My husband and I stayed here for three nights while visiting Kyoto in November 2012.
It wasn’t our first choice, but we booked quite late and found it hard to find accommodation over the weekend. Having said that, we didn’t have any issues with the accommodation.
I had read other reviews stating that the ryokan is difficult to find, but armed with a map from its website we were easily able to navigate our way there from Kyoto station. I’d say it’s a 10-15 minute walk from the station without luggage and a 15-20 minute walk with luggage. We found the walk to be fine, but if you have a lot of bags or are arriving at night a taxi would probably be your best bet.
We were greeted with tea on arrival and shown to our room, which was the Tea Ceremony Room.
We found the room to be fairly small but comfortable. It had tatami mats; floor level chairs and table; a separate toilet and shower (in a tiny bathroom); tea supplies; a bar fridge for storing drinks (vending machine in the street outside); and futons/pillows/bedding which you had to set up yourselves. Some people would probably prefer to have their beds made for them, but we found it quite fun to be able to arrange it how we liked. There were a couple of Japanese bathrobes as well.
The TV channels were mainly in Japanese but we found a button on the remote that would remove the Japanese dubbing from any American shows and convert them back to English.
There is free wi-fi available in the communal area but not in the rooms themselves. There is also a computer terminal, but this was usually occupied by another guest. The communal area had a bit of a youth hostel feel, with people hanging out and chatting to other guests. It could get a little noisy in the morning when everyone was having breakfast, but nothing too bad.
We ordered breakfast at the ryokan on the first day (choice of toast, yoghurt, ham, etc). It was very cheap but pretty average. A better option is the Royal Host restaurant around the corner, which is apparently open 24 hours a day, is affordable, and has a wider range and all you can drink bar.
The staff was very helpful, with excellent English. They told us how to get to Arashiyama ourselves instead of wasting money on a guided tour. They also pointed us towards some great little authentic okonomiyaki and tempura restaurants nearby, where we had some of our best and cheapest meals in Japan.
While the ryokan is close to Kyoto Station and a World Heritage listed temple, it is not centrally located so you will need to get a bus to places such as Gion. Reception sells all-day bus passes for a few dollars.
It poured with rain one day during our stay so the umbrellas at reception were a welcome feature. You just take one in the morning and return it when you get back. We also found the on site washing machine useful.
I’d say this is a good option if you don’t mind not being in the centre of town and getting around via bus. It’s also not a traditional ryokan, with no dinner provided and no curfew, so if you’re looking for an authentic ryokan experience go elsewhere – but you won’t find a proper ryokan for a cheaper price.
For us, it was an affordable way to get a piece of the ryokan experience, while being able to eat what we liked, come and go as we pleased, and save a few dollars as well.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.