Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011

Hiiragaya Ryokan

Serene tatami mat guestrooms that look out on an ornamental garden, en suite aromatic cypress baths, and an almost obsessive attention to detail and service; this is Japanese accommodation at its traditional best. Opened in 1818, the centrally located Hiiragaya Ryokan apparently started out offering lodging to samurai, but over the years its futon have also welcomed luminaries such as Elizabeth Taylor and Charlie Chaplin. Today, this gracefully ageing hotel is regarded as one of the finest ryokan in Kyoto. No surprise then that a night at the 28-room Hiiragaya doesn't come cheap. Rates including breakfast and dinner range from ¥30,000 ($356) to ¥90,000 ($1,069) per person per night.

Insider Tip: Eat in. Hiiragaya serves a stunning in-room Kyo-ryori dinner course.

Room to Book: Request a room with a garden view.