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“A beautiful taste of old Japan” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hiiragiya

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Hiiragiya
4.5 of 5
Ryokan
  |   277 Nakahakusancho, Huyacho Anekoji-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8094, Kyoto Prefecture   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #8 of 342 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“A beautiful taste of old Japan”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

Hiiragiya was one of the most memorable parts of our stay in Kyoto. Located on the corner of a modern main street, it doesn't look like much from the outside, but once you step through the gates, you feel like you've gone back in time to another world. It looks its age, but not in a bad way. There is something calming about the whole place - from the soft, worn in leather slippers you are presented with on arrival, to the fragrant subtlety of the incense and the beautifully worn carpets.

We stayed in the old wing at the lowest price point, and I do agree with other reviewers that you get what you pay for. Our room was small - big enough only to walk around the table (and later futon) in the centre, with a little landing area looking out onto the garden and a bathroom and toilet that the lovely owner told us had been added on. But it was charming with a great view of the garden. Should we stay again, we would probably pay a little more for a bigger room in the new wing. The old wing is steeped in history and has a great charm, but the bathroom is very old as well - which might not be everyone's cup of tea.

That said, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. As other reviewers have mentioned, the Japanese idea of luxury lies not in the furnishings but not the hospitality. The room is sparse, but tranquil. The futons were actually incredibly comfortable, and the service was second to none. We had a lovely attendant who looked like she'd worked there all her life. She spoke little English, but was wonderful. The food was exquisite - better than some of the Michelin star restaurants we later tried in Tokyo, in terms of kaiseki, and breakfast (in the new dining room) was a spread too.

We would highly recommend Hiiragiya, for the experience of luxuriously passing the time in your yukata/kimono, being waited on hand and foot, and just removing yourself from the stresses of the modern world. However, we would also recommend paying a bit more for a bigger room and perhaps - more modern - bathroom.

Hiiragiya is also a short walk from Gion, Pontocho and Nishiki Market, which are all great places to experience old Kyoto. There isn't much to do within the ryokan itself, so I would likely only stay for a night or two.

  • Stayed November 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 Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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172 reviews from our community

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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
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
Date | Rating
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  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
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  • Japanese first
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English first
singapore
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2012

My sister and I stayed in Hiiragiya for one night after Mume hotel!
It is a totally different experience. While both offered excellent service Hiiragiya is soaked with nostalgic ambience and serenity.
For hiiragiya, time seems frozen the moment the gate shut behind you from the unsuspecting busy little street. We were offered slippers to walk around the hotel and the moment you appear at the reception to leave the ryokan the doorman would immediately bring our shoes to us without us telling them which ones!
We stayed at the new wing this time after two previous stay in the old. Bathrooms were comparable more modern and comfortable with high tech facilities. Very high quality toiletries were provided too. The small wooden tub in the old wing was replaced by a bigger wooden bathtub in this modern bathroom. Our room is large and with a beautiful garden at the sitting area.

Kaiseki dinner was served in our room. The quality of food was excellent with my sister's allergy to shellfish noted from communication a month before our arrival. The only disappointment was the tempura which was a little soggy. We had breakfast in the banquet room, which is a large room with beautiful views of the garden through the ceiling to floor glass wall. The food and service was againimpeccable.

The receptionist who spoke fluent english, was very helpful and knowledgeable. We were very pleased with all his recommendation.

It was a memorable experience.

Room Tip: Rooms in the new wing has modern (bathroom) facilities and is more comfortable. However if one wants...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 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.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
90 helpful votes 90 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

First impression after coming from a Western 5 Star hotel was a bit.... oppressive cause of the room size,
WE booked the OLD part of the Hotel to get a real feel and after 5 minutes the room changed into this very special, cozy home.
Dinner (12 courses Kaiseki) wasserved in the room, so was the breakfast. Delicious
Service and amendments were fantastic, loved the little hot bathtub made out of wood !

Pricey, but worth the experience !

Room Tip: If you can afford it go for the bigger version. We had a room ground floor with a tiny garden. Ther...
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 17, 2012

My husband and I stayed at this ryokan for one night on our recent visit to Kyoto. We had stayed in other ryokan's before our stay here but after reading rave reviews and being recommended by Japanese friends, we decided it was would be worth a visit.

The ryokan itself is beautiful and the staff were excellent. Our room was beautiful, well appointed and had a wonderful wooden bath. Whilst the service was very good, the ryokan as a whole seemed to lack the personal approach we experienced in others (possibly due to its size).

