Hope responses to the OP are still desired here.
Sitting on the stand at my right hand is my 1976 Kohno 10 cedar top. It remains, to this day, one of my favorite guitars.
I purchased this guitar as a student in 1985 for $250. The top below the strings had been horribly scrached up, I presume because the previous owner had played flamenco or used a pick on it. But, from the day I put my hands on it, I felt I had come into my own as a guitarist. I used it for the rest of my college career, and for many years after. Although full-sized, it is still the easiest-playing guitar I've owned, with no buzz or slap when you push it. It's tone is sweet and mellow and smooth -- which is just how I like it. One of the things I like about it is that the tonal palette is easy to control. I've played amazingly good guitars, both cedar and spruce, that were almost too responsive, and required more control than I have to produce even, consistent tone. The Kohno's response just seems smoother, more consistent and easier for me to control.
I recently played a brand new Sakurai Kohno, and it had some of the same characteristics as the old K10. After 30 years of experience, I've decided that a Sakurai or an S. Kohno are definitely in my future. I may even get rid of my No.1 to get it...
Also, my old Kohno replaced a mid-priced Aria spruce top. It was quite nice, if I remember. It originally belonged to my father. I would recommend a mid-priced Yamaha or an Aria factory-built guitar to anyone looking for a quality entry-level instrument.
Finally, I was at the NAAM a couple of years ago and saw that Aria is heavily into small-body "romantic" and "salon" guitars. They're kind of funny looking, because they look like regular sized modern headstocks and necks stuck onto a little tiny body. It was hard to really hear at the show, but I wasn't impressed. But then, I don't really like any of the small-body acoustic guitars flooding the market these days, so I'm not qualified to judge. Interesting, though. ..