Before I start - want to let you know about the new HD template which this post uses. You can add annotations as usual from the link in the bottom right of the photo. If you dont want to see annotations then just move your mouse to the scroll bar or menu bar at top of page.
All photos are HD but resize with the browser and should make good wallpapers for many of you. Dont scroll on the map or you will just zoom in and out.
Will talk more about these changes in a separate post soon.
If you are travelling to Kyoto then I presume you are after more of the traditional sights of Japan in which case I recommend that you stay at traditional style lodgings too.
Today we look at a guest house and a ryokan that we stayed at recently.
The first place we are going to look at is a guest house in Kyoto - this is the street its on and once you find it - its like stepping into a completely different world.
This is what it looks like by night - an enchanting little alleyway filled with houses built over 100 years ago which are now being used as guest houses.
This is what you have come to Kyoto for - don't stay in a modern hotel!
This is what its like on the first floor of one of the houses - this would be the main living room.
The house has pretty much everything you need for a comfortable stay of up to 6 people.
These particular bunch of guest houses are called Kaikoan and you can reserve rooms for up to 2 months at their English website. We paid 15800 yen for the 2 of us but that price would cover up to 3 people. An additional 1 - 3 people would cost another 15800 yen.
The location is as follows.
366, Kashira-cho, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-city, Japan 606-8354
Japanese address if you need to copy paste into Google Maps.
We stayed in the Manabian guest house. The owners have attempted to keep everything as it was many moons ago - everything looks old and smells old too - but thats a good thing!
It does mean that the rooms are dark which you can tell from the amount of grain in these photos.
This is the second floor - dark up here too.
Its as if you took a trip back in time to Japan's past.
They got enough futons for 6 people. For those who are not familiar, Japanese beds are traditionally rolled up when not in use and hidden away in the closets.
I used to love sleeping on the floor until my asthma started to get worse and it looked like it was due to the dust. Most dust accumulates 30cm off the floor in a cloud which started to give me breathing problems so I'm back to a Western style bed now.
How many of you sleep on the floor?
This is what the bathing area looks like...
...and this is what it looks like in use ^^;
And before you ask - the pink crocs were already there for guests to use - not mine!
There is an area right outside the front door of the guest house for one to brush teeth, wash face and do the dishes and laundry.
All the soaps etc are available for guests to use.
They also have free Wi-Fi too.
These look like furnaces of some sort. Bricks look new so presume that you can use them too.
If a guest house sounds too adventurous but you still want to experience the tradition then you should try out a Ryokan. A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn - in most cases the rooms are Japanese style with tatami mats but some Ryokan have Western rooms with Western style beds so just make sure the room you book is a Japanese room.
After spending a few days in Kyoto, we moved on to the Hyogo prefecture and stayed in a Ryokan called Hanamusubi (their English website here). 1 night for wifey and I cost 46200 yen which included Kaiseki dinner and breakfast.
Shower, toilet and sink included too.
The available TV stations vary depending on where you are staying in Japan - the content, commercials and news are tailored for each region.
Time for our Kaiseki meal. Kaiseki is a traditional course meal that takes ages to eat. Usually you can choose to have it in your room or in a dining area with other folks.
Presentation of Kaiseki is good!
Hmmm. Starting to feel hungry as I write this ^^
Kobe beef for the main course.
Tastes great! But I recommend not eating in your room - unless you want oil absolutely everywhere - the meat is cooked on a hot plate on the table and the oil goes up in the smoke and ends up covering the whole room.
And this is what brekkie looks like.
All pretty healthy stuff here.