Tea service for breakfast in the dining room (Photo: Celine Villeneuve)

Matsumae Ryokan

One night under the roof of Japanese hospitality

Tea service for breakfast in the dining room (Photo: Celine Villeneuve)
Celine Villeneuve   - 3 min read

Conveniently located a few minutes from the Kintetsunara train station, in the beautiful area of Naramachi, the Matsumae Ryokan offers total immersion in traditional Japanese culture.

The rooms are simply decorated with taste and attention to detail – calligraphy, ikebana (floral art), futon and tatami mats constitute the decor. Despite this minimalist approach, the soft glow that passes through the screen doors confers a warm atmosphere to the room.

A yukata – light cotton kimono – is at your disposal for roaming the halls or for after the bath. Common baths (not mixed) offer a moment of greatly appreciated relaxation after a day exploring the city. The rooms all have their own toilet and sink and all the comfort offered by a classic hotel: toothbrush, hair dryer, soaps and towels etc.

A simple elegance also characterizes the dining room. With the reflections of a golden folding screen and the glow from the doors and windows, the elegant beauty is reminiscent of the Japanese aesthetic so dear to Tanizaki in In Praise of Shadows. Here, you can enjoy fabulous dinners and breakfasts. By choosing the Japanese breakfast option (washoku), you can enjoy the different specialties of Nara such as chagayu, a delicious mixture of rice and green tea, and narazuke, a local pickled preparation. The western option is more traditional, typically including toast and eggs or ham with salad.

There is also a great opportunity to learn about culture and art in the hotel. If you are interested in the art of calligraphy or the Buddha statues around Nara, do not hesitate to ask questions to the owners of ryokan, fine connoisseurs on these topics. They are also able to advise visitors on the top destinations of the city in both Japanese and English.

To facilitate the understanding of the habits and customs of a ryokan you will find in your bedroom an information guide in English. The comfortable futons and the peaceful calm of the rooms will guarantee a good night's rest. The ryokan Matsumae is ideal for travelers looking for the perfect sleepign compliment to match the city of Nara.

Room rates vary depending on the size of your room. For one night with bath and breakfast in an eight tatami room, the cost will be around ¥8,000. ​

Celine Villeneuve

Celine Villeneuve @celine.villeneuve

Depuis ma foudroyante rencontre il y a dix ans avec l'élégance japonaise (Femme se poudrant le cou d'Utamaro), ma soif de découvrir et comprendre chaque aspect de cette culture énigmatique ne se tarie pas. Mes études de japonais et mon séjour d’un an en tant que rédactrice web dans l’Archipel ...