Kyoto Day 1 - Kikokuso Ryokan and A Kaiseki Dinner

After a relaxing afternoon exploring Gion, we're back at the ryokan for an early dinner. 

Kikokuso is simply beautiful and encompasses everything we thought a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn) would look and feel like. It's a step back into old time Japan, and generations of this family run business is evident in the photos that are dotted around the inn.

I spent hours looking at all the ryokan options for our stay in Kyoto and Kikokuso came up a few times on Trip Advisor. It's not a cheap place to stay; a night for the both of us set us back £320, but it did include a full spread kaiseki dinner and a traditional Japanese breakfast the following morning.

So as this would be our only honeymoon splash out, we could justify the price. A nice kaiseki meal in a restaurant would cost around £150-£200 anyway.

During the day.

Early evening view.

We had so much fun getting into our yukata - a traditional casual Japanese robe, as well as looking at all the details in our room. The tatami mats that are laid on the floor are so comfortable to walk on, and the paper filled windows of the sliding doors helped us to pretend we had gone back into time.

We're invited to have a bath first before dinner, which we found amusing. All the guests are given a 1 hr slot each to use the only bathroom at the inn, so that everyone gets sufficient time to enjoy the onsen. Once we're relaxed from the hot and steamy onsen, on goes the yutaka and time for our kaiseki dinner. I was looking forward to this part of our stay the most! 

Our lovely hostess who is the 'grandma' of the inn. She was so wonderful, friendly, and so graceful.

Our courses are brought out slowly and we are both giddy from the beautiful food that kept unveiling itself to us!
This little square is yuba. Yuba is formed when soya milk is boiled and a thin film forms on top. This film is extracted, folded and cooled down. In Japan, yuba is the fresh form of soya milk skin and in China, the skin is dried and then added to stews and soups, and known as tofu bamboo

This yuba was sensational! Wow wow wow. Gentle soya bean flavour comes through in waves, and the texture is silky with a nice bite between all the layers of yuba. I can't believe it's the first time I've eaten it, what a beauty. 

As the rest of the dishes were brought out, we pretty much ate the meal with audible moans throughout the dinner, the food was so incredible and such a work of art! 

Being the fatties that we were though, we still could have ate some more! We didn't have any snacks on us and didn't want to venture out to the convenience store, so we made do with being slightly hungry still, haha. 

Our kaiseki meal delighted the socks off us and I'd highly recommend this if you ever visit Kyoto.  

We explored a little more of Kikokusu after dinner. Our room opened up to this wonderful little zen garden, and it was so peaceful just sitting by it and listen to the crickets chirp away. 

Whilst we were hanging out outside of our room, the staff laid out the futon beds.  

We took an early night and had a restful night's sleep. We're sad that we are already departing, but we try and enjoy the zen garden view and our breakfast as much as possible.

We're delighted by another spread of beautiful food, Japanese breakfasts are just awesome. We're not used to rice, tofu and soup for breakfast, but everything is so delicious and as we were still a bit peckish from last night, we have a good appetite for all that's on offer.

It's time for us to say goodbye and the lovely owners bid us farewell with a souvenir of face towels and slippers! The 'granddad' of Kikokuso was so nice to offer and give us a lift to Kyoto station with our luggage. 

It might have been an expensive night, but it was every penny worth spending. Thank you Kikokuso. 

Would you spend a night at Kikokuso and hunt down a Kaiseki meal if you were in Kyoto?



  1. Beautiful photos, it looks like such a great experience!

    1. Thanks Abigail, I highly recommend this if you ever visit Kyoto! x

  2. Wow, this looks like such a cool experience! I love the traditional robes, and the fact that they give you an hour to bath haha?! Seriously beautiful garden too :)

    Etta xx

    1. Etta, this is a must if you ever visit Kyoto. The experience is incredible! Haha, we were out in 20 minutes, not very good at relaxing lol x

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  4. Hi Lucy, Chem recommended your blog as me and my husband are travelling to Japan for our honeymoon at the end of Nov. it's so refreshing to hear about your experience and getting me all excited. Do you recommend which Japanese inn to stay in Kyoto? We are only there for 1 night but planning to jam pack the day. Mils x

    1. Hi Milon! Nice to see you on my blog :) I'm so excited for you, you will love Japan! I have more Japan posts coming up so keep an eye out for them. I only stayed at this traditional inn Kikokuso and we loved it. Trip advisor is a good place to search for these inns. Lots of jamming to do then, we were in Kyoto for 4 days and all the days were jammed packed! hehe

    2. Thanks so much, I really cannot wait! X

  5. Hi Lucy, thru your blog, I fell in love with this ryokan. I'm going in November 2017 but I've tried to book now and it's not available. Could I check when did you start booking this ryokan? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi, so sorry for my late reply! Oh no! It's been so so popular ever since we went, but I'm sure I only booked 3 or 4 months in advance. Good luck and just keep trying, they might have cancellations! x


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