While this is not located within the confines of Central Kyoto, but if you can bear a 20-30 min bus ride and want to escape the tourist bustle of the city then you will find this minor inconvenience just that. Minor. It is the only place I stay in Kyoto and is the perfect accommodation after a day and/or evening in Arashiyama.
Family owned, this ryokan and restaurant that is open to the public is located in Umegahata which is very close to Sagano / Arashiyama and mere minutes from Ninna-ji & Kinkaku-ji Temple making it convenient should this be some of your sight seeing ventures.
This ryokan is situated over two separate buildings, one for those wishing a private bath (¥5,775) which is adjacent to the restaurant and the other for shared (¥4,200). Should you choose the shared baths, the room will be cheaper which is typical in Japan. Some of the rooms have a private garden and during koyou season… who wouldn’t want to wake up to that?
Requiring a short walk up a small winding hill you are greeted by a wooden entranceway. Walking past the gates you are seemingly transformed to a time long gone. During the fall, Japanese maple trees who’s fallen multi-colored leaves dot the stone walkway and grass welcome you to a place of tranquility. There are a couple of stone sitting areas that are properly aligned with the maples for perfect viewing and at night small spotlights are focused just right to highlight these magnificent specimens.
Even the shower area have windows overlooking the beautiful fall foliage and in the background you can hear the sounds of the tiny river in the back. An aesthetically pleasing way to start your day and decompress at days end.
If you book in advance you may be lucky enough to book a room with access to the garden at no extra charge. Sitting under the stars with a nice cold Kirin wetting your taste buds, the brisk fall air invigorating your lungs a peaceful state of mind will quickly ensue.
There is also a kitchen inside where you can store food and drink that you may have purchased elsewhere. While that may be the case, food here is extremely good and rivals any restaurant that I have been to in Kyoto proper. So much so that I eat breakfast here everyday and at least two dinners.
Choose the Japanese breakfast (¥1,050) where you will be served something different everyday and is hearty enough to fill you through lunch. Try at least once the Yamazaki kaiseki. Kaiseki which is normally reserved for expensive high end restaurants is slightly less here (¥6,000) and one of the very best I have ever ate! However, a hearty bowl of Udon noodles and assorted fresh sushi is available for ¥800 to ¥1,000 and up.
Upon entering you will be greeted warmly and tended to meticulously by varying family members. Whether through the simple gesture of offering you a western newspaper or asking about your day or giving you sight seeing suggestions every effort is made to make you too feel like family. Two tables inside have views of a stone garden that will heighten your dining/family experience.
If you are having a late night out in Arashiyama and do not wish to take public transportation a taxi ride from Arashiyama to Ryokan Yamazaki is only ¥1,200. For those driving, Ryokan Yamazaki also provides spacious free parking as well.
Free Wi-Fi or shared computer is also available for use