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“Good points and bad--it was a give and take” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Inn Kawashima

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Inn Kawashima
3.0 of 5 Ryokan   |   207-2 Ayazaimoku-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8072, Japan (Kawaramachi/Karasuma/Shijo Omiya)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #69 of 194 Kyoto B&B and Inns
Lawrence, Kansas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Good points and bad--it was a give and take”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Inn Kawashima for two nights during our trip to Kyoto. I was very excited to stay in a ryokan, having an amazing experience at another in Nikko a couple of months earlier. I have to say, I was a little disappointed, although Inn Kawashima does have some really good attributes.

First of all, the location was perfect for us. It was just far enough away from the craziness of Gion so that it felt neighborhoody and peaceful, but close enough to walk for dinner or a drink or a night out. Also, the subway and bus stops are just a few blocks which made getting around very convenient.

Second, the Ryokan is beautiful. We had the room in the back and on the second floor. The size was impressive, with two separate rooms--one with a table and one with the futons. It also had a wall of windows with a breezeway that looked out over the little garden. Everything was decorated nicely and very clean.

A few of the disappointments:

I was a little put-off by the owners attitude. He just didn't seem very welcoming, which was really disappointing compared to the warm welcome we received at our previous ryokan experience. However, other reviews I've read of Inn Kawashima tell a different story, so maybe we just caught him on an off day. Nonetheless, when you are staying in someone's home, as is the case with a ryokan, it's nice to be made to feel welcome. Along the same lines, there was no bath drawn for the guests either night we stayed. Again, I've read other reviews that say differently, so maybe just an off day? It's just something I've come to expect when staying at a ryokan. It would be nice to have the option, especially after a long day of sight-seeing around Kyoto.

The noise is a real issue. I know other reviews address this, and I didn't take it too seriously. The severity of course depends on who else is staying at the Inn. Unfortunately, we had a gaggle of noisy girls directly below us who insisted on carrying on until the wee hours of the morning. The first night we got very little sleep, the second night we went out and found ear plugs. It's a give and take. The paper walls add character and authenticity, but very little noise insulation!

Breakfast was okay. I loved that they brought it up to our room.

Price overall was pretty good for Kyoto. Just bring your earplugs!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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34 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Rome, Italy
Top Contributor
226 reviews 226 reviews
51 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

Close to public transport, in an area full of shops and cafes and restaurants, this is a great place to stay in Kyoto and experience the comforts of a traditional Japanese inn.
The owner speaks English, which is always a help, and she's very friendly and helpful.
My room was small but well-appointed, and the street isn't noisy as there's hardly any traffic at night.
The shared bath is basic but very clean, and I got addicted to those evening hot baths while in Japan, perfect to soothe tired muscles after a day's travelling or sightseeing. The owner draws it for you, all you have to do is undress, wash (very important) and then get in and soak.
Breakfast was a hearty mix of rice, grilled salmon, poached egg, pickled vegetables, and an incongruous a green salad.
And it's good value, although ryokans are never dirt cheap.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 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
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Baton Rouge
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2012

My teenaged son and I stayed here three nights on our first trip to Kyoto. Great location: close to bright lights and depatos, old streets of Gion, and easy-to-use subway system, but feels a world apart. Hospitable owners took extra steps for us to feel comfortable, for example helping me print out boarding passes and loaning us awesome umbrellas when a storm passed through. Great rooms: you'll know where you are. Fine breakfast every morning (changed daily), plus tea and a light treat in the afternoon (again, different every day). Wasn't too full when we stayed, but noise did travel pretty well among the few rooms being used; that's all I can imagine as a possible problem (it wasn't for us). Would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 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
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Houston, Texas
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

Cozy, family-run ryokan tucked away on a quiet street but still a stone's throw from the main shopping area and the subway station, so the location is fantastic. There are also some cute little cafes and restaurants along the same street.

If you're the sort who needs cable TV and a private bathroom in your hotel, then don't bother staying in a ryokan. But I'm really glad we stayed here instead of opting for a Western-style hotel because this place had so much more warmth and character. I was there with my elderly parents for 4 nights and the room we were given was very comfortable, spacious (especially by Japanese standards), clean and airy. Our room had a little balcony that overlooked a traditional rock garden. There is a common shower and toilet but since there are only a few rooms in the inn, it was nearly always unoccupied every time we used it. And they're kept pretty much spotless so kudos to the innkeepers. I even had a suspicion that after every time I used the sink, someone would come to wipe it down.

Our room was very quiet even though the walls are (literally) paper thin and we all slept well because the futons they have are more comfortable than most mattresses in fancier establishments!

We had a kaiseki-style dinner here on our first night but the food was mediocre. They don't have a fully equipped kitchen on the premises so they get the food delivered from another venue. Don't bother wasting your money, Kyoto has lots of great restaurants that can offer better food at better value.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay here and would recommend this place to anyone looking for a unique ryokan experience.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

A brother and sister team run this third generation inn in Kyoto - they are very helpful. The rooms are spacious and you can let the fresh air into the upstairs ones. The location is great - close to main shopping area and a short walk to Gion. The narrow street which houses Kawashima also has lots of little cafes and restaurants. The only downside, apart from the thin walls, is the shared bathroom/ toilet - which means if a family is staying you may hear noise from 0630, especially if you are in the garden room adjacent to the communal hand basins. Good value for money though.

Room Tip: Upstairs rooms are less noisy and you can get a breeze into them
See more room tips
  • Stayed May 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2012

A little hard to find at first but when you finally spot it, you heave a sigh of relief and ask yourself, "why didn't I see it initially?". The entrance is pretty enough to stand out from rows and rows of less conspicuous shops. It's located at the back of kyoto's best shopping paradise - shijo street. They gave us a really huge room, much bigger than luxury ryokans may offer. Couples can share a common bath and lock the door. This is something that luxury ryokans do not practise - they're mostly communal. The futon is made of a special material too but I can't quite describe it except that it gave me the best sleep I've had this year. And we're talking about deep, uninterrupted sleep. It's walking distance to Nishiki Market which has some of the most amazing food at unthinkably affordable prices. And if you are thrilled enough, you can trudge down to Gion and it's probably the most flavourful place I've been on a given night. Gion is sexy, stylish and quaint at night.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Austin, Texas
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2012

My first stay was in November 2010 and I had a single room. This time I traveled with a friend and was able to experience Kawashima's 2-occupant rooms. It was easily the most spacious room we had on our travels through Japan, having relied on business hotels elsewhere. Its sleeping area was larger than a single-occupant room and it had a separate dining/lounging section overlooking the inn's garden-shrine.

The inn is still cozy and clean as ever. The innkeepers are still as friendly and welcoming as I remember. And the location still can't be beat - just a short walk to the Shijo-Karasuma subway station, Nishiki Market, and Gion.

I look forward to my next opportunity to visit Kyoto, and this will be the first place I look for lodging when that day comes.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 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
    • 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.

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Additional Information about Inn Kawashima

Also Known As:
Inn Kawashima Hotel Kyoto
Inn Kawashima Hotel
Address: 207-2 Ayazaimoku-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 600-8072, Japan
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Kawaramachi/Karasuma/Shijo Omiya
Hotel Style:
Ranked #69 of 194 B&Bs / Inns in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Inn Kawashima 3*
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