What kind of luxury onsen ryokan is Fufu Kyoto?
During the autumn season, my husband and I decided to visit the Higashiyama area of Kyoto with its autumn leaves. On a weekend in late November, we took the Shinkansen from Tokyo Station around 10:00 and arrived at Kyoto Station at noon. It was a chilly day with occasional light rain, but as expected, Kyoto Station was very crowded as the autumn foliage season was in full swing. After having lunch at Kyoto Station, we headed to Nanzen-ji Temple, which was located near the ryokan where we would be staying for the night. At Kyoto Station, we took the Karasuma Subway Line, got off at Karasuma-Oike station, transferred to the Tozai Subway Line, got off at Keage Station, and walked to Nanzen-ji Temple. Kyoto is a small city, so cabs are convenient, but during the fall foliage season, the roads in the center of Kyoto are often congested, so we tried to use the train as much as possible. There were many tourist buses parked around Nanzen-ji Temple, and the area was bustling with visitors eager to see the magnificent autumn leaves.
To get straight to the point, our stay at the ryokan was a valuable opportunity to experience the elegance and sophistication of Kyoto. It is probably the only ryokan in the Higashiyama area that has all rooms with private onsens. The location was also perfect for Kyoto lovers and close to the Gion area, which was dotted with wonderful restaurants, cafes and stores. Another one of our favorite ryokans has been added to our list. Next time we would like to visit during the season of fresh greenery or cherry blossoms.
We then headed to Fufu Kyoto, after enjoying the autumn leaves at Nanzen-ji Temple. It was about a five-minute walk away. The ryokan was tucked away, blending in with the surrounding landscape. We even walked past the ryokan without thinking about it. From the entrance, we walked along the cobblestone pavement, beautifully planted with bamboo trees and tastefully decorated with lanterns, until we came to a small wooden door. We arrived at the ryokan just before three o’clock. It was check-in time, so the butler staff was waiting for us. The automatic door made of wood opened and we could smell the aroma of cherry blossom incense. Once inside, we found a large vase with a dynamic arrangement of maple branches and behind it, a reception desk with a magnificent one-piece wooden table. Behind the reception desk were shelves displaying and selling basket bags, iron kettles, tableware, and other items. The lobby lounge was not large, but it was separated by partitions made of Japanese paper and bamboo blinds, and was like a private room, each with comfortable modern sofas and tables.
Here we check in and sit on a sofa facing the Japanese garden and sip hot yuzu tea. The Japanese garden was small, but well maintained and had a relaxing feeling. Ryokans in Kyoto, including this one, are all cramped. The city of Kyoto is surrounded by mountains and there is no room for expansion. Since ancient times, people have lived in limited land and space, making good use of various cultures and architectural styles. We have been especially fascinated many times by small Japanese gardens with their spatial beauty that is typical of Kyoto, where one can experience the four seasons on a daily basis.
We then went out through the lattice door next to the lobby lounge to the Japanese garden and decided to take a short walk. We opened the lattice door and went to the left, and found stepping stones and a narrow alley-like pathway, which is common in Kyoto, leading to the Japanese garden that I had just seen from the lobby lounge. At the far end of the path was a single-story building. It was now used as a bar. Then, the Lake Biwa Canal, which was connected to the Nanzen-ji Temple, flowed through this garden as well. The sound of the water flowing into the pond in the center was pleasant to hear. In addition, the stone pavement and autumn leaves of the trees and grasses, which were wet with light rain, gave off more vivid colors, creating a charming, Kyoto-style ambience.
After a few moments, the staff showed us to a comfort twin room on the second floor with a private onsen. When we opened the door of the room, we could smell the original incense fragrance again. We took off our shoes and changed into slippers. There was a living room with a sofa on the left and a bedroom with twin beds on the right. Behind the living room was a bathroom with the private onsen made of Japanese cypress. The bathtub was small. The bedroom and living room were separated by lattice doors, and the layout was modern and functional in a Japanese style.
We took out a bottle of Asahi beer from the mini-bar and sat on the living room couch to drink it for a while. The room we stayed in had the private onsen and bathroom on the window side, so there was no view from the room. There was a window with a shoji door next to the private onsen, but the view was of a small parking lot. If you want to enjoy the view of Higashiyama while in your room, a suite on the 3rd or 4th floor would be a good choice.
Then I immediately decided to enjoy the private onsen I had been looking forward to. It was exceptional to enter the onsen in Higashiyama, Kyoto, feeling the steam rising from the hot spring water and the scent of hinoki cypress. When I opened the shoji door, I felt the cool autumn breeze from the Higashiyama mountains on my hot cheeks, which was very pleasant. Unfortunately, the quality of the onsen was not exceptional. If you are particular about the quality of the onsen, you may want to stay at Kyo Yunohana Resort Suisen in Kyoto.
Then we realized that it was already past 16:30. The light rain that had been falling earlier had stopped. We had made a reservation for 17:00 at a restaurant near the ryokan called bistro & wine én, which serves casual French cuisine. It is about a five-minute walk from the ryokan. This restaurant is one of the best places to stop by when we visit the Higashiyama area, as it is easy to go alone, and the renovated 100+ year old house has a lovely nostalgic ambience. The restaurant offers a wide selection of affordable, easy-to-drink wines. As a small restaurant, it is best to make a reservation in advance. You can also ask the staff to make a reservation when you check in.
