December 11, 2000
We are fortunate to stay at one of the most famous - The Tawaraya Ryokan, which has been in the same family for 11 generations. There is a beautiful and completely private garden right outside our bedroom. We walk around our room without shoes on tatami mats. Design is spare in the extreme. Upon arriving back after a weary day of sight seeing, a hot bath, already drawn, awaits. But, one always takes a soapy hot shower before soaking in that glorious bath. In the rooms, all modern conveniences are hidden. There are covers over the television, phone, refrigerator, even the toilet paper holder. Imagine a toilet that is the highest of high tech gadgets. One has to really search for hidden treasures such as the air conditioning control or electrical outlets, all of which are at ground level to keep them unobtrusive. Our personal lady-in-waiting, Ito is always on hand to bring us cups of the finest green tea or to lay out our futons. Dinner is always available to be served in the room after a long day of sightseeing.
From journal Impressions of Kyoto