I’ve been to Kyoto more times than I can count, and I even lived there one memorable summer.
But until that last trip, I hadn’t been in a long time because I’d been so busy on a never-ending Travelife.
There are a couple of mid-sized world-class companies with headquarters here that I had to visit as well.
It was so interesting to me then, to see how these companies (Nintendo, for instance) changed so much about the world — and yet when you went and visited them, they were incredibly traditional office environments.
The men worked, the women served tea, and you left your shoes at the front door and changed into slippers, just like at a house.
The only place that’s really changed a lot is the area around Kyoto station.
The neighborhoods here have become unrecognizable because of all the construction and redevelopment; and even the station itself looks like a garage for space ships from Battlestar Galactica.
The sashimi appetizer went very well with vintage Krug champagne
Mind you, this inn was pretty luxurious — but it isn’t a glamorous kind of place, the way so many new Japanese ryokan are these days.
It’s more of what the Japanese call wabi-sabi type of luxury, and it’s so hard to explain what this means in English.
But it’s the real “best of Japan.“
There’s nothing over the top about it, and certainly no wow factor. There are no fantastic views. But it embodies in almost every way the very best of refined Japan in a way that no other Japanese ryokan really can.
Both ways are very nice, as far as Japanese inns are concerned, and it’s just a matter of personal preference.
But this Japanese inn has been the choice of accommdation for everyone from Japanese aristocrats and relatives of the Imperial Family, to the philosopher Jean Paul Sartre and even Steve Jobs.
In fact, this ryokan was one of the last places that Steve Jobs took his children to, before he died.
This is why I chose it — because the real Kyoto is all about restrained good taste and making the most of the old.
No one knows Japan like us at Travelife Magazine — and we can say that about a couple of other countries by now as well, but especially about Japan.