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“Very rude owners destroy any chance this could be a great place to stay!!!”
Review of Tama Ryokan

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Tama Ryokan
Ranked #43 of 87 Hotels / Ryokan in Shinjuku
Reviewed September 4, 2011

Do not stay here if you travel to Tokyo especially if you are alone as the owners are incredibly rude to some.

After booking my room around 4 days in advance I arrived late at night from an international flight from narita as I had foreshadowed in the email. The owners had said that would be fine.

But I was treated with great disdain and as a total nuisance as one of the owners had forgot to record the bookings. The female owner was incredibly rude to me every chance she got despite my efforts to communicate in Japanese all the while she was friendly to a young couple in front of me. I asked if it was impossible to extend my stay and she said no flatly and then moments later gave a different answer to another guest within my earshot. If you are going to rent rooms out and charge by the person don't be rude to a single because you would prefer to have a couple in there that will pay more. In that instance change how much you are charging.

In a nutshell I have travelled a lot so I know mistakes are sometimes made when it comes to bookings etc. But there is no excuse for treating someone with contempt. I have also spent almost 2 years living in Japan years ago and I know this is not a typical Japanese experience. They are usually incredibly hospitable.

So save your hard earned cash to spend somewhere else as you may have to pay a bit more but you will be treated well.

Pip freebairn

  • Stayed: September 2011
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8  Thank Pippu81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TamaRyokan, Manager at Tama Ryokan, responded to this reviewResponded October 24, 2011

Here, we're accused of contemptuous and "incredibly rude" treatment. The experience supposedly proves conclusively that Tama is worthless as a place to stay, and especially if you're a solo traveler. The praise Tama Ryokan earns here from others (including solo travelers) might raise doubts in your mind about this guest's verdict. If so, read on.

Here's what's true. I failed to properly record her (last-minute) reservation. And I'm sure we didn't greet her with the appropriate enthusiasm. The evening she arrived, we'd already been working 12 hours in Tokyo's mid-summer heat. A party of 15 had left that morning, and we needed to change out almost all rooms to prepare for 6 more guests arriving the same day, plus two more the next day. In our exhaustion, we were not in top form for welcoming for this guest in the evening. This first-impression failure was no doubt compounded by my wife's exasperation with me in those rare cases where I let a reservation slip through the cracks. At such times, her displeasure with me can radiate strongly, which might be felt by some guests as coldness towards them. As it says on our website, we're a family home first, a ryokan second - disharmony happens.

For these very real problems, I have apologized to the guest. But I will never apologize for imagined slights, based on misunderstandings that are easily cleared up on the spot.

This guest's condemnation of us is based largely on one incident. She claims my wife refused to extend her stay, but then granted an extension including the same night(s) to another party who asked only a little later. This claim -- and others she makes -- trouble me on several counts:

(1) Why didn't she try to clear up this supposed injustice during her stay?

When this guest overheard another party's extension request, she also misheard, or jumped to conclusions. None of the parties staying at that time could have been asking to extend through Sep 3rd. All of their initial reservations ended on days when we had vacancies, making extensions possible for them. And some did ask. One of those conversations might have been what this guest overheard -- and misinterpreted. If this guest had confronted us, we would have been able show her our schedule, to correct her impression. Instead she has chosen to criticize us publicly, without first attempting dialogue. Please: if you have ANY problems or doubts while here, bring them to us at your first opportunity.

(2) If we were so awful to her, from the very beginning, why was she asking to extend?

What could she have been asking for, if not for more unpleasant treatment? If my wife had really been so contemptuous and rude to this guest "every chance she got," the guest should have been desperately trying to find another place, from the moment she met us.

(3) We really need the business these days -- why would we have refused her except out of necessity?

We immediately say "yes" on the spot to any extension request we know we can satisfy. We really need the money. Japan's inbound tourism has dropped a lot, starting with dramatic appreciation of the yen, then getting much worse after March 11th. We would never refuse to extend a solo traveler's stay another day or two in hopes that a larger party we'd expected would leave the next day might instead ask to extend. That just doesn't happen often enough to be worth the risk of lost opportunity.

(4) People who are "total nuisances" don't get to stay at Tama Ryokan in the first place.

To say that we treated this guest's unexpected arrival as a "total nuisance" is simply false. In our business, a "total nuisance" is someone who shows up drunk, with NO reservation, but insisting on a room anyway. If we'd really felt this guest was a "total nuisance", we wouldn't have prepared a room for her -- we would have called the police.

(5) If your English is much better than your Japanese, persistently trying to communicate with us in Japanese is rude.

This guest claims the "female owner was incredibly rude [...] every chance she got despite [...] efforts to communicate in Japanese." Here, a word is in order about speaking Japanese to the Japanese as if it were always some kind of favor.

My wife converses delightedly in Japanese with those (few) among our guests who are fluent. For others, if English is an option, it's an option she strongly prefers. This is normal. If you insist on speaking slow, broken Japanese, it WILL be taken as a self-centered imposition by Japanese people who are able to conduct such business in English -- and especially when those being burdened with pointless communication overhead are also in the midst of dealing with other customers.

We are here to try to make you comfortable in Tokyo for short stays, not to help you improve your Japanese (always a very long and uncomfortable process on both sides.) Consider an alternative: at most of Tokyo's remaining foreigner-friendly ryokans, the staff hardly speak English at all. They need guests more than we do, because they don't have the competitive advantage of high English skill to attract foreign guests and to attend smoothly to their needs. They would be only too happy to help you in Japanese. If you really want to practice on hotel staff, make a reservation at one of those places. Ask us to help you make your reservation, if you're having trouble. We'll probably do it. After all, you might return the favor someday -- by choosing to stay with us on subsequent trips to Tokyo.

