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A three centuries ryokan that seems to be the "Rolls" of those traditional japanese inns. It is one of the favorite of heads of state, moviestars and obsessive japanophiles. Located in the heart of the town, its wabi-sabi elegance and attention to even the tiniest details will make the aesthete in you swoon: the wetting-down each morning of the stone path in the garden; the perfectly aligned slippers inside the front entrance; the candle lamps in the hallway; the deft intermingling of mid-century Danish pieces among the Japanese furnishings; the sublime service performed by maids whose kimonos reflect, in design theme and color, the season.
With whom ?
The rooms :
Each room differs from the others in design. Views into the garden from each room are calculated so meticulously that each scene resembles a Japanese painting. Both the inner garden (where flowers are arranged in a stone basin) and the dimly lit corridors (where pager lanterns create plays of light and shadow) are truly artistic. This is an inn that not only conveys tradition but also has been designed with a fresh, modern perspective. From the timber used in its construction to the towels, bedding, nightwear, amenities, and meals, the inn presents the best quality possible. A night at Tawaraya is a most memorable experience because the inn exudes at every turn the aesthetic sensitivity of its 11th-generation proprietress, Toshi Sato. Sixty staff tend the needs of guests in the inn's 18 rooms.
The restaurant :
The dark wooden floors and mud walls defining the twists and turns in the 300-year-old Tawaraya Ryokan disguise its age well. Maybe they're pine, maybe they're Japanese cypress; the family members who put them there have long since passed on.
Today, the well-travelled matriach of the family heads the continuing renewal of the house, carefully picking pieces from around the world but most often impressed by offerings from Swedish and Korean design teams. Her son, the GM, lectures in art and culture at the Kyoto University and together they have taken a wonderful canvas and implemented their continuously evolving sense of aesthetic, design and function.