Getting off the no. 50 bus at Kamishichiken and taking the short stroll from the bus stop (past yummy Lawson’s) down the quiet lane to Jam Jar Kyoto, I could feel my heart bursting with happiness – this was the place for me. This is where to go when you want to really feel like you’re in Japan. You’re away from all the crowds, but still close enough to get to the main tourist spots, or not – you could just chill and walk around all the local attractions.
At Jam Jar, Danny and Kazuo are the most amazing hosts, giving you a true welcome on arrival, the best coffee, delicious crepes and a refreshing martini at the end of the day should you need it.
The rooms are beautifully designed using opulent colours but still keeping within the minimalist Japanese aesthetic. Having a double futon to lie down on at night gives you just a little bit of extra comfort. Wardrobe space is large, and there are TV and tea & coffee making facilities in the rooms. Your bathroom and common areas for the guests are kept sparkling clean.
What a joy it is to be able to mingle among locals and travellers alike. You can sit at the large communal table and converse about all things travel and the world or you quietly gaze out the window drinking your latte and munching on your savoury crepe, listening to advice from Danny or Kazuo on where you should go visit next.
Danny and Kazuo offer some fabulous tours that beat the crowds and give you an intimate knowledge of the places you are visiting. Must-dos are the Arashiyama Tour and the Kyoto at Night Walking Tour. I have visited Arashiyama before, but this tour was nothing like what I did previously. Once you get your “insta’ photo of the bamboo, the real secret tour starts, and it will blow you away.
The picnic lunch I could eat every day, so fresh and full of flavour. Walking around Kyoto at night with locals that know all the good places to see is a bonus and saves you wandering aimlessly with other tourists. The buzz of the city turning from day into night is so exciting.
Danny and Kazuo can also tell you other places to go and attractions to see at your own leisure. They are like having a tourist map in your back pocket! If you want to experience a true taste of Japan and feel like you’re a welcomed and treasured guest, I highly recommend Jam Jar.
An interview with Melbourne’s Danny Matheson, owner of Jam Jar Lounge & Inn, who regularly hosts visitors from around the world, including RAW Travellers who are walking the ancient Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route.