Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo was the highlight of my trip to Kyoto. The service was impeccable, the rooms were very comfortable and the food was outstanding. The grounds feature a beautiful Japanese garden with a koi pond as well as mini-onsen (spas) for men and women to use separately. The guest rooms are traditional, with tatami mats and futon mattresses that are laid out each night. All guest rooms come with private bathrooms, so if the thought of using a communal bath makes you cringe, you can make use of an en-suite modern shower instead.
Yachiyo guests are offered the opportunity to purchase dinner and breakfast with their stay. The dinner is a bit on the expensive side, but it was well worth the money. We were treated to a unique cultural experience in a traditional Japanese dining room, where we sat cross-legged around a low table. We were encouraged to don yukata robes (provided by the ryokan) while partaking of an exquisite nine-course feast. The breakfast that we ate the next morning was similarly decadent. Both meals consisted of an array of sushi, rice, tofu, tempura, pickled vegetables and soup, along with several unique dishes that I had not encountered elsewhere. Everything was made with the freshest ingredients and artfully presented.
Unlike many of the other ryokan in the area, Yachiyo is extremely accommodating towards guests with dietary restrictions and food allergies. Both at the time of our reservation and at the time of our check in, we were given checklists with ingredients where we could indicate the ones that we do not eat. The list included items like dairy, eggs, meat, fish, bonito flakes, wheat and soy. We went with the vegan option, but it was nice to know that guests with wheat and soy allergies could be accommodated as well!