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“Fabulous taste of ancient Japan” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hiiragiya Bekkan

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Hiiragiya Bekkan
Ryokan
  |   431 Yamamotocho, Gokomachi 2jo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0933, Kyoto Prefecture   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #24 of 342 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Tallinn, Estonia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Fabulous taste of ancient Japan”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

This hotel is a nice example of a classic ryokan (traditional Japanese accommodation). They provide almost full board - with the exeption of lunches everything you might need is provided. No need to even bring own amenities. They have everything from toothbrushes to a magical hair tonic that I wished I could take home with me because my hair never lookd or felt so good. You get a 9 course Japanese dinner with a menu so you know exactly what you are eating. And if you stay longer than 1 night, they will, without prompting, modify the menu the next day to include only the things you loved the night before (I don't know how, but that's waht happened with us). You eat in your room, so it is very private also for couples. The traditional hot bath is amazing and the service is all around magical. Eating and sleeping happens in one room, on a bamboo tatami and they switch the dinner table fot a 2 mattress bed when you're finished.The bed will by default disappear back into the cupboard after breakfast unless you tell them otherwise. Sleeping on the floor might seem uncomfortable, but it really is not and the special pillows are truly relaxing for a stressed uptight neck.
All in all Hiiragyia Bekkan is a magical cultural experience rather than just a hotel and if you are in Japan to get a feel of the Eastern way of life, then you should really try this one.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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72 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Uk
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2011

A real taste of traditional japanese hospitality, we loved our stay here. The garden views are lovely and the staff were incredibly polite and friendly. Our favourite thing about our stay though was the food, which was absolutely incredible. As good as anything we tasted during our trip.

Room Tip: Garden views were the nicest.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 5 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.
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2011

Hiiragiya Bekkan feels like a traditional Japanese family. There is one lead attendent who served us during our two night stay. She asked us what time we want breakfast and dinner to be served, and when we want to take our shower (morning and night shower). She only offered two time options for meals and shower (7:30am or 8:30am for breakfast) and (7:30pm or 8pm for dinner). So in a way, she was like a mom who passively make us wake up early during our holiday.

The ryokan obviously has a rather long history. It shows its age here and there. So if you are looking for a very luxurious stay, this may not be the choice for you. However, it has a nice garden, attentive staff, and a reserved shared bath (reserve a time for you and your spouse / family). It makes you feel like staying at a traditional Japanese family.

I am not sure, but I think I might have pick a simple breakfast and dinner. I felt the dinner was quite standard kaiseki. Food tastes good, but no special / premium ingredients like fatty tuna or such.

The location is great. It is only 2 small blocks from subway station Kyoto-shiyakusho-mae, on the Kyoto city Tozai line. On the hotel street, there are some Western restaurants on the street, and the fashion store Commes Des Garcons. Near the hotel, there is the Musemum of Kyoto, and a nice market.

20mins walk from Gion on Shijo dori. To go to the temples in the Eastern Kyoto, you can take the subway for 2 stations and get off at Higashiyama and then change to bus.

One bad thing about the location is, it is right next to the street, so for people who stay on the side facing the street, you would hear some cars passing by at night.

Lastly, no wireless, but there is a laptop with internet service at the hotel's living room

Room Tip: Ask for the rooms away from the street. But corner room (which is closer to the street) also has a n...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
New York City, New York
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2011

If you can afford it, stay in the more expensive sister ryokan, the Hiiragiya.

That said, this is one of the nicer ryokans in this price range. Nicer than Montonago. Kaiseki dinner has many items that may not suit the western palette. Pretty traditional Japanese gardens. Make sure to ask for a room with an en suite bathroom, otherwise shared restrooms. Shared hot tub is nice and can be reserved for private use.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokushima
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 3, 2011

We really enjoyed our one night stay at Hiiragiya Bekkan.

Booking the accommodation went smoothly as a member of the staff there communicated with me completely in English. Basic rooms are 15,000 yen plus tax, 2,000 yen extra for garden view. A basic room is big enough for a couple or individual. We reserved this room plus a bigger room.

A taxi from Kyoto station cost 1400 yen, and the drivers should recognise the destination simply by name.

We were greeted outside the ryokan as our taxi pulled in.
At the entrance gate, we noted that the stepping stones were wet having been hosed down in anticipation of your arrival. A staff member took our bags from there and we checked in. English is limited but sufficient.

We padded down the carpetted hallways to our rooms which were located side by side at the end of the building. The smaller room had a view of a Japanese stone garden feature, while the bigger room actually opened up into the main garden. Glad we didn't pay 2,000 extra for the view we got for free.

