Kyoto tales: Converted ryokan, Kinse Inn was a real winner

By Melissa Masatani, Staff Writer

Easily my favorite part of Kyoto was the lodging. As five adult travelers in a land where even the more luxurious hotels rarely accommodate more than two people per room, I turned to AirBnB to find a hotel-substitute — and it delivered.

There were modern apartments, traditional homes and even shared rooms to choose from for all different types of travelers.

For my group, the Kinse Inn was a clear winner. The converted ryokan, or traditional Japanese inn, is run by a descendant of one of the original owners as a bar/restaurant on the ground floor with a restored and updated second floor, where we stayed.

It was fascinating to see the tatami rooms with paper doors, sleep on a Japanese futon and test out the traditional bathtub and shower room.

The hosts, young married couple Kojiro and Seanacey, met while Kojiro was studying in the U.S., so they were able to provide a detailed history of the 250-year-old building and neighborhood — in English.

While I only stayed in Kyoto for 36 hours, it would be worth a return trip to catch some of the sights I missed, like Gion, known for its geisha tradition and teahouses, or the Imperial Palace, which requires reservations made months in advance.

But Kyoto’s true charm lies in its ability to blend history with modern comforts, making even a simple walk through its neighborhoods an educational adventure.

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