in the lobby.
Many other free activities are also offered, such as tea ceremonies or calligraphy classes. This is one of the things about Nishiyama Ryokan that I really like since you can get the feel of traditional Japanese culture at the very place you are staying at.
I participated in a tea ceremony hosted by the mother of the ryokan’s President. She was so kind and explained everything to me and gave me an opportunity to try my own hand at preparing the tea ceremony.
I learned quite a lot during that experience, both about how the tea is prepared, how it is served and even about all the dishes used to serve the tea. For example, there are special tea cups for each season. In winter they are taller, while in the summer, they are wider. This is to keep it hot or cold, depending on the season.
All in all, I really like the things Nishiyama Ryokan offers, and I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out their website for yourself. I really enjoyed my stay in this part of Kyoto, and I think that this neighborhood is definitely a great place to stay if you’re coming to this city.
This is truly a great and affordable traditional Japanese ryokan, and you won’t regret if you book it as a place to stay during your trip to Kyoto and the surrounding area.