This ryokan came as a recommendation from my wife (from her read up) and after doing some search of my own, it came recommended by many. As it is situated in Nara, it allows me to do a Ryokan stay and visit Nara at the same time. Kansai International Airport has a direct bus (2050 Yen per person) and the journey takes about 1.5 hours. The bus is comfortable and comes with on board toilet too! Do check the timing online before planning your journey.
Although the ryokan is not within the city, there is a free shuttle bus that will bring you to the ryokan at certain timings (do check with the ryokan, but the earliest Is 245pm). Alternatively, one can take a cab. For those taking the airport limo bus (or Kintetsu-Nara line), do stop at the Kintetsu station (instead of the JR station). There is a small information centre opposite the train station where one can store luggage and explore Nara thereafter.
The shuttle will drop you at the hotel where you will be greeted warmly by the staff. The porter will handle your luggage while the receptionist will process your check-in at the comfort of the lounge (while enjoying a cup of matcha). The lounge offers a very nice view of Nara City. Once done, the staff will slowly show you the place (where your dining room is, the onsen and more importantly your room).
Cup of matcha while enjoying the view from the lounge
There are different types of room in the Ryokan and I booked the Japanese style room with open air bath. The room is very spacious where the living room will be turned down (with tatami) into bedroom (during dinner time). Unlike the ryokan I went to in Hakone, the bath tub is much bigger and came prefilled with hot water! One can plunge into the tub the moment they check in!
Each room comes with the necessary yukata (Japanese pyjamas) where it will be worn throughout the stay. Towels are provided (and more are provided in the onsen). Each room comes with a hot water pot with green tea bags. Safe box is provided.
The sitting area and balcony
View from the room – and a nice flower in the room
The onsen is small; there is only one indoor and one outdoor pool for each gender (swapped in the morning and noon). The onsen is only available from 5am – 9am and 3pm to 12am. Beyond that, one can continue to soak in the room. The onsen is gender segregated, as one must be fully naked to be in the pool. As it was not peak period, I had the privilege of having the entire onsen by myself during the time I was in the pool!
Our stay package was half-board; it came with a kaiseiki dinner and breakfast. Some room occupants will have their meal in the common dining room, but our package came with private dining. The dinner came with 2 options – beef or seafood. The beef dinner is centred on the Iga beef (one of the more premium beef in Japan) that is grilled using hot stone (self-grilled) and sukiyaki style. As for the seafood, my wife had it nabe style (hotpot) and grilled (by the chef). The dinner was certainly satisfying!
Breakfast was also served in course but there was only one option.
Here are the pictures of our food:
Common aperitif and appetizer for both sets
Grilling the beef
Rice, Miso soup and Dessert
Common breakfast for both of us
I paid SGD $525 for 2 persons (1 night). It is certainly costly, but well worth it. It was cheaper to book via Expedia as the price for direct booking was $625! One also gets 6 miles per dollar by using DBS Visa Altitude on Expedia (don’t forget to use the landing page).
I would certainly recommend this ryokan for those who are visiting Osaka, as this allows you to explore Nara simultaneously. It ranks highly in comfort, food and staff friendliness. However, one may get bored easily as there are nothing else one can do besides the onsen.