As a food-lover (I’m not a fan of the term “foodie”, but let’s save that discussion for another time), vacations are as much about seeing new places as they are about trying new foods. And as much as I love stuffing my face with street food, for me no trip is complete without also splurging on a fine dining experience. In past trips, a front-runner for that fine dining meal has naturally emerged as we conducted our research, including restaurants such as El Celler De Can Roca near Barcelona, Steirereck in Vienna, and Astrid y Gaston in Lima. But here’s the problem with Japan – there are simply too many world-class restaurants to choose from, evidenced by the fact that they have the most Michelin-starred restaurants of any country in the world.
As first-timers to Kyoto we realized that there was a LOT to see and do, and we were going to attempt to cram as much as humanly possible into the next 4 days. By the time we had settled into the hotel it was early evening, and we headed out to Gion with a couple goals in mind. Firstly, we wanted to find some good food, but we soon realized this was one of the few places where our “tourist trap” radar went off and ultimately decided to eat elsewhere. Secondly, we wanted to go Geisha-spotting, and had heard that around 5-6pm in Gion was one of the best times to do this.
This hotel review could easily be summed up in a single sentence – The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto is one of the best hotels that I’ve ever stayed at, and I would be absolutely shocked if it didn’t soon ascend into the rankings of “Best Hotels In the World”. But as tempting as it is to drop the mic and walk away, what’s a trip report without a few pictures? We arrived at Kyoto Station in the late afternoon, and while the hotel is semi-walkable from the station (25-30 minutes), we had our luggage with us and instead jumped in a taxi. The traffic around the river was backed up, and it took 30 frustrating minutes and more than $20 to get to the hotel.