The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel -

WHILE a room in the old wing of the grand Nara Ho­tel in the park is a com­fort­able op­tion, a tra­di­tional ex­pe­ri­ence at the in­ex­pen­sive Seikan-so ryokan, lo­cated in the heart of the old quar­ter, is also rec­om­mended and suits the city’s at­mos­phere. Fam­ily run, au­then­tic and a man­age­able walk from Kin­tetsu sta­tion, Seikan-so fea­tures a well-clipped in­ner gar­den com­plete with stone bridge and it’s worth re­quest­ing one of the rooms fac­ing it when you book.

The walls be­tween gue­strooms are bet­ter sound­proofed than in many ryokan, al­low­ing a good night’s sleep in a part of the city that’s pleas­ant to wan­der by day and quiet at bed­time.

The tar­iff is about $50 a per­son; at $8, a tra­di­tional Ja­panese break­fast of fish, omelette, pick­led veg­eta­bles, boiled rice, miso, tofu and as­sorted nov­elty items is a bar­gain as well as an op­por­tu­nity to marvel at the Ja­panese ca­pac­ity for dish­wash­ing: we use at least 17 plates and two teapots be­tween us and there are half a dozen other ta­bles on the tatami mats do­ing like­wise.

Check in af­ter 3pm, check out about 10am; leav­ing lug­gage out­side th­ese hours is no prob­lem. English is spo­ken. More: Alis­tair Jones

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