I arrived at the Kyoto Station two hours and twenty minutes after the Shinkansen took off from the Tokyo Station. I earlier downloaded a map of Kyoto on my mobile phone to help me navigate the city. Following the direction of the map, I tracked the location of the guest house where I stayed for three days. After almost 30 minutes of searching, mitsuketa! I found it!
The Santana Guest House Kyoto is only eight minutes away from the Nishioji Station, the next station from the Kyoto Station. It is also only 2.4-kilometers away from the Nishikyogoku Athletic Stadium, where the Kyoto International Marathon was held.
It is an old-style Japanese guest house built in 1945 and it’s akin to most traditional houses or minka in Kyoto.
The Santana Guest House Kyoto has a narrow entrance hall (genkan) where shoes and footwear are removed before entering the house. The shoes are then stored at the getabako, a small cabinet with compartments.
I took the standard twin-bed guest room. The bed has a heating pad that helped me survived my worst winter yet. The warm sheets protected me from the 0 degree Celsius temperature. I don’t have any problem with small spaces, especially when I find it kawaii. I even thought of asking my dad to make a small reading bedroom for me, similar to that of my bedroom in Santana.
Like other traditional houses, the bathroom and the high-tech toilet in Santana are separated. I particularly love the sliding doors separating the living room and the guest rooms.
I like the amenities at the guest house but what made my stay in Santana Guest House Kyoto more homey and memorable is the warm welcome of Ms. Reiko and Yuma-chan. Both of them took good care of me, prepared a sumptuous and healthy Japanese breakfast for me, and made me feel like I’m a family instead of just a foreign guest.
Yuma-chan helped me navigate my precious Kyoto map, and helped me get myself familiar of Kyoto. On my last day, Reiko-san was scheduled to visit the Osaka branch, but before she left, she made sure I was all set for my trip back to Tokyo. I was holding my tears back after she gave me a warm hug and a souvenir. She also sent me a message I kept on reading at the airport.
I know I will keep on coming back to Kyoto, and no matter how many times I visit, I’m still gonna stay in Santana Guest House Kyoto. It’s definitely my home away from home.