his hostelry is widely acknowledged as the best traditional ryokan
in Japan, a claim shared with the Tawaraya directly across the narrow street. Its name derives from the Japanese word for holly, which is said to bring good fortune.
Dating from 1818 and now in its sixth generation of innkeepers, this low-key inn has hosted countless international notables, yet the only evidence of grandeur is the occasional limousine sidling up in front. Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author Yasunari Kaw...