I was traveling with first-time-visitors-to-Japan and although it would’ve been super fun to just keep eating and shopping in Osaka, I wanted to ensure that they experienced the historical beauty of Japan. So I booked us into a 2 night stay at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn), in the gorgeous city of Kyoto.

For those who haven’t been to Kyoto, it is a beautiful place to unwind – filled with elaborate gardens, stunning machiya (traditional Japanese townhouses) and temple architecture, and a delectable focus on seasonal produce that is always artfully presented. There was so much culinary traditions to explore.

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - serving tea upon arrival

Matcha (green tea) and baked tatsuhashiis (cinnamon biscuits) are served upon arrival by our hostess.

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - tea time group shot

Dinner is a kyo-kaiseki, a degustation-style sequence of seasonal ingredients, presented beautifully in exquisite dinnerware.

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - dinner

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - serving dinner

The hostess was so lovely, she took the time to explain what every dish was and had cute translation cards handy to point out particular ingredients.

I’m not going to be very detailed here because I was too busy eating to take notes. So just feast your eyes on these scrumptious pics –

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - sakizuke - appetizer using ingredients representative of the season

Sakizuke – appetiser using ingredients representative of the season

Hassun – appetiser using ingredients from the sea or mountains

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan -  hassun - appetizer using ingredients from the sea

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - tsukuri - assorted sashimi

Tsukuri – assorted sashimi featuring hamo (pike conger eel)

Suimono – clear soup

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - suimono, clear soup

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - yakimono - grilled dishes

Yakimono – grilled dishes, juicy beef and eggplant

Mushimono – simmered dishes

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - mushimono - simmered or steamed dishes

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - konabe hot pot

Konabe – hot pot

Tempura – seasonal delicacies deep-fried in a light crisp batter

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - tempura with seasonal delicacies

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - kudamono, fruits

Kudamono – fruits, mango jelly, fresh watermelon and grape

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - traditional tea ceremony equipment

Dinner finished just in time for the tea ceremony demonstration which was taking place in the lounge room.

The tea ceremony is a comprehensive art which requires much discipline. It involves the protocol of tea preparation, the serving and drinking of tea and many other aspects must be taken into consideration.

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - lessons about traditional tea ceremony

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - lounge with high speed internet

By now, the hostess had already rearranged the furniture in our room and laid out the futons. Not that there was much sleeping done, as we made maximum use of the free high-speed internet. It was wireless but the connection dropped out beyond the lobby so guess where we spent most of our nights?

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - bedroom

We also bathed as the Japanese do, in the public bath.

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - public bath

Breakfast the next morning was another feast! We had yudoufu (boiled tofu), dashimaki (Japanese omelette), grilled salmon, ham salad, nori (roast seaweed), tsukemono (pickles), gohan (rice) and misoshiru (miso soup) and a wedge of grapefruit. What an incredible way to start a day of temple & shrine hopping!

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - breakfast

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - omelette

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - salad

Nishiyama Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan - garden

Overall, there’s lots to love about Nishiyama Ryokan and the English speaking staff, free internet access and sensational meals are only just a part of it.

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Nishiyama Ryokan
Gokomachi St.-Nijyo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0933
Phone: +81 075 222 1166
Web: www.ryokan-kyoto.com


Now, I’ll leave you with some foodie must-dos to add to your Kyoto itinerary:

  • Shop for kyo-taki and kiyomizu-yaki pottery and tableware which are handcrafted and feature gorgeous intricate details
  • Learn about the true essence of tea and take part in a traditional tea ceremony
  • Savour a kyo-kaiseki feast
  • Eat kyo-yasai choux – choux pastry puffs filled with seasonal Kyoto vegetables such as mibuna (a green vegetable), yamanoimo (yam), kyo takenoko (bamboo shoots) and more
  • Visit the Nishikikoji-dori (Nishiki Market) which is a street lined with over 130 food shops and is often referred to as the kitchen of kyoto

That’s it from Kyoto – a few remaining posts from Osaka coming to you soon!


  1. I also stayed at a ryokan when I was in kyoto recently. The dinners were wonderful but I was more impressed by the Japanese breakfast and the quality of the rice. The Japanese breakfast I had was stunning and most amazingly, different every morning (I was there for 3 nights!).
    As for the rice, well, let’s just say that the rice and tofu were so good, even the perfectly marbled ohmi wagyu pales in comparison 🙂

  2. i always feel so energised after a trip to a ryokan…the hot springs + the delicious and healthy food make me a very happy girl! ohhh not to mention wearing that cute outfit! lol. whatever that’s called! 😀

  3. Matcha (Japanese Green Tea) Pound Cake Muffins

    I’ve blabbed on about matcha this and matcha that in my recent Japan blog posts but how many of you really know what matcha is? Matcha (抹茶) is basically finely-milled Japanese green tea. Traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony,…


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