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Japan  /   Kyoto Hotels

Hiiragiya

Nakahakusancho, Fuyacho Anekoji-agaru, Kyoto, Japan
Neighborhood: Central Kyoto (Nakagyo-ku)

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To a modern Westerner, the idea of “ancient wisdom” — that there could be something that was known in the past, but is now lost — seems like a contradiction. Any good ryokan, however, is proof that the old ways were the best ways, and that they don’t make them like they used to. You can have your design hotels, your boutique hotels; there are times when only something like Kyoto’s venerable Hiiragiya will do.

It’s among the oldest in Kyoto, opened in 1818 and still going strong. And even in the tradition-bound world of the ryokan, Hiiragiya is known for its slow pace of change — yes, there’s a remote control to operate the lights and the curtains, but it’s hard-wired, and charmingly handmade by the proprietor’s late great-grandfather. And while all twenty-eight rooms are different, they’re all utterly traditional, constructed with first-rate skill and decorated with arts and crafts (stained glass, woodwork, kakejiku scrolls) by master artisans.

This is a place to lose yourself in layer after layer of seemingly imperceptible detail. The breakfast tofu bowl is cooked using traditional Japanese white charcoal, heated in a bowl designed by Kiyotsugu Nakagawa, whose woodworking skill earned him the title of Living National Treasure. Does it come through in the flavor? If you’re sensitive to such things, it just might — and there’s only one way to find out.

  • 28 Rooms
  • Style: Traditional Elegance
  • Atmosphere: Quiet
  • Hiiragiya
  • Nakahakusancho, Fuyacho Anekoji-agaru
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Neighborhood: Central Kyoto (Nakagyo-ku)

Hotel amenities and services

  • Adjoining rooms
  • Bicycle rentals nearby
  • Central air conditioning
  • Free parking
  • Free wi-fi
  • Luggage storage
  • No pets allowed
  • Room service
  • Shopping area nearby
  • Smoking rooms (on request)
  • Wake-up service

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