Kinmata Ryokan, Kyoto $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
This inn, now in business for more than 200 years, is worth experiencing—if you're lucky enough to get a room. There are seven, but owner Haruji Ukai is so determined to give the best service and to preserve the inn's traditional (read quiet) atmosphere that he only books three "groups" at a time, which sometimes means only three rooms are occupied. This gives Mr. Ukai all the more time to concentrate on his cooking, which has earned him justifiable fame. Even if you're not staying here, you can partake of one of his exquisite kaiseki meals in Kinmata's attached restaurant. Your dinner might end with his memorable seafood zosui, a rich rice porridge served in a copper pot from Aritsugu, the famous kitchenware store around the corner. None of Kinmata's rooms have private baths, but all have beautiful antique furnishings and lamps, and views of the garden or interior courtyard with its ancient stone lantern.