At the low wooden table of your room at Hiiragiya, you savor a dinner of Kaiseki cuisine - sashimi and other fresh, seasonal delicacies served on handmade ceramics and fine lacquer ware. Every detail of this inn - known as a ryokan - is impeccable, from the piping-hot Japanese-style bath before supper to the gracious and unobtrusive staff. As the inscription in the entry hall says, guests are meant to feel like they've come home.
Established in 1818 and owned by the same family for five generations, Hiiragiya has tradition on its side. Each of the 28 rooms is individually decorated in classic Japanese fashion, with features ranging from tile bathrooms to folding screens painted in gold leaf. All have polished wooden beams and reed ceilings, and most offer a Zenlike garden view.
After dinner, staff silently replace the table with plump futon bedding. Amid such tranquility, it's easy to forget you're in downtown Kyoto, minutes away from dining, shopping, and entertainment.