More than 100 years old! 4 Well-Established and History-Filled Hotels in Nara
Nara, Japan’s ancient capital, is home to a wealth of cultural assets and buildings that will make anyone feel the everlasting passage of time, as well as numerous Japanese-style inns and hotels that have been open for business for more than 100 years. The following list contains four of the most recommended accommodations in the region. So, how about staying at these historical inns and hotels to get a glimpse into Nara’s ancient charm?
1. Nara Hotel
Nara Hotel opened inside Nara Park in 1909 as a state guest house for visiting dignitaries in Kansai. The hotel’s Main Building, which looks quite massive, is a tile-roofed piece of architecture that retains the original look of the hotel at the time when it was opened. It’s a beautiful building with a design that is a cross between Japanese and Western influences. Inside, you will see furnishings that symbolize the hotel’s long history scattered everywhere, including the piano that was played when Albert Einstein visited. The guest rooms at the Main Building are elegant spaces with a classic splendor. Meanwhile, the rooms in the New Building that was built in 1984 are rooms filled with a cozy feeling that is intertwined with modern design and functionality. Here, you will wake up in the morning to the sound of the bell at Kofukuji Temple, a World Heritage Site, and if you look outside the window, you just might see the deer at Nara Park up close. Stay here and enjoy the atmosphere that is unique to Nara!
Next on this list is Shikitei, a ryokan (Japanese inn) with a long history of more than 100 years that is found beside the Ichi no Torii (shrine archway) of Kasuga-Taisha Shrine inside Nara Park. This building that looks like a temple is filled with a calm atmosphere that will let you immerse in the picturesque landscape of the ancient city. If you head to the teahouse inside the building, you will be served matcha as a welcome drink. All guestrooms at this ryokan, where you can unwind in peace, are covered in tatami flooring and decorated with hanging scrolls and flower arrangements, filling them with a rich Japanese vibe. In terms of cuisine, the Yamatoji Kaiseki (“kaiseki” is an elaborate dinner of dishes served on a tray) dinner that is based on “chakaiseki” (simple dishes served in tea ceremonies) is prepared under the concept of local food production and consumption and uses only the freshest ingredients in season that are harvested in Nara. The dishes are beautifully arranged and served in Akahadayaki earthenware from Nara, so guests get to enjoy the dishes that are perfect for every season.
3. Ryokan Kinokuniya Jinpachi
Boasting of a history spanning more than 300 years from its launch, Ryokan Kinokuniya Jinpachi is a well-established lodging place in the Dorogawa hot spring village in Tenkawamura, Yoshino-gun that is located at the foot of Mt. Omine. With this approximately 820m high mountain that is blessed with beautiful water and covered with lush greens, you will surely be able to spend a relaxing time here. The hot spring inside the property, this inn’s pride, is an open-air bath that faces the Japanese garden. At night, you will surely have such a lovely time as you get to soak in the bath while gazing at the garden that is sparkling with lights. Guests are also allowed to use the private bath (free of charge), and you’d be happy to know that it is available 24 hours a day. For dinner, try this inn’s boiled tofu and kaiseki meals that use the famous local water. Now depending on the season, you may get to taste “kamonabe” (duck meat, cabbage, spring onions, tofu and other ingredients cooked in a pot) and “botan-nabe” (pot dish that uses wild boar meat), too. After a bath or a meal, you can head back to your room with a classical Japanese design and relax in the night’s tranquility.
4. Ryori Ryokan Edosan
Ryori Ryokan Edosan is a quaint “ryori ryokan” (culinary inn) that is found inside Nara Park. This Japanese-style inn started off as restaurant in 1907, and it has been visited by a lot of authors and artists since it opened. Its Kaiseki Ryori courses that use seasonal ingredients that were carefully selected by its head chef from sources all over Japan are a collection of exquisite dishes that perfectly match each season. When you come between October and March, try its specialty Wakakusanabe, a pot of around 16 ingredients from the bountiful seas and lands that are slowly cooked, including “ise ebi” (spiny lobster), sea bream, conger eel, chicken, “namayuba” (food product that is made by heating soy milk and getting the thin film that is created on the surface), and gingko nuts. Note that you can have any meal inside the comfort of your room. Each guest room here is a single-detached cottage with a “sukiya” (tea ceremony arbor) style, with five buildings found inside the property. Edosan is a Japanese inn where you can fully enjoy the beautiful scenery in every season, such as cherry blossoms and wisteria flowers in the spring, fresh verdure in early summer and the autumn foliage in the fall.
All the inns and hotels in this list are such refined places where you will be filled with the sensation of the constant passing of time. Don’t you feel like experiencing the magic of these well-established spots that have been loved for more than 100 years now?
*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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