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2 top pick Kansai classic luxury hotels that are loved by Japanese people as a self-treat trip!

Among the abundance of hotels in Japan, the "classic hotels" and hotels well-known as being long-established ones are very attractive.
The location, thoughtful services, excellent hospitality and great attention given to the interior of the building are often been rated highly, and hence successfully attracted lots of celebrities to stay there, and Japanese people also plan for a staycation or holidays at those hotels as a treat for themselves.
Articles regarding renowned hotels in Kanto area are introduced in a separate article (「Hotels that are listed as more than "Exceedingly Comfortable" in famous rating guidebooks in Japan」), so this time we will focus on locations in the Kansai area such as Nara and Shiga.
There are a variety of long-established hotels in Japan. There are lots of nice hotels other than the ones we introduced last time, so this time why not have a look at the classic hotels around the tourist areas in Kansai region when planning your next trip to Japan?
※All information and prices listed are accurate as of December 2020.

(1)Nara Hotel - a 100-year-old hotel loved by VIPs around the globe (Nara)

Nara Hotel opened in October 1909 as a guest house in Nara Park.
Till the present day, many world-famous people have spent time here. For example, Crown Prince Edward of the United Kingdom, Albert Einstein, Audrey Hepburn etc. have actually visited this accommodation in the past.

There are two guest rooms, one in the main building and another in the new building. 
The main building has a tiled roof and is built with a lot of high-grade Japanese cypress. The deep history of the hotel can be felt from the interior of the main building, such as Japanese paintings from the early 1900s and the fireplace from the time of its founding still remains as a decoration. The guest room is a Western-style room with a classical atmosphere. The room in the new building is a classic x modern room, and so you can get to try an authentic Japanese-style room too!

In addition, the restaurant has a French-style main dining hall, Japanese cuisine restaurant, cafe lounge, and more.

Moreover, Nara Hotel is located in the centre of the city, so its strategic location is also another attractive point. It is even possible to walk to sightseeing spots such as Nara Park next to the hotel, The Garden of the Former Daijyo-in Temple, and the World Heritage Kofuku-ji Temple as well as the Great Buddha Hall of Todai-ji Temple. It can be accessed bus from JR Nara Station to the front of "Nara Hotel" or around 8 minutes by car.


Address: 1096 Takabatake-cho, Nara-shi

(2) Ryokan Beniayu - Luxury accommodation on the shores of Lake Biwa (Shiga)


Ryokan Beniayu is a Japanese inn located in Onoe Onsen, on the bank of Lake Biwa in the Shiga Prefecture. It's a Japanese inn where you can spend a cozy time as though you were in your own hometown.

Notably, the lobby lounge, which has tatami mats, a hearth, and other relaxing spaces with a Japanese-style atmosphere. From the lobby, a vast panorama of Lake Biwa and Chikubu Island, which is known as a mysterious island, can be seen. Enjoy a stay unique to Japan with a beautiful lake view.

In addition, a foot-bath on the terrace near the lobby can be enjoyed, and Kyoto-style kaiseki cuisine made with Omi beef, one of the three major Japanese beefs, is also a must-try. There is also a special service where ladies can select their favourite yukata to wear in the property among 17 kinds of colourful yukata. 
Also, there are lots of sightseeing spots at the surrounding area - Chikubu Island, which is well-known as a spiritual spot, as well as Kinomotoshuku, a temple town lined with shops like sake breweries with a history of more than 470 years. You can also visit Douganji Kannondo, where you can see a national treasure, the eleven-faced Kannon statue. Access to the accommodation is about 10 minutes by shuttle bus from JR Takatsuki Station.


Address: 312 Onoe, Kohoku-cho, Nagahama-shi


Recommended Sightseeing Spots or Cuisine in Nara

Nara Prefecture has abundance of sightseeing spots such as temples and shrines, museums, parks, and mountains. Notably, there are a number of temples and shrines registered as World Heritage Sites within the prefecture, so those sites are highly recommended as must-go spots to visit. For example, Todaiji Temple in Nara Park, which is about 6 minutes on foot from Nara Hotel, and Kasuga Taisha, where its vivid red shrine is an eye-catcher.

Also, one of Japan's first World Heritage Sites, the world's oldest set of wooden buildings "Horyuji" can be accessed by bus from JR Horyuji Station.

Furthermore, if you go to Nara, be sure to try the famous "Kaki no Ha Sushi"! It is made by wrapping fish such as salmon and salted mackerel in persimmon leaves. The refreshing aroma of persimmon leaves softens the powerful aroma of the fish, making it very easy to eat.


Recommended Sightseeing Spots & Cuisine in Shiga

There are various places to visit in Shiga Prefecture, such as temples, shrines, museums, and scenic spots, and our top-pick is the scenic spots.
Particularly famous top spot is "Biwako Hakodateyama", which takes about 20 minutes to reach by bus from Omi Imazu Station. If you climb 630m to the summit of the mountain with a gondola, you can overlook the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, so it is popular as a seasonal flower viewing spot during seasons when there are autumn leaves, Petunia or Kokia bloom.


Additionally, the "Metasequoia Namiki" lined with 500 Metasequoia trees offers a variety of views in different seasons.
It is a tree-lined road located in Takashima City Agricultural Park Makino Pick Land located in northwest of Lake Biwa, and there are cafes situated along the tree-lined road, so do enjoy strolling down the street and having tea at one of the cafes.
Also, the specialty cuisine in Shiga is "Omi beef". You can enjoy this particularly luxurious ingredient in a variety of ways, such as steak, sukiyaki, and shabu-shabu.


Refer to the following for more information on the facilities mentioned in this article.

Hotels that are listed as more than "Exceedingly Comfortable" in famous rating guidebooks in Japan

Stay in a high-class classic hotel in Kanto as a reward for your usual hardwork

Nara Hotel


Ryokan Beniayu

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