Arashiyama Benkei

Arashiyama Benkei

What kind of onsen ryokan is Arashiyama Benkei?

The ryokan is located in a wonderful location, directly across the Katsura River, making it a special place in Arashiyama. From our room, we could see the Togetsukyo Bridge, and at night we could watch the cormorants being kept while we ate.

It’s a quaint and magnificent Japanese building, so when I walk up the stone-paved stairs from the entrance of the ryokan, my expectations are high. As we walked up the stone steps and opened the latticed door, we were greeted by a staff member wearing a classy kimono. It was a wonderful ryokan where care was taken in every detail.

Outside the window, there is a spectacular view of Arashiyama and the Katsuragawa River, and you can gaze at Arashiyama while lying in bed after a long day of travel. At night, you can gaze at the stars from the window side of the bed, and I think that is one of the best ways to enjoy this inn. If you are lucky, you may be able to sleep with a beautiful moon in your eyes and enjoy the beautiful scenery like a Japanese painting.

The guest rooms are all tastefully decorated in Japanese style and face the Katsura River or a lush courtyard. Cherry blossoms in spring, cormorant fishing in summer, autumn leaves, and snow in winter. You can spend a peaceful time in the silence and beautiful scenery.

Then during your stay, you can enjoy the hot spring bath made of Japanese cypress with a view of Arashiyama. What a luxury! The hot spring water is very pleasant to the touch and very slippery. This is probably the only wonderful luxury ryokan in Arashiyama that offers hot springs.

If you are looking for a luxury property in Arashiyama, I think that you have two choices, Arashiyama Benkei or Suiran, a Luxury Collection Hotel Kyoto. The former if you prefer a traditional ryokan, and the latter if you prefer a modern ryokan.

The only drawback I can think of is that Arashiyama, which flourished as a villa for aristocrats over 1,000 years ago, is a 30 to 40-minute drive or train ride from Kyoto Station. If you are a first-time visitor to Kyoto, it may be more convenient to stay in Kyoto City. If you love Kyoto and visit as often as you like, you will fully appreciate the value of staying in Arashiyama.

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Is the location easy to access?

The property is located near Togetsu Bridge.  It takes 15min on foot from Arashiyama Station.  A free shuttle service from each of the stations is available if you request in advance.

Then if you are visiting Arashiyama, I would recommend taking a rickshaw ride. It is interesting to take a rickshaw from in front of the station. The price is JPY4,000 for 10 minutes for two people.

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Rooms I would recommend?

If you are planning to stay here, I would recommend a room on the second floor facing Arashiyama and Katsura River. The blissful moment of gazing at the Katsura River and Arashiyama from your room in the evening or early morning is irreplaceable.

Alternatively, if you stay in the rooms called “Tokiwa” or “Giou” on the first floor, you can fully enjoy the beautiful and emotional garden.

Then there are some rooms with private hot springs. If you love onsen, you may want to book them.

How about toiletries & in-room amenities?

All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, yukatas, samue outfits, and a Japanese tea set, etc.  Also, there are some colorful yukatas that you can choose from.  Room service is not available.  Free Wi-Fi reception was good on the property. Netflix is free to watch. There is a vending machine in-house.  There is a convenience store within walking distance.

How about In-house Facilities?

There are small indoor and outdoor communal hot springs. Also, there is a private family hot spring. You need to book in advance if you want to use the private family one. It costs 3,240JPY for 45min. First come, first served. All of them are open from 6:00-9:00, 16:00-24:00. The spring quality is wonderful but there is no view from the baths. For the location, it can not be helped. *If you have tattoos, you may not be permitted to use the public bathing area. You may want to book a room with a private hot spring or a reserved private family hot spring.

Then this is not a universal design.  There is no lift in the wooden building.  There are some steps.  If you bring someone with weak legs, you may want to request a room on 1F in advance.
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There is no bar, no library, and no lounge, etc.

How about meals?

This is a famous gourmet ryokan. The cuisine is carefully prepared using seasonal vegetables and fresh fish caught in Kyoto. The portion tends to be average.  There are many ryokans in Kyoto with great food, but it is hard to find another place where you can enjoy food while looking at the scenery of Arashiyama. It may be challenging for western palates, but it’s worth it.

Dinner is served in a private room or your room.  Breakfast is served in a dining area.  After breakfast, coffee and baked cake were served in our room.

Please note that inform the staff when you book a room with meals if you have any food allergies.  They probably wouldn’t be able to prepare alternative food if you request it on that day.

Then if you have dinner on the property, you need to check in by 19:00.  If not, you need to check in by 21:00.

Then there are some restaurants near the ryokan. If you want to have dinner at a restaurant in the Arashiyama area, most of them require reservations.

My impressions

Overall, the price range here tends to be higher since it is in Arashiyama, but I think it is well worth it for those who love Kyoto. The atmosphere is special. It’s hard to express in words, but I was very impressed. Visiting Arashiyama and leaving on the same day, or staying in Arashiyama even for a day, will give you a completely different impression. Please try to walk around Arashiyama as if you were a nobleman 1,000 years ago.

The best season to stay here would be in spring or fall.  The weather is just nice during the seasons.  You can hang out near the property while viewing peaceful landscapes.  Then don’t forget to take a walk near the property before breakfast and after dinner.  There are many tourists in the daytime in Arashiyama, especially during the spring and the fall season.  You may feel a bit disappointed.  However, there would be few people in the early morning and at night.  You can see true Kyoto.  It couldn’t be better.

During the spring and fall seasons, the nearby temples offer illuminated gardens to the public. The breathtakingly beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring and the fiery autumn leaves in the fall are wonderful sights. After dinner, be sure to stop by for a walk. Weekends and public holidays are expected to be crowded, so please purchase your admission fee at the ryokan.

Have a nice trip!  Welcome to receive any questions about the property from the below space.  If you check-in after 19:00, you need to inform the staff in advance.  Check Availability and Pricing for the onsen ryokan on Booking.com or Agoda.

Info about Arashiyama Benkei

Style Traditional Ryokan
Check-in and out times
16:00/10:00
Estimated Price 60,000 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact  Fill out the form
Internet Connection Free wifi in the ryokan
Facility information Wheelchairs are not available
Pets are not allowed
The free Parking lot is available
*You need to book it in advance
Location Arashiyama Benkei’s MAP
Access 15min walk from Saga Arashiyama Station or
Arashiyama Station
Free shuttle service is available
You need to book it in advance
Address and TEL 〒616-8385 Kyoto Ukyo-Ku,
Sagatenryujisusukinobaba-cho 34
Tel +81 75-872-3355
Official Homepage Arashiyama Benkei’s HP

*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.

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