Then after 19:00 we left the restaurant and went to see the lighting up of Kodai-ji Temple and Entoku-in. They are located around the Gion area, so it was about a 25 minute walk from the restaurant. The illumination of the autumn leaves at Kodai-ji Temple is, in my opinion, the most beautiful in all of Kyoto. The theme changes every year and the temple is decorated with colorful projection mapping. The autumn leaves reflected on the surface of the pond in the Japanese garden are beautiful beyond words. We would recommend circling the temple grounds while admiring the illuminated bamboo grove and the autumn leaves. Then you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of Entoku-in during the daytime, but at night you can enjoy a different kind of charm. The white sand illuminated by lights creates pale shadows, and the autumn leaves are quietly illuminated behind them. The autumn leaves and masonry illuminated by the light looked like one giant painting. The illumination of autumn leaves is held from late October to early December, but the most beautiful season is from mid to late November. The temples are open from 17:00 to 22:00 for the illumination, but it is best to visit after 19:30 if possible, as the park will be crowded from 17:00 to 19:00.
After enjoying the lights, we were tired of walking and took a cab from the Gion area back to the ryokan. The trip took less than 10 minutes and and the cab fare is about JPY1,000. At night, there is no traffic jam in Kyoto city and you can find a cab on the main street.
Returning to the ryokan before 21:00, we walked from the lobby lounge through the illuminated garden to the bar. Entering through the entrance with lowered red lanterns, we found a tatami-matted room with tables and chairs and counter seats. It was a traditional Japanese house with warm indirect lighting, yukimi-shoji screens, and an old-fashioned persimmon-thatched roof. We sat at the counter seats, sipped whiskey for a while, and returned to our room around 21:30. As we returned to our room, a light rain began to fall again and it was a chilly night.
The next morning, yesterday’s weather was dreary with thick clouds covering the sky, but today we had clear skies and crisp blue fall-like skies from the morning. We awoke around 6:30. and decided to go for a morning walk. In the serene time, the blue sky and the maple trees with their orange, red, and yellow leaves were in perfect harmony with the stately gate and the brick waterway pavilion in the precincts of Nanzen-ji temple. I can still see this scene in my mind’s eye when I close my eyes. During the day, the temple was so crowded with tourists that it was difficult to experience the full beauty of the temple, but early in the morning, as we walked through the temple listening to the sound of running water, chirping birds, and swaying maple trees in the breeze, we could not help but feel the romance of the temple’s long history.
After our walk, we were getting hungry, and before 8:00, we went to a dining area on the first floor, where the staff showed us to a counter table by the window. The sun was shining warmly through the window, and the view of the Japanese garden, created more than 100 years ago, was perfect for breakfast. We were particularly impressed by the beautifully arranged Kyoto cuisine served in four-tiered rice piles, the kyoto-stye soup with the flavor of white miso, and the rice cooked in a kettle produced in Tamba, Kyoto. We returned to our room with a happy and full stomach from the morning.
We enjoyed the private onsen in our room until check-out, checked out before 11:00, visited Eikando, famous for its autumn leaves, about a 10-minute walk from the ryokan, and then went to Ginkaku-ji Temple via the Philosophical Path, from where we took a cab back to Kyoto Station. We had lunch at Kyoto Station, boarded the Shinkansen around 15:00, and arrived at Tokyo Station a little after 17:00.
If I dare to raise a drawback, it is that the comfort twin room we booked has a view of the small parking lot from the windows. This may be unavoidable since the ryokan is located in the center of Kyoto. Also, although the room was small, it made good use of the limited space and did not feel cramped for two people.
Then although it was just my husband and I staying here, this ryokan is child-friendly. They provide children’s meals, yukatas, bathtubs, diaper garbage cans, cribs, and bed guards. There is also a children’s tablet with games and manga available. The above items are limited, so it is best to let the staff know in advance what you need.
Check Availability and Pricing for the hotel on Agoda
Is the location easy to access?
It is a 20-minute cab ride from Kyoto Station and costs about JPY3,000. Alternatively, it is less than 10 minutes on foot from Keage Station on the Tozai Subway Line.
There are many famous sightseeing spots scattered around the ryokan. For example, Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto Zoo, the Philosopher’s Path, Heian Shrine, Kyoto City KYOCERA Museum of Art, Eikando, etc. are all within walking distance, so the location is excellent for kyoto lovers.
Where is the best accommodation for anniversaries in Kyoto?
If you are looking for a good place for a special occasion in Kyoto, the property is one of the best. The staff arranges flowers and cakes to celebrate an anniversary at additional charges if you request in advance.
Rooms I would recommend?
If you are going to stay, we would recommend a room with a nice view.
How about toiletries & in-room amenities?
All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, pajamas, bathrobes, tea bags, a coffee machine with capsules, arare sweets, and a Japanese tea set. There are VOTARY bath amenities and skincare products. Turn-down service is available. Room service is available between 17:00 and 21:00. The mini-bar contained mineral water, gyokuro tea, soda water, Asahi beer, apple juice, and orange juice, all of which were available free of charge. The free WiFi reception was excellent. There was an iPad in the room. There was a butler box at the entrance to our room and we could order on the iPad and it was delivered to the butler box.
How about In-house Facilities?
There is a Japanese-style bar in the Japanese garden, open from 16:00 to 23:00. There is no communal onsen, spa treatment store, gym, library, etc. on the grounds.
Then the ryokan is a perfect universal design. Wheelchairs are available for borrowing. If you bring someone with weak legs, you may want to inform the staff in advance as they arrange a room near the lift.
Have a nice trip! Welcome to receive any questions about Fufu Kyoto from the below space. Check Availability and Pricing for the hotel on Agoda
Info about Fufu Kyoto
|Luxury Onsen Ryokan
|Check-in and out times
|100,000 JPY for 2 adults per room
|Free wifi in the ryokan
|Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
There is no parking lot
|Fufu Kyoto’s MAP
|20min by taxi from Kyoto Station
|Address and TEL
|Fufu Kyoto’s HP
*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.
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