If you want to go around ancient cities in Japan, then Nara is the city for you. Ranking next to Kyoto in terms of popularity among travelers, Nara is home to a lot of sightseeing spots such as World Heritage Sites, temples and shrines, and beautiful nature. Here are five of the most recommended Japanese-style hotels that are convenient when you visit the sites in Nara.
Situated about 8 minutes by foot from Kintetsu Nara Station, Asukasou is a Japanese-style inn that is conveniently located when you visit the major sightseeing spots in Nara, including Kofukuji Temple, Sarusawa Pond, Naramachi, and Nara Park. The hotel's open-air bath offers a view of Kokufuji Temple’s five-story pagoda, and when it is lit up at night, the landscape of the magically illuminated ancient city of Nara will spread before your eyes. This hotel has rooms combining Japanese and Western style as well as true Japanese-style rooms with different furnishings and grades that you can choose according to your preferences. It offers guests the use of a large public bath, an open-air bath and a private bath (with charge). Now coupled with the delicious kaiseki ryori (Japanese full-course cuisine) that are specially created by the hotel’s chefs with the help of ingredients that are in season, your stay at Asukasou will surely be a great memory from your trip to Nara.
Located at the foot of Mt. Wakakusa, Musashino is considered to be the oldest inn in all of Nara. It boasts of its prime location inside Nara Park that can be reached within 5-10 minutes by car from either of the JR or Kintetsu Nara Stations. You will also get to see a lot of deer right in front of this hotel. It is surrounded by nature so when you open your window, you will be treated to the sight of Mt. Wakakusa and the comfort of an open-space feeling. The hotel is filled with a Japanese atmosphere, so its guestrooms are basically Japanese-style rooms. There are also guestrooms with an open-air bath and semi-open-air bath at the annex, and these rooms are recommended to those who want to take their time and relax in peace. Further, Musashino offers kaiseki ryori with refined taste and appearance that incorporate the local vegetables and seafood in season.
3. Mikasa Ryokan
Mikasa Ryokan, which is located halfway up Mt. Wakakusa that overlooks the ancient city of Nara, is just about a 10-minute ride on its free shuttle bus from JR and Kintetsu Nara Stations. Enveloped by nature, it is a perfect sightseeing base thanks to its easy access to such site as Kofukuji Temple, Todaiji Temple, and Kasuga Taisha Shrine. The panoramic view from the lobby is so wonderful that you will get to fully enjoy the charms of Nara in all four seasons. The hotel offers guestrooms with different vibes, including guestrooms with beautiful views, expansive maisonette-type rooms that are filed with a resort atmosphere, and special rooms with their own open-air baths. The meals served here are kaiseki ryori that change every month, giving guests the opportunity to taste dishes that have been painstakingly prepared with select ingredients such as Iga beef and hot pot dishes with Yamato pork in miso soup.
Kankasou is a Japanese-style inn that is located near the Nandai-mon gate of Todaiji Temple. It is right next to the entrance of the approach to Todaiji Temple, so it is the best spot for sightseeing. The elegant building of this hotel, which is said to be Nara’s greatest ancient architecture, was once a sub-temple of Todaiji Temple that was relocated for the purposes of this hotel. All its Japanese-inspired guestrooms offer a view of the exquisite Japanese garden, giving guests peace and relaxation. This hotel is also famous for its colorful kaiseki ryori that is made by its head chef who was trained in Kyoto and features a Kyoto essence to the selected ingredients in the dishes.
With a history spanning more than 100 years, Shikitei is a Japanese-style restaurant and hotel that is located next to the Ichi no Torii Gate of Kasuga Taisha Shrine. It is also close to Kofukuji Temple and is convenient for sightseeing trips to Nara Park and Todaiji Temple. With a relaxed atmosphere that is filled with a Japanese vibe, this hotel has also undergone several renovations, so its facilities are now fully functional. The hallways here are covered in tatami flooring, so guests can walk comfortably barefoot. Get into the bathhouse, which features granite flooring and a tub made from Japanese cypress, to soothe your fatigue from traveling and then enjoy the hotel’s specialty dishes! The kaiseki ryori created by the skillful hands of its chefs using Nara's seasonal ingredients are served in luxurious dishes and with an elegant appearance, giving guests a better taste and enjoyment to their meals.
Nara has a lot of Japanese-style inns and hotels, so try to use this article as guide when you plan your visit there!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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