We had very high expectations coming here and whilst there was absolutely nothing wrong with our stay in any way, it wasn't as special as we were hoping. The one stand out part of our stay was the food which really was exceptional. I really wanted to give the Hiiragiya 5 out of 5 but there was just that something missing. If planning to stay in Kyoto again I would chose the Shiraume ryokan over the Hiiragiya without hesitation.

Room Tip: We had a corner room with a small garden which was a lovely addition.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Armonk, New York
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
90 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
111 helpful votes 111 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2012

My wife and I traveled to Kyoto on our Asian vacation and we decided to stay in a ryokan. Having never stayed in one before, it is difficult for me to write this review because I really have nothing with which to compare it. That being said, Hiiragiya is an amazing place. We met the owners whose family has been running the ryokan for over 200 years. We were treated like we were royalty and our room could not have been lovelier. Our bathroom was amazing with two showers and an enormous cedar soaking tub and the property is beautiful. We ate dinner and breakfast in our room as well as the "banquet room" and the meals were amazing. My wife opted for a traditional Japanese breakfast while I chose a western one and the dinners were multiple courses of wonderful and interesting Japanese dishes accompanied by glasses of saki. The outstanding feature of this ryokan was the service. The service was terrific and it was polite and proper without being overdone. Our room was immaculate and we were very happy that we made the decision to stay here rather than a hotel. Hiiragiya is a very special place!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SP
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

This was my third time at Hiiragiya. Following two solo stays, I decided to bring my parents along to celebrate my birthday in Japan. we stayed at Hiiragiya for three nights.

We stayed in the largest room of the original wing, which had plenty of space for the three of us. Having the expansive Japanese garden outside our seating area was lovely. Our room also had an oversized ofuro which was great after a long day of walking and sightseeing.

Service, as always, was impeccable and we felt at home all the time.

Food was excellent. Those who really appreciate Japanese haute cuisine know they are in for a real treat. I went with Kaiseki for the first and third night (we skipped dinner one night to go out), while my parents chose the Kaiseki in the first night and Yakitori in the third night.

In my birthday, I was suprised with a gift and a beautiful cake, which was a very special touch.

Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 59 cities Reviews in 59 cities
193 helpful votes 193 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

I really wanted to enjoy my experience at the Hiiragiya Ryokan, I tried very hard to appreciate what it had to offer – but for me and my partner it just didn’t work. Don’t get me wrong, it is a very special place, and the ryokan experience is something you should try – but we were left with a strong sense that it is now trading on its reputation to justify the prices it charges and really not offering something that is truly exceptional to justify what you are expected to pay.

We chose the Hiiragiya based upon the rave reviews on Trip Advisor and all the guide book recommendations. (I have re-read some of the TA recommendations, and I suspect that many of the reviews are from people who just don't want to admit that it wasn’t that good, after they had paid all that money). We do enjoy staying in some lovely hotels around the world, so it’s not about how much it costs, or whether it’s good value, it’s about how you feel overall at the end of your stay – and we just felt very amused, but also disappointed.

We upgraded to stay in a large, corner ground floor room facing the garden (this is the centre of Kyoto –the garden is about 4 metres wide before you see a very high wooden fence). It is a 5 star ryokan, but make no mistake a 5 star ryokan is not a 5 star hotel.

You sleep on single futons on the floor (not great if you want a cuddle); you sit on the floor to eat your meals; you will get bitten by mosquitoes; you will bang your head on the door frames and light fittings if you are taller than 5’ 10”; you will probably not fit into the bathtub; and I still have no idea where you hang your clothes and towel when you take a shower.

You will also receive some wonderful service from a friendly and attentive room attendant and the other staff; a well prepared, but simple breakfast; and if you are into sushi, a superbly presented evening meal (we ate in two out of three evenings) served in your room or in a dining room. The owner offered a wonderful, warm, personal welcome and helpful advice. The wi-fi is free; the robes to wear are fun and a delight. The rooms are definitely antique.

I would love to recommend the Hiiragiya, but I just can’t. It is just not truly special enough.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
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Additional Information about Hiiragiya

Address: 277 Nakahakusancho, Huyacho Anekoji-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8094, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Kyoto
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Hiiragiya 4.5*
Number of rooms: 28
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hiiragiya Hotel Kyoto

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