We stayed at the Keizankaku ryokan as a family of two adults and two school age children. We chose the Keizankaku because it has rooms that features private outdoor baths so you can experience the Japanese onsen without going to a more public bath. It also advertises as a child-friendly ryokan so we were confident that our children would be welcomed as guests. The clientele was mostly Japanese.
The Keizankaku is located in the mountains outside of Kyoto, about 45 minutes away by car or by public transportation. The ryokan provides a bus to and from Kameoka Station so it is possible to get here on public transportation. The ryokan building is not traditional, consisting of several low-rise buildings, so don’t expect Japanese authenticity in the building. The interior is very typical of ryokans of this class and of this age, dominated by late 70’s early 80’s furnishings, fluorescent lighting, and a pink-pastel color scheme. All of it is clean and functional, but neither authentically Japanese nor modern.
We stayed in a Japanese style room with Private open air bath in the Second Building. In my opinion, this is the room to get for those people who want to experience Japanese baths without having to go to a public bath. The room is a typical Japanese tatami room where the sitting area is converted into the sleeping area in the evening by the maids. It was spacious and nice enough for our family.
We had our kaiseki dinner in a private room instead of in our room. Our dinner setup had individual tables and chairs in a tatami room which was frankly more comfortable for our kids than sitting on the floor. The meal was good, with really wide variety of dishes. One highlight was the fugu which is a poisonous pufferfish which requires special skills to prepare. The child meal was unexpectedly large … basically it had the same number of courses as the adult meal, but replaced the complicated dishes (such as the aforementioned fugu) with simpler items. Overall, it was a good (but not WOW!) meal, and a good introduction to this style of dining.
In our opinion, the breakfast buffet was a more satisfying meal because it was simpler in preparation. It featured both western breakfast items, as well as a huge assortment of Japanese breakfast dishes. There was something here for everyone, and lots of things to try.
The Keizankaku is admittedly a little out-of-the-way from mainstream Kyoto, but it can be worth the effort depending on your needs for the ryokan experience.