Gion Hatanaka Ryokan
Gion Hatanaka Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan
Right on the edge of Gion, the Hatanaka is on a quiet street close to Kiyomizu Temple and next to Yasaka Shrine. The complex is spread over the wooded hillside, making it a peaceful retreat from the frenetic downtown area. Very much a combination of old and new, the ryokan is an elegant mix of traditional Japanese hospitality set in a modern idyll of beauty. There are 17 rooms in total, with 5 traditional-style cottage rooms (for larger groups) in the small garden and the remaining 12 rooms are in the main building. There is a wonderful bathing 'onsen' wooden bath facility as part of the compound. This is a sophisticated establishment, hallmarked by exclusivity and superb service. Meals are served in your room and you sleep on futons laid out on the tatami mats. Mr Tanaka took over this family-run property from his father in 2006 and is immensely proud of his inn.
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Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favourite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.
Maiko are trainee Geisha (Geiko in Kyoto dialect) who train for six years before becoming fully fledged Geisha. They learn skills such as dance, singing, instrument playing as well as how to entertain guests with conversation.
Explore around the Gion district and other parts of Kyoto to help shed some light on the exclusive and mysterious world of the Geisha and other aspects of Japanese culture.
Take the opportunity to learn more about a traditional Japanese pastime of your choice. These courses are instigated and run by the Women's Association of Kyoto and you will visit the home of one of the members.
Like nearby Kyoto, Nara was once the Japanese capital and a source of enormous cultural and religious outpourings. Unlike its more celebrated neighbour, however, Nara has survived relatively untouched by modern advances and remains a relaxed town dotted with temples, shrines and parkland.
Enjoy a day of culinary delights with trips to Kyoto's Nishiki Market, Horino Sake Museum to learn all about sake production and then a traditional machiya (tea house) for a Japanese cooking class.