Japanese architectural traditions are as old and deep as the country’s own history. An important concept and the basis of traditional Japanese architecture is ‘tatami’, which regulates a building’s dimensions and size and originated in ancient Japan when straw was used as a softener on bare earth. The idea transformed into that of moveable mats which eventually became permanent floor covering later on. Tatami is so common in Japanese homes that room sizes are measured by how many tatamis fit in it. Today, tatami is also used as flooring material in traditional Japanese inns of Ryokans and are also called as Kyōma in the Kyoto region (for their specific size). Moreover, one needs to walk into tatami rooms barefoot, sans any shoes or slippers! If you’re visiting, here are some must-stay-at tatami hotels in Kyoto, Japan.
The Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Urushitei effortlessly blends Japanese traditions with modern comforts. Located within a 10-minute walking distance from the lively Kawaramachi area, this ryokan features contemporary bedding along with traditional tatami flooring in the seating areas, where there’s also an electric kettle, a fridge, and ample storage space. The ryokan also has modern facilities like free Wi-Fi and a modern, fully equipped bathroom with complimentary toiletries. Enjoy a Kaiseki-style traditional Japanese breakfast and even embark on tours of the region which can be easily arranged from the tour desk.
Ryokan Tori is the perfect example of offering an authentic ryokan experience without sacrificing any of the comforts for travelers. This traditional Ryokan features minimally furnished luxurious rooms with comfortable bedding (king, queen, twin beds) on tatami mats, a hanger rack, cupboard space, an ensuite modern bathroom, a kettle, as well as lots of space to move around. Guests at Tori can enjoy an authentic Asian breakfast. What’s more, Ryokan Tori is located in the vicinity of some of Kyoto’s star attractions.
If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese experience in Kyoto, then Luck You is the place where you need to be. After all, who would mind receiving a pot of freshly brewed tea when they’re checking in? This amazing, highly rated ryokan is located in the quiet Shimogyo Ward, but the many bus stops located within a two-minute walk will take you to directly to Kyoto’s key tourist sites. The ryokan itself features rooms with traditional bedding on tatami mats, ensuite modern fully equipped bathroom, complimentary tea and coffee, and even free Wi-Fi and a flat-screen TV. What’s more, guests are also treated to free vouchers for the local onsen (public bath) located across Luck You, which comes highly recommended.
Takasegawa Bettei is a traditional ryokan with a modern twist, featuring the best hospitality aspects of ancient Japan and modern day travels. The rooms at this ryokan comfy beds (double, twin beds) on tatami flooring, a flat-screen TV, a desk, a couch or two chairs facing the TV, a coffee machine, an ensuite bathroom with a wooden bath, traditional paper windows, and a wardrobe. Guests can enjoy traditional Kaiseki-style Japanese as well as American breakfasts of their choice. What’s more, all rooms either face the gorgeous Kamo River or a beautifully manicured and maintained rock garden on the premises.
Clean, elegant, cozy - ryokan of Kamishichiken Oku is all of this, and more. It’s a traditional Japanese ryokan in Kyoto with all 21st-century comforts. The rooms at Kamishichiken Oku have Western-style beds and an ensuite bathroom with a bathtub. The sitting area with traditional tatami flooring, free Wi-Fi, fridge, sofa, flat-screen TV, a desk, sofa, fridge, and even complimentary in-room pajamas and free Wi-Fi. Some rooms even feature a quaint terrace! Guests at Kamishichiken Oku can enjoy both traditional Japanese meals as well as take comfort in a delicious American breakfast. If you’re interested in exploring the area on bikes, the ryokan can arrange those too.
Easily one of the most luxurious ryokans in town, Nazuna Kyoto Nijo-jo (Cha no Yado) is located in the Nakagyo Ward, close to Marutamachi and Nijojomae Stations, as well as the Imperial Palace and Kyoto International Manga Museum. This deluxe ryokan features rooms with a private, open-air bath and even a zen garden, where the hosts engage the guests in a traditional tea bath and ceremony. The room itself features traditional tatami flooring, free Wi-Fi, kettle, seating area, fridge, and a flat-screen TV, as well as a brand-new bathroom with Shiseido amenities. Enjoy a leisurely traditional breakfast with a wide-ranging variety of Japanese foods in the onsite restaurant as well.
Muromachi Yutone Kyokoyado is a quaint oasis of a ryokan in the heart of the city and is the perfect ‘home away from home’ place to return to after a day of exploring Kyoto. The rooms at this lovely Ryokan feature traditional tatami flooring with comfy beds, flat-screen TV, wardrobe, fridge, and a private, ensuite bathroom with a bath. Soak into a relaxing cypress bath, or drink your tea while reading in the huge library. Enjoy a daily, endless supply of sencha, sweets, and Nespresso coffee, and don’t miss the wonderful, Kaiseki-style breakfast and dinner in the onsite restaurant. Western-style breakfast can also be ordered on prior request.
Nestled in the lush green southeastern corner of Shimogyo Ward is the 450-year-old Heihachi Tea House Inn which is steeped in rich, ancient Japanese culture. Featuring traditional Japanese cuisine, an exquisite Zen garden as well as a Japanese steam sauna, the Heihachi Tea House Inn is the best ryokan for an authentic Japanese experience. The ryokan’s location along the Takano River, Japanese-style rooms with tatami flooring, complimentary Yukata robes, and cherry blossoms during Spring in the garden are what make this place so quaint. American and European touches include LDC TVs, ensuite rooms, and free Wi-Fi too. Soak in the scent of old Kyoto at this wonderful ryokan.
Dress into a traditional yukata (casual summer kimono) and relax in the soothing environs of the 1900-built Sukiya-style ryokan of Yadoya Manjiro. Peace and tranquillity are the highlights of this delightful ryokan, which features traditional Japanese-style rooms with traditional futon bedding on a tatami floor, low furniture, Japanese art decor, paper screens, a safe and a fridge, and amazing views of the relaxing, beautifully manicured and designed garden. Free Wi-Fi a shared lounge are available, and guests can enjoy a relishing, authentic, Japanese style breakfast as well. What’s more, this ryokan is a five-minute walk from bus stops, the market, restaurants, as well as the Kiyomizu-Dera Temple.
If you want to stay in a traditional ryokan in Kyoto’s historic city center, then the Gion Maifukan, a mere three-minute walk from the Yasaka Jinja Shrine is perfect, featuring both contemporary western and traditional Japanese rooms with futon bedding and tatami flooring. The A/C rooms of Gion Maifukan all feature modern comforts like fridges, flat-screen TV, and free wired and Wi-Fi internet, along with complimentary mineral water, coffee and tea, and nightwear (Yukata). Go exploring on rental bicycles, enjoy an in-room massage, or relax on the rooftop terrace. The World Heritage Site of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is a mere 15-minute walk away.
A custom that has survived to this day and age, tatami still influences Japanese culture and living in Kyoto today. Immerse yourself in the erudition of Japanese living by staying at these great tatami ryokans in Kyoto.
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