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Reviewed September 2, 2011

This was the first place my husband and I stayed on our first trip to Japan. We were impressed! The woman running the ryokan is very accommodating and extremely sweet. She also has (at least) two cats that sleep in the hallways and greet you in the mornings. The room was very nicely kept and chilled perfectly with an air conditioner for the hot humid heat.

It's location in Ikebukuro, just off of a busier street, is great! Very close to the train and far enough away from the main street to stay quiet at night. It's also conveniently located next to a starbucks for early mornings!

Loved our stay here, and would definitely stay again.

Room Tip: Book the Kame (turtle) room! It is the best.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Sector7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2011

The location to Tama Ryokan is very convenient when it comes to visiting Tokyo, situated close to a Yamanote line train station and right next to a metro station entry. The staff was very helpful and the facilities in the ryokan were good. The rooms were clean and nicely decorated, even the only western style room felt like you were staying at a ryokan. There was no curfew and overall mood in the place was very quiet and relaxed.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jarno E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2011

It is really sad nobody is visiting tokyo right now, just when it is most needed. I can truly say, it is life as normal there without any changes, without any signs of damage, nothing, which makes the absence of tourists so unnecessary and so harmful to so many people. The Tama Ryokan is one such example, run by a wonderful couple who have put their back into establishing a fantastic, traditional style japanese inn, they are now suffered a non stop run of cancellations. I was their only guest while I was there. It is such a delightful establishment and to have it all to myself I felt a little spoilt, but for them, it is a real shame. It just seems so unfair because there is no reason for people not to be there and the hotel offers the world. It's very authentic, it's in a great location, close to a station, right in the heart of Tokyo so it is very easy and quick to get anywhere. It's ridiculously reasonable too, you won't find a better price unless you sleep on the street. It's also quiet, wonderfully comfortable, clean and warm, and has all the amenities you require. In my opinion it is a real treasure you keep returning to.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled solo
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3  Thank kennedy71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2011

- Firstly let me respond to the review below who accused the owner of being rude..
The march tragedy has not only affected those directly involved but made life tough for everybody in Japan who relies on tourists. This situation was created by sensationalized media reports that unnecessarily scared people. I believe It was unfair to give a bad review in this situation when the owner is only trying to give his honest opinion of the situation.

Our stay at Tama Ryokan came shortly after the tragic events that struck the tohoku region. Although apprehensive and uncertain we were comforted by the owners frank assessment of the situation. We decided to go ahead with our plans and the decision could not have been better.

Initially chosen because of its location, the guest-house is located only meters from the subway entrance accessing the Ghibli museum and Nakano Broadway. It is also a short walk from the Yamamoto line which can take you to Harajuku, Shibuya and Shinjuku.
It is about exploring the city after all.
The area around the guesthouse also provides many good and cheap eating places, the Korean BBQ across the main road was fun, and a small Tonkatsu place called Tonta is amazing and only a short walk away.

The room was large and comfortable. It did everything it needed to do.
The shower is on the first floor, but toilets are on the same level as the bedrooms.
The stairs are steep like many Japanese houses so one must be wary; this might not be the best for some people.
The Guest house is a house after all. And a level of understanding and respect is needed to appreciate the experience.

We had a fantastic time and changed our booking from another place to stay at Tama again on our final night. It was a great place to start and end our holiday in Japan.

-Jamie

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jamie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2011

Tama Ryokan is perfectly located close to the yamanote line in the nice Takadanobaba area with lots of restaurants. The place was clean and had a real traditional style of interior with lots of beautiful details such as flowers and decorations on the walls. The staff was very friendly but a bit sensitive about following all of the rules according to using a japanese style room.
The owners have 2 cats and even tho I do like pets I have to say that they were a bit noisy during the nights. Also the karaoke place next door was disturbing during friday and saturday nights. The other nights were ok tho.
The place is perfect for anyone who wants to experience a real japanese stay with tatamirooms and traditional old style lodging.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank shimaUTA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2011

Due to the radiation threat to Tokyo, my friend and I decided to cancel our trip. To any normal person, this would be an understandable decision. But when I emailed the owner to let him know I would be cancelling my reservation, he was very rude and nasty about it. He proceeded to write a long lecture about how my cancellation was inconveniencing him. And as to my sincere well wishes for him and his family to stay safe, he disregarded my good wishes and chose to be rude and condescending. Very bad experience - definitely will never stay here, nor recommend anyone to do so. Will be spreading the word about this.

  • Stayed: March 2011
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10  Thank meyueli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TamaRyokan, Manager at Tama Ryokan, responded to this reviewResponded March 21, 2011

Since this reviewer has not chosen to be anonymous, I have responded privately asking the reviewer to take a second look at e-mail from me in response to a cancellation. This e-mail was, in my view, was primarily factual, about real risks (very low), and about the real experience (hardly as bad as it's been painted in the press) of Tokyo at this difficult time for Japan. I have given the reviewer about one day to make revisions.

As you can see from my responses to other negative reviews here, I accept negative criticism when it's fair. In this case, I don't think it is.

My wife and are not being merely "inconvenienced" by sensationalized reporting of the conditions in Tokyo, during a difficult and tragic time in another part of Japan that's really pretty far from Tokyo. No, we are actually under threat of losing our business, if the exaggerated press goes on long enough, and the impression sticks for years. We were never getting rich from Tama Ryokan in the first place -- she and I live here in small quarters and we use the same shower as our guests. Destructive criticism in response to my constructive information can only make our operation even more marginal, financially.

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Additional Information about Tama Ryokan

Address: 1-25-33 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku 169-0075, Tokyo Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kanto > Tokyo Prefecture > Tokyo > Shinjuku > Shinjuku
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Shinjuku
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Shinjuku
Price Range: $57 - $105 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tama Ryokan provