We stayed at Gion Sano for two nights at a room only rate, so we didn't have any meals, so I can't comment on that. It was our first time at a ryokan, so our experience is most likely also skewed from that perspective.
The location was very nice, right next to Yasaka Shrine, and Gion where many shops and restaurants can be found. Within walking distance to Kyomizudera, and close to a bus stop for all the other sights. It took us about 20 min by bus from Kyoto Station, but the bus was EXTREMELY crowded, so we would probably take a taxi when travelling with luggage the next time.
We had no problem finding the ryokan based on directions from their website and a picture of the front door. The sign is only in Japanese, so if you can't read it, make sure you have good directions and an idea of what the place looks like. When we arrived, we were promptly greeted, asked for our passports to make copies (required in Japan) and led to our room even though we were an hour earlier than check-in time.
Once we were led to our room and removed our shoes, we were sat down at the low table in our room and the room amenities, etc. were explained to us over a cup of cherry blossom tea and green tea cookies. The room was covered with tatami mats and decorated in traditional japanese styele and contained a tv, electric water kettle, tea set, yukata (Japanese robes), hair dryer, safe, and towels. It was very cozy and pleasant. The staff will make your beds in the evening by moving the table and laying out Japanese-style mattresses with bean bag pillows. They might be a little hard if you're not used to it, but it didn't bother us.
We only encountered one person who spoke some English, a young man, but everyone was extremely friendly. We were given strawberries in the evening for dessert both nights, which we were not expecting and was a nice surprise. The man who spoke English also gave us recommendations on where we could have dinner. There were 5(!) Labrador dogs the second day (we think we were the only guests that day), and we loved seeing them around the entrance as we are big dog lovers.
The only negatives were that the first night they seemed very busy, and as we were going out for dinner, they were serving dinner to other guests, so we waited at the lobby desk for a while until someone could come take our key from us, but we understood they were busy and didn't wait long, so it wasn't too bad! The other is that our room had absolutely no view... when we opened the complicated window with frosted glass we had a view of the alleyway between buildings.
Overall, a great first experience in a ryokan, and we would go again!
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