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“Enjoyable, and worth the splurge” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tamahan

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Tamahan
Ryokan
  |   477 Gion Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0825, Kyoto Prefecture   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #59 of 342 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Arlington, VA
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Enjoyable, and worth the splurge”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

This was my first experience at a ryokan and I would definitely go back. To me it was the experience of ultimate lux. The room was sizeable, spotless, and opened up to a little garden. I kept the doors open until it was dark to have the fresh air come in and did not feel disturbed by neighbors across the way. This ryokan may have a base expense that is higher than others, but unlike other inns you don't have to choose to add on dinner or breakfast; the meals are included. While I was expecting small portions of food, the dinner and breakfast that I received was ample and filling. It is served with your choice of hot green tea, cold green tea, water, as well as, a roasted tea during some portion of the meals. You can also add on other drinks. As many have said, it is traditional Japanese--high quality, excellently prepared and expertly served. It was pescatarian from end to end though I understand that if you spend multiple nights, they diversify the options for dinner. Unlike some other reviewers on this list, I was very impressed with the level of English that was spoken by those in service at the ryokan. They spoke English by default and were able to give me clear, concise, and accurate answers to all of my responses. The other special part of this place is that it's located on the most famous street in Gion. One can only imagine the entertainment in those wood-paneled homes; most non-Japanese are not let in. But the inn's location ensures you very easy access to the area temples, Gion's boutique shops, and lovely walking spots.

The private bathroom and deep wooden bath are lovely There are plenty of toiletries and other amenities if you need them. You provide a yakuta, or traditional Japanese robe, for you to lounge. In my case, they also arranged for a same day massage service. It's shiatsu, so not for everyone, but just what the doctor ordered. There is no onsen like some other ryokans, but the relaxation factor is still amazing.

This is a nice escape, even though you are in the heart of some of the most wonderful places within Kyoto.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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52 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    29
    13
    6
    2
    2
See reviews for
10
24
6
2
Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013

Assuming you have researched the whole Ryokan experience before you book one, and you like the idea of living on the floor with very little furniture at conventional height, and you are content with minimal western niceties, then keep reading.

We visited cherry blossom season in Kyoto in April 2013 and stayed at the Tamahan for 5 nights in one of their largest suites. The suite comprises 2 adjoining rooms divided by a moveable partition, futon mattresses for beds, a TV (but only japanese language - no satellite) and a small fridge. The suite has access to a garden in the quadrangle which is small but pretty. The bathroom comprises separate toilet, wash basin and floor-seated shower and hot water tub into which you sit as you might in a small wooden box.

Dinner (if you have pre-booked it) was served on 2 nights consisting of gourmet Japanese food in about 5 courses. Drinks are extra.

Well , so much for the factual side. The ''experience'' of a Ryokan was a first for us. It is not a good idea if you suffer from back pains or arthritis or stiff joints because everything happens on the floor, including eating, sleeping and showering. If you are reasonably fit, it's fine. The quality of Tamahan, and its location, is absolutely superb in a minimalist sense. It is clean, simple, comfortable and highest quality Food (but be prepared for classical Japanese gourmet which is quite different from Western Jpanese). However, it is extremely expensive (about £800 per night for our suite), nobody speaks English (which is a problem if you needed a doctor or pharmacy in the night), and the service is efficient but not friendly.

Should you stay in a 5star hotel instead? The answer depends on whether you want to immerse yourself in the Japanese cultural experience or not. If yes, then Tamahan is a very good choice providing you are fit and self-sufficient. You will pay a huge premium for cherry blossom season but Tamahan is in the old part of the city so it's conveniently walkable to some of the main parks and temples.

Room Tip: The 2 room suite is excellent for 2 companions who dont want to sleep in the same room
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

If there is one thing great about this ryokan is its close proximity to some really nice tourists spots like the kiyomizudera temple. So pretty ESP during cherry blossoms. If you're that fussed about the place you stay whilst on holidays as you are out and about exploring places then this is the place for you.

  • Stayed April 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Bonn, Germany
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2013

I have just had two nights staying at the beautiful Tamahan Ryokan in Kyoto. I cannot recommend it highly enough - it was superb. The location is amazing, step out of the door and back in time in the gorgeous Gion district of Kyoto. I also have to make special mention of the kaiseki food served at Tamahan - beauty and food on a plate - each meal was sublime. I look forward to my next stay.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled solo
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

The proprietor of this ryokan was lovely, very welcoming and accomodating, and a pleasure to deal with, despite our communication barriers. Fantastic location in Gion, close to temples and beautiful streets dotted with quaint inns, taverns and gift shops. Room itself was spread over several rooms, with a separate room for sleeping, and one for eating. Had a lovely view over the garden. Bathroom great with traditional wooden bathtub which was a highlight. Immaculately clean. Also air-conditioned which was welcomed given the humidity and heat. The kaseiki meal was interesting, certainly challenged my conservative Western palate, and was nice having the different foods explained. Certainly enjoyed being able to eat in my own room as I was traveling alone at this stage. The only drawback, not having anywhere to really relax after a long day walking and sight-seeing. I felt the futon was great for sleeping but not so good if you wanted to spend an hour reading or watching tv. Nonetheless, an authentic experience that I will always remember and glad to have undertaken. Price is a little on the expensive side, but felt it was worth it given the personal attention, food, and overall ambience..

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2013 via mobile

I recently stayed at Tamahan for 5 nights during cherry blossom season. It was my second visit and it completely lived up to expectation. The room was clean and spacious with everything I needed. The food was sensational and I felt well cared for. I can't wait to go back.

Stayed April 2013, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Top Contributor
231 reviews 231 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
127 helpful votes 127 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

The moment we enter Tamahan, it's like step into a forgotten time, a small ryokan with only 10 rooms, has a small garden, a Cherry blossom tree is in full bloom, we were at Kisaragi room on ground floor, open screen door, walk out to the garden, small but well kept with many plants, a small table with two chairs by the window, drinking tea in the morning, just let the world goes by, no coffee were serve, so if you are a coffee drinker, bring your own, hot water and cold water are available in the room at all time, we had Japanese style breakfast and Kaiseki dinner both nights, many small dishes, delicious taste and beautiful to look at,before each dishes serve, she would carefully explain of each in Japanese, we don't understand Japanese, so are not very sure what she's talking about, this kind of personal service touch they try to provide you in every way,
the location of Tamahan is in Ishibe Alley, it has a front and back entrance, one close at 10pm the other is open at all time, 10 minutes walk to Gion, 10 minutes walk to Kiyomizu Temple, 5 minutes walk to Kodai-Ji Temple, many taxi and rickshaws available near this temple, rickshaw to Silver Palace for one person is 2000 Yen, two person is 3000 Yen, Taxi start at 640 Yen and black taxi is special for tourist, speak some English, start at 660 Yen, of course there are many other Ryokan around this area, I am in no way to compare of each, we are very satsfy for stay in Tamahan for it's service and location, would return in future when come to Kyoto again, one suggestion, unless you understand Japanese, a picture of attractions to show to drivers would be very helpful, , a note to show to taxi driver, when we stay at Rhiga Royal Hotel, he ask me if I want to go to Kyoto Station? then I said hotel, very easy to get lost in translation, Japanese people are friendly and helpful, we were here for a week, English has no much use here.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tamahan

Address: 477 Gion Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0825, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Hotel Style:
#19 Romantic Hotel in Kyoto
#35 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 10
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Tamahan Hotel Kyoto

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