Nestled in the forested hills on the fringe of picturesque Yamanaka hot spring town, the Kayotei is one of Japan’s finest ryokan. From the ‘ikebana’ flower arrangements to the warm woods and bamboo floors of the traditionally appointed rooms, everything speaks of this ryokan’s long history impressing the most discerning guests. Though some staff don’t speak English it has long welcomed its western visitors, which has earned it a place in the exclusive Ryokan Collection alongside the more frequented Gora Kadan. The service is impeccable as you would expect, the multi-course ‘kaiseki’ and at-table ‘shabushabu’ are served in the comfort of the rooms, and the owner personally meets with his guests to provide that personal welcome so rare in the modern world.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.Bill Bryson