The receptionist served us some welcome tea with Kyoto sweets, then organised our bath time and dinner time. We then settled into the room.

An attendant came in to measure us for our yukata (light Japanese robes). She looked each of us up and down measuring us against the wood panelling. She was back with our perfect sized yukata - this for four adults from sizes M to XXXXL!

The baths were very nice. Very low water pressure in the showers, and the wooden seats are tiny, but the baths are great for soaking and everything you need soap-wise is in the bathroom.

After our baths, we slipped into the yukata and relaxed before dinner. Our room attendant Tomoko introduced herself to us, then started serving up our multi-course kaiseki meal. If you're not a fan of fish and seafood, then you probably won't enjoy kaiseki, as every dish bar the dessert has a seafood component.

We loved the meal. The portions seem very small, but you will be satisfied by the end of the meal. The visual presentation and flavour combinations are surprising and pleasant. Our only complaint was that the courses were brought out too quickly (before we had even touched one course, another would appear, with Tomoko urging us to eat "next, next"). When we mentioned that the meal was rushed, it seemed like they stopped serving us all together. Then we were told that when we were ready for rice and dessert, to call to the front.

Around the middle of the meal, Tomoko bought some toys for my two year old to play with. She also noticed that my daughter loved trying on the adult slippers to wear down the hall, so she brought her a kiddie sized pair. Later, she brought light towels for my baby to lie on so he'd be more comfortable on the cushions. So considerate!

After dinner, our beds were laid out, breakfast time was confirmed and we were left until the morning.

A light knock on the door, and Tomoko was in to put away the beds. She then brought in an English language newspaper (nice touch) with our breakfast trays. I had opted for the Japanese food, but next time would try the Western option as the Japanese food was too 'fishy' that early in the morning. We chatted with Tomoko a little about our plans in Kyoto, ate breakfast at a leisurely pace and then we checked out.

The staff kindly called taxis for us, and waited for us right until the taxi turned the last corner away from the ryokan, bowing deeply the whole time.

In Kyoto, I have stayed at Watazen, and Hiiragiya Bekkan is miles better than that in terms of the genuine and considerate service they offer. Their baths and bathing system are also superior (my sister was nervous about communal bathing so this was a great introduction to figure it out for herself in a low-pressure environment). Everything about this place was exemplary of Japanese hospitality and culture (except the dinner timing as mentioned). I would highly recommend this ryokan for a one-night peek into Japanese travel culture.

If you consider that a kaiseki meal in a restaurant costs upwards of 8,000 yen, then the money you spend to stay here is really quite reasonable. And if you're going to stay at a ryokan, do the whole dinner/breakfast option and luxuriate in the service. That's really what you are paying for at places like these.

Thank you Tomoko and all the staff at Hiiragiya Bekkan. This was an unforgetable experience, and hopefully one day, I can afford to stay at your Honkan!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tecoma, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2011

On my first trip to Japan my partner and I stayed at Hiiragya Bekkan for three nights. The hostess assigned to us was patient and excellent and the other staff always helpful and polite. While we had very little language in common, this was not an issue for our stay. The ritual nightly bath was magnificent and being able to do it for a wake up was also amazing, a real treat.
The food was extraordinary and was a highlight. We were fully introduced to and educated about Japanese food as prepared and served at this establishment.
I would fully commend Hiiragiya to anyone who wants to experience the culture of Japan. The introduction on their web page was also excellent and made me feel comfortable abou this new experience.
I would note that this city was very safe, clean, unbelievably clean, and so far away from the danger of the nuclear disaster as one could want.
I will definitely visit again.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2010

The set up is what we expected of a traditional Japanese luxury roykan - Room was clean, "Beds" comfortable. Staff was friendly and beautifully dressed.
Our experience: We arrived at 4.30 and had time to enjoy the atmosphere! We ( family of 5 with 3 teens) had 2 connecting rooms with garden view (think all rooms do). Before dinner we had a bath. We bathed in two groups: My husband with 2 teenage sons and our teenage daughter and me. The males's stunned facial expressions when they realized what they were about to do still make be smile, but the truth is, that it turned out to be a fun experience for all of us. We also had dinner and breakfast at the roykan. We are not able to determine the quality of our meals, since it was very different food for us, but from pictures and reviews of what other kaiseki meals offer, I am not sure that ours was so fantastic, but maybe it was? For us it was the only 2 meals during our vacation in Japan that we did not like.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with family
    • 3 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
    • 3 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 Hiiragiya Bekkan

Address: 431 Yamamotocho, Gokomachi 2jo Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0933, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Amenities:
Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 342 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 14
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