A Kyoto institution, this historic ryokan, established in the 1700s, has been run by the same family for 11 generations. The building is not large, and neither are the rooms, but despite this – and the rather uninspiring exterior appearance – each room is a work of art in itself, and a stay here is an education in traditional Japanese luxury and elegance.

As one of the most famous ryokan in Japan, over the years Tawaraya has welcomed some very distinguished guests, including Alfred Hitchcock, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolf Nureyev, and even the present king of Sweden.