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“Experience vs. Value” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tawaraya Ryokan

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Tawaraya Ryokan
2.0 of 5
Ryokan
  |   278 Nakahakusancho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8094, Kyoto Prefecture   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #50 of 342 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, CA
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
44 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
146 helpful votes 146 helpful votes
“Experience vs. Value”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013 via mobile

First off, this was an amazing experience. I wavered between giving 4 or 5 stars and ended up giving 4, simply because:

We had never been to a ryokan before and decided to go with what was deemed the "best" in Kyoto. I'm guessing that there are others that, while not on par in terms of the food/service, are better value. Sort of the reason we're 4-star hotel people in most cases vs. 5-star. There usually isn't enough of a difference to justify multiples of price.

A reason that didn't entirely have to do with the Ryokan, but factors in to the pricing/value, was that we unfortunately only had 2 nights in Kyoto (one at Tawaraya and one at the Westin). And once you're at Tawaraya, you want to stay. Mainly because of the excellent service and food, but also because, well, you're paying so much for the experience, you feel almost obligated to put on your yakatas and simply hang out! Had we stayed in a less expensive ryokan, we probably wouldn't had felt as guilty about going out and exploring more of Kyoto.

With that all said, the food was amazing, and service impeccable. We were there in December, so couldn't enjoy the outdoor garden area, but the wooden tub experience was amazing ...

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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101 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (4)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Indonesian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

From the moment you enter the Tawaraya Ryokan you are immediately transported into a traditional Japanese oasis. We were greeted by the ever polite and humble staff with warm down slippers and served tea in the waiting room whilst our rooms were made ready. Our luggage was whisked upstairs by a tiny older japanese man before we could assist him. The room was a delight with small sitting nooks with heated floors, traditional japanese floor mats, and beautiful cushions and mats to sit on at a low table with a view over an exquisite japanese garden. We were served home made sweet rice crackers and rose tea as we took in the exquisite surroundings. The wooden tub filled with steaming hot water was welcome at the end of a long day. The finishing touches to the room were the hand detailed tissue boxes, sewing kits, tabi socks, japanese robes in the cupboard, fluffy towels and lovely toiletries, as well as fragranced sacks attached to the coat hangers in the cupboard. When we returned from our dinner, our luxurious futons were laid out with their marshmallow soft duvets and pillows, a small Tiffany clock and lamp placed beside them. In the morning we were woken to be served freshly squeezed orange juice and green tea, then served a unique japanese breakfast all beautifully presented. The inn is a special and unique experience of japanese culture and history and is highly recommended.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 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 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Antibes
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

We were invited by our good Japanese friends to share their favourite Ryokan in Kyoto. This was saved for our last night in the city and was certainly a cultural experience. To be clear, this is a very elitist experience! You are greeted and waited on hand and foot. We had a large suite with a private garden to look out on. We had a massage in our room, provided by two expert elderly ladies. We joined our friends in their suite for a private dinner. We were all properly dressed in kimonos with warm Japanese jackets. We were served by one young lady with various others assisting her as necessary. The entire multi-course meal was served by this young lady arriving each time on her knees. The supply of saki was non-stop! We returned to our room were futons had been prepared and we slept soundly!

In the morning we were served an excellent European breakfast in our room with newspapers etc. there is also good WiFi along with the original antique artwork.

It was a very special experience but be aware, this is very expensive and you also have to be a bit prepared for the extreme level of service which some might find too subservient by today's standards - but of course, that is the whole point, this is a cultural and historic monument!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Muscat, Oman
Senior Contributor
46 reviews 46 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2012

Tawaraya is one of those special places that you encounter so rarely that it makes you go home and tell everyone about what you just experienced. It's the kind of place that transports you to a different time and place and allows you to experience a life very few have. Tawaraya is a perfection in Japanese hospitality and minimalist Japanese design. Tawaraya should be in everyone's bucket list.

Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

Staying at Tawaraya is a unique and highly valued expereince, providing one with the delights of enjoying pure Japanese culture in luxury. The owners have tastefully inegrated modern necessities, like toilets, to indulge the traveler in comfort and ease. The attentiveness of the staff is something that cannot be bought. Although Tawaraya is very expensive, the genuine smiles and the kind of service offered is beyond excpetional. The staff noticed one of our party was limping a bit and hot compresses showed up at her door a few minutes later. Another day one of our party came back to Tawaraya and mentioned something about being a little hungry. Some delecious cookies and tea came to their room. I could go on about the service, how they really want to please, how they are so efficent, kind, thoughtful, kind of like staying with an ideal relative. The food is delecious, the japanese soaking tub, the garden outside your room, the linen sheets on the silk stuffed futons, the service, the great breakfast, the silence and good feeling in the room. Tawaraya is an expereince we will always cherish. We feel very fortunate the same family has taken such good care of this extraorindary luxury inn for 300 years.

  • Stayed August 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 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
geneva
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2012 via mobile

I had previously stayed at a modern Ryokan, so was looking forward to visiting this old one... But actually preferred the new Ryokan for comfort and space.

Food was good and excessive, service very sweet but with limited English.

Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kyoto, Japan
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012 via mobile

Stayed in a 1st floor room. Important because they have private gardens. Room was spacious with a delightful soaking tub that looked out onto the garden. Staff was attentive. Meals appeared precisely on time. Enjoyed a kaiseki dinner, Japanese and western breakfasts in the room. We enjoyed a delightful tempura dinner at a separate restaurant owned by the Inn and were escorted there by an Inn staff member, as it was a couple of blocks away. There were no real negatives. This is a historic property and challenging for tall westerners and there are few English speakers among the staff. Nonetheless, it is a far more genuine experience than one would encounter at western style hotels in Kyoto.

Stayed April 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tawaraya Ryokan

Address: 278 Nakahakusancho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8094, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
#29 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:2 star — Tawaraya Ryokan 2*
Number of rooms: 18
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Tawaraya Ryokan Hotel Kyoto

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