What kind of luxury hotel is Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto Banyan Tree Group?
On a weekend in early October, after a hot summer and a crisp autumn sky, we finished things to do in Nagoya city and moved to Kyoto that day to stay at the newly luxury hotel near Nijo Castle, which we had wanted to stay at for a long time. October in Kyoto was still too early for autumn leaves, but we loved the serene atmosphere of Kyoto.
To get straight to the point, it was truly a blissful stay. Although it is a small luxury hotel with only 25 rooms in total, it condensed the sophisticated taste of Kyoto and provided us with a quiet and rich time to spend.
My husband and I had lunch at Nagoya Station, took the NOZOMI Super Express Shinkansen from Nagoya Station around 13:30, and arrived at Kyoto Station shortly around 14:00. The hotel staff provided a shuttle service from Kyoto Station to the hotel at no extra charge. Reservations need to be made with the hotel a few days prior to your stay. We boarded a shuttle car from MK Taxi Kyōto Sta. Hachijōguchi Stand Office, which was located just a short walk from the south exit of Kyoto Station. We told a receptionist that we had a reservation, and a TOYOTA ALPHARD HV pick-up car arrived about 5 minutes later. This car was excellent to ride in, with very little noise when driving. After less than 10 minutes of driving, we arrived at the hotel, where we would be staying tonight.
We got out of the shuttle car, opened the beautiful lattice door at the entrance, and walked along the narrow bamboo planted pathway, wondering what scenery awaited us ahead. Upon entering through the entrance, we found a lobby and reception area, with various artworks displayed throughout, creating an extraordinary ambience. The ambience was similar to that of HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO in the neighborhood.
Then, through a large window, there was a garden of beautiful mosses and trees that was strikingly beautiful. In front of the garden was a water basin reflecting the sky and maple trees. The basin had a device that created ripples once every three minutes.
In addition, a huge, massive basalt table was placed in front of a large window, its polished top reflecting the ever-changing scene outside like a mirror. This large window, facing north toward Nijo Castle, was constructed to receive almost no direct sunlight, thus creating a unique landscape. We were often speechless and just gazed at the wonderful scene with no boundary connecting the outside to the lobby.
We were shown to a sofa facing the window, where we checked in and enjoyed a cup of refreshing cherry blossom tea and melt-in-your-mouth rakugan, dry confection of starch and sugar. Since October was already fall when we visited, the cherry blossom tea seemed out of season, but the subtle scent of cherry blossoms warmed our hearts. After a brief rest, the staff showed us to our room. This time, we booked a Bamboo Garden Room on the first floor. We wanted to enjoy the bamboo garden from our terrace or room, away from the bustling outside world.
Upon entering the room, one was greeted by a white vase lit up like a piece of artwork in a museum. Turning to the left, on the right side was a closet and a long, vermilion-colored side luggage storage area. The lacquered vermilion color, used for much of the room’s furniture, gave the room an elegant Kyoto feel.
The closet contained fluffy Imabari slippers, bathropes, and other items. Also in front of the closet was the bathroom, which was stylishly decorated with many black stone tiles like castle walls on the floor and ceiling. We especially liked the hand rain shower made by GROHE of Germany because the water flowed softly and felt gentle against our skin.
Then, as we entered the bedroom, what caught our eyes was the beautiful little garden that could be seen from the window. We felt as if we were being sucked in. We were impressed by the wonderful space that had no boundary between the outside and the room, where the garden was in perfect harmony with the ambience created by the soft indirect light in the room.
Sofas and a table were placed on the tatami matted floor in front of a large window, and the walls were designed with a mirrored finish to reflect the outside scenery. Although no direct sunlight entered the room, soft light shone through the gaps between the bamboo trees, and we lost track of time gazing at the ever-changing scenery.
In addition, the wooden bedboard’s wall surface was decorated with creative naguri texture that looked different from daylight when illuminated by the indirect lighting. On the bedside table, there were USB ports for charging, power outlets, Bluetooth speakers, and a tablet device. From the tablet, we could browse information about the hotel and control home appliances.
We took out a bottle of local sake from a mini-bar and sat on the terrace for a while, listening to the bamboo leaves rustling in the gentle breeze, enjoying the wonderful bamboo garden and Kyoto sake. By the way, beer, sake, ginger ale, Perrier, apple juice, olives, etc. in the mini-bar were available free of charge. There were also Mont Blanc pastries available on the table.
We noticed that it was past 15:30, so we decided to go to Nijo Castle, located right in front of the hotel, before dinner. Unfortunately, Nijo Castle is lit up for fall foliage from late October, so there were no events such as lighting up or projection mapping going on when we visited, but we were able to see Nijo Castle in a quiet and serene setting.
Then we walked around the spacious Nijo Castle and started to get hungry. We looked at our watches and it was just before 17:30. We headed to Singular Makura, a Japanese-French fusion restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel, where we were served a nine-course Japanese-French meal and a bottle of richly flavored CAHORS red wine. The creative dishes came one after another, and we were excited to see what the next dish would bring. I was especially impressed with the Kyoto beef served with salt and the buckwheat flour galette. Dinner will be operated by reservation only until 17:00 the day before.
After dinner, we decided to visit the illuminated Fushimiinari Shrine. October is not yet the season for autumn leaves, so very few places hold nighttime illumination. If you want to fully enjoy the illuminated autumn leaves, it would be recommended to visit Kyoto in November.
We took the Tozai Line from Nijojo-mae Station, a five-minute walk from the hotel, to Sanjo Keihan Station, walked to Sanjo Station, then took the Keihan Main Line to Fushimi-Inari Station. The torii gate and the tower gate, which floated in the darkness, were truly a sight to behold. The stone tatami mats along the Omotesando path had spot projections of cute foxes and autumn leaves. Lanterns placed along the famous Senbon-torii (1,000 torii gates) were lit, creating an ethereal atmosphere. From the Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine, we decided to take a cab back to the hotel, as we were tired from walking around the shrine grounds. The trip took less than 20 minutes and cost about JPY2,000.
Returning to the hotel and entering the lobby, we were often dazzled by the illuminated garden and the magical world reflected in the water basin and the basalt table. We felt as if we had wandered into a picture book. When we returned to our room, the bamboo garden was lit up and seemed to float beautifully in the darkness. We sat on the sofa by the window, took out a bottle of Asahi beer from the mini-bar, and sipped the chilled beer while gazing at the illuminated bamboo garden. Listening carefully, we could hear the chirping of bell bugs. It was still too early in the season for autumn leaves, but it was already the season of autumn in Kyoto.
The next day, we woke up a little after 6:00 and went out on the terrace to find a misty fountain rising from a sprinkler system in the garden, creating a fantastic scene that was different from the one during the daytime. We brewed coffee with Nespresso Vertuo and sat on the terrace enjoying the aroma and looking at the beautiful garden with moss and bamboo trees. By the way, the coffee made with the Nespresso Vertuo produced a rich, fine foam that filled the cup more than halfway. As soon as the coffee started brewing, the aroma spread throughout the room. Having coffee while enjoying the smooth foam and aroma was also very special. Three types of capsules were available: Costa Rica, Ethiopia, and Fortado. It was a slightly chilly morning, but after 6:30, the area gradually became brighter and a blue sky came into view through a gap in the bamboo grove. We felt very refreshed.
Before breakfast, we decided to take a walk around Nijo Castle, right in front of the hotel. We were so happy to be able to take a walk while enjoying the view of Nijo Castle, a World Heritage Site. It is 2 kilometers around Nijo Castle, and it takes about 35 minutes on foot. It is just the right distance for an early morning stroll.
We returned to the hotel around 8:00 and headed to the restaurant on the ground floor for breakfast. We were shown to a table with a view of the courtyard by the window. There were three breakfast choices: Japanese, Western, and a vegetable-based “well being” breakfast. We chose the well being breakfast. It included a truffle omelet with Kyoto eggs, three kinds of smoothies, salad, potage soup, organic granola, grilled vegetables, pancakes, Greek yogurt and seasonal fruits, and fresh milk. The dishes, carefully prepared with fresh ingredients from contracted farms and ranches, had a nourishing and tender taste that was deeply satisfying to the body. The dishes, served on magnificent china, were as beautiful as paintings, and it was such a waste to eat them. We were amazed at the chef’s wonderful sense of color. Each dish was really delicious, but the overall portions were small. It was not enough for us gluttonous eaters.
If I dare to raise a drawback, it is that it is a small luxury hotel, so there is no gym, pool, sauna, onsen, spa treatment shop, lounge, etc. Also, we did not see any families with small children. It is more suitable for couples or solo travelers. However, we thought that the furnishings, location, environment, service, and hospitality of the hotel were outstanding, especially among the hotels in Kyoto.
Check Availability and Pricing for the hotel on Agoda
Is the location easy to access?
It is a 10-minute cab ride from Kyoto Station. If you make a reservation in advance, hotel staff will arrange a free shuttle car from MK Taxi Kyōto Sta. Hachijōguchi Stand Office of Kyoto Station. Alternatively, it is less than 5 minutes on foot from Nijojo-mae Station on the Tozai Subway Line.
This is a new hotel, opened in 2022, so most cab drivers will not know it. You can show them the address and phone number in Japanese below.
ギャリア・二条城 京都 by バンヤンツリー・グループ
電話番号 075 366 5806
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 staying in a non-summer season, I would recommend a room on the first floor with a bamboo garden. During the summer season, you may get mosquito bites if you relax on the outside terrace.
How about toiletries & in-room amenities?
All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, bathrobes, tea bags, a coffee machine with capsules, chocolates, and a Japanese tea set. The mini-bar was available free of charge for other beverages, although champagne and wine were charged. There are CAUDALIE bath amenities and skincare products. Room service is available for 24H. The free WiFi reception was excellent. There was a tablet in the room.
How about In-house Facilities?
The hotel is almost 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.
Welcome to receive any questions about Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto from the below space. Check Availability and Pricing for the hotel on Agoda
Info about Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto Banyan Tree Group
|Check-in and out times
|Estimated Price||100,000 JPY for 2 adults per room|
|Internet Connection||Free wifi in the ryokan|
|Facility information||Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
There is no parking lot
|Location||Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto BanyanTree Group’s MAP|
|Access||10min by taxi from Kyoto Station
|Address and TEL||Tel +81 75 366 5806|
|Official Homepage||Garrya Nijo Castle Kyoto BanyanTree Group’s HP|
*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.
Still not sure where to stay in Kyoto?
Browse through my TOP5 Ranking Lists of all the best places to stay in Kyoto.
Alternatively, you could leave a message at the below space for advice.