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“Traditional ryokan in a special location” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Koemon

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Koemon
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456 Ogi-machi, Ono-gun, Shirakawa-mura 501-5627, Gifu Prefecture   |  
Hotel amenities
4.0 of 5 stars 23 Reviews
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Traditional ryokan in a special location”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 20, 2012 via mobile

This ryokan is an old house located in a historical village, so the place has some magic to itself and adds to the overall japanese experience. The rooms were clean and food was good, but the landlady was not very forthcoming. Price is on the higher side.

Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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23 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room Tips
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Bristol, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

Very conveniently located just over the footbridge from the main car park / bus stop.

Friendly helpful host who has some limited English. However, her culinary skills are far from limited. We dined on fantastic food around the Irori (old fire place) and had basic Jap/lish conversations with the 2 other Japanese couples staying. It was a lovely chance to interact over some beer and sake!

Rooms are simply furnished with tatami mats and there are no ensuite facilities. Shared facilities were fine and hot baths could be used privately.

On returning to our room after dinner or futons had been laid out - mine with an extra one at the end because I am tall (6'6"), a nice touch I thought!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Castelldefels, Spain
Top Contributor
159 reviews 159 reviews
55 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

It is nice to stay overnight in Shirakawago, specially when tourists leave the little village. Our room was lovely, the dinner a feast, the family in charge spoke English and explained it all with details. Definitelly a perfect place to experience Japanese traditions in the mountains.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2012

We decided to go to Shirakawa-go as part of a two week trip round Japan. Not knowing what to expect, I was anticipating old buses and donkey tracks through the mountains getting there, and the most basic of facilities.

What we found was surprising, and absolutely one of the highlights of our holiday. The town itself is extremely well connected, with an enormous tunnelled highway through the mountains, about halfway between Takayama and Kanazawa. There is effectively a small 'new town' with small businesses, and next door is the original Shirakawa-go with its grass houses and original buildings. In the old town, a number of the original grasshouses (such as Koemon) have been converted into ryokans, some eating places and some shops.

We arrived by bus around 5pm at the Shirakawa-go tourist office and found our way to Koemon, a five minute walk. The walk itself is beautiful: a bridge across a river with the most majestic snow-covered mountains surrounding one on all sides. Fives minutes later and you feel you have stepped back in time a little.

We were greeted at the door by the owner. I wasn't expecting the friendliest of welcomes having read an earlier review, but I found her to be welcoming and informative. My own theory is that the poor woman has so much to do welcoming guests each night, preparing the most incredible, beautiful dinners each evening, turning down beds etc that it was really the next morning that she seemed to relax and sit chatting and smiling with us.

In any event, we arrived and were shown to our room and she then explained in her best English where everything was in the village with a help of a map. We then decided to go round the village and take some pictures before dark set in. The air was cool and crisp and there were huge snow drifts and everything was 'picture perfect'.

Dinner was served about 7:30 I think. Wow. It was the most amazing feast. Guests sit on the floor around the irori fireplace, each with a small table full of Japanese goodies. Lots of little pots of deliciousness, including beef with miso, baked fish, pickles etc. Sake was extra, but we all decided to give it a go and it was delicious! On our evening, there was one Japanese couple, one American couple and ourselves from the UK. It's always difficult to know what to talk about in such situations, but we had enough to share just talking about the village, the food, itineraries in Japan etc and we had a lovely evening.

After dinner (probably about 8:30) we all headed off to our rooms, where the futons had been laid out. Although the room is comfortable ... no TV! What on earth were we going to do?! The bath is also a traditional Japanese 'shared' bathing room which I wasn't too sure about in a small ryokan so, off we went to the Onsen!! It had been recommended to us by one of the other couples so we decided this would be our first onsen experience.

It was lovely! Not something either of us is particularly used to but 'when in Rome' right?! As usual, shoes into little shoe lockers at the door, then off into the changing rooms. I had read that once you are separated into male and female areas it really is 'everything off' but decided to keep a lookout for what the 'locals' were doing. Sure enough, everything off, into the onsen itself and then lots of washing and scrubbing at showers followed by relaxing in thermal waters and enjoing sauna areas. It was great.

Next morning, a wonderful breakfast again then a walk around town before we headed off. I can't recommend a stay in Shirakawa-go enough, and I would certainly return to Koemon!
P.S. We arranged everything through www.japaneseguesthouses.com and everything worked perfectly (oh, but the bill must be paid in cash!)

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

We'd recommend a stay at Koemon if visiting Shirakawa-go, and booking through Japanese Guesthouses who offer an excellent service. We had a room on the 'brook' side which was lovely to hear babbling away. The guesthouse was comfortable, very clean and the food was delicious. There was an opportunity after dinner to meet other guests which was interesting. We thought the welcome was warm and friendly, with a map offered with places of interest in the village pointed out. It felt quite authentic - as if you were a guest in a traditional home, and was a good contrast to our other stays in hotels, ryokans and temples.

Room Tip: The room by the stream is a good size and doesn't adjoin other bedrooms
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2011

If you intend staying the night in Shirakawago, we can thoroughly recommend the minshuku Koemon, which we booked through www.japaneseguesthouses.com. Koemon is located very near the entry point to the village from the bus stop and this was particularly handy the next day, as we left our luggage there until just before we were about to depart.
The hostess greeted us when we arrived and showed us to our room, where she provided us with a map of the village, circling some key points of interest and their distance from Koemon. Traditional dinner and breakfast are provided in the price of the room, and we found everything delicious! Meals are served in the central irori room, with tables set out for the different groups and which you choose on a first come, first served basis. For dinner, all guests had slipped into the simple yukata provided in the rooms, and our hosts obligingly took photos of the various groups (excellently focussed and framed, I might add – they’re obviously accustomed to such requests!).
There is a stainless steel hot tub that guests may use in the evening, but the water was so hot, I couldn’t get in past my knees! Our room was typically small, but wholly adequate and thoroughly charming and comfortable. There are sliding doors that lead to a veranda running the length of the building, and there are also sliding doors separating the guest rooms. We could hear the chatter of the guests in other rooms (Japanese, so we didn’t understand a word!), but this gradually died away. I suspect that a combination of tiredness, consideration for other guests and a lack of electrical entertainment devices meant that all lights were out by about 10pm. After an early start, a fair amount of walking, and looking forward to more exploring the next day, that was fine by us.
A previous reviewer has commented on the unfriendly service she received, the minimal eye contact made by the hostess, and her expectation that more respect be shown to guests, but I wonder if this is more a case of cultural misunderstanding. My experience with Japanese people is that they are very reserved and do often avoid eye contact, but this is considered a sign of respect, as is bowing. And, as with all the Japanese people we encountered and observed, our hostess engaged in a lot of bowing and head bobbing. She listened attentively to our questions and answered them, but we understood that her English was limited (appreciating that she spoke any at all, given our own extremely limited Japanese!) and did not seek to engage her beyond the bare minimum. Also, the accommodation is classified as minshuku, not ryokan, and we did not expect the same level of service (or staffing) that you would expect of a ryokan.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gateshead
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2010

Only spent one night here as part of our honeymoon tour. Found it easily and as previously mentioned the lady host does seem a bit cold but we were told what we needed to know and were on our way sight-seeing without a fuss.
Dinner was excellent with a delicious beef dish cooked in a metal pot over a flame, among loads of other things.
There were only 2 couples staying including us and we had a fantastic Jap-lish conversation with an older couple from Osaka. the owners Grand-daughter kept us amused after dinner also while the sake flowed too freely!!
Breakfast excellent also and our luggage was stored until we left later that day.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Koemon

Address: 456 Ogi-machi, Ono-gun, Shirakawa-mura 501-5627, Gifu Prefecture
Location: Japan > Chubu > Gifu Prefecture > Ono-gun > Shirakawa-mura
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 18 B&Bs / Inns in Shirakawa-mura
Number of rooms: 4
Also Known As:
Koemon Hotel Shirakawa-Mura

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