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Saturday, 23 June 2007

The Kayotei: A Japanese Ryokan - Page 2

Written by Scott Haas
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Before I set foot inside a ryokan, the Japanese version of a country inn, I pictured what we have here in New England: Rustic, low-key, old-fashioned, creaking floorboards, pleasant and garrulous hosts, simple fare of roasted, overcooked meats, and incredibly stodgy, faux upscale service. I should have known better.

INTRAVEL: What is the rough history of the property when it opened, how has it developed over the years?

MK: Thirty years ago I suddenly closed the ryokan my parents had run for 20 years. It had a capacity of 200 guests. Then I built the Kayotei with only ten rooms for a capacity of 24 guests. In those days, Japan enjoyed rapid economic growth and people took it for granted that larger meant better. However, I decided to pursue quality, not quantity, which was a challenge for the era. The Kayotei came to be well accepted by those who are sensible and lamented the fact that mass production and mass consumption had ruined Japans authenticity. Since the opening of the Kyotei we have renovated our ryokan from time to time.Kayotei

INTRAVEL: How does it differentiate itself from other ryokan?

MK: The Kayotei can boast of its natural mineral hot-spring and great care and hospitality to meet every need and whim of each guest; I, myself pick up and see off our guests at Komatsu Airport or JR station and sometimes talk with our guests at the Cocktail Lounge, which has promoted chances to make friends with our guests. The chef and I go into the mountains and pick edible wild plants. I write a dinner menu with ink and brush for each guest. It is impossible for a large-scaled ryokan to do such things.Kayotei

INTRAVEL: What impact, if any, does it have on the surrounding region?

MK: Our management, in order to pursue the high quality needed to entertain guests, has inspired other ryokan owners, some of whom even changed their properties into smaller scale ones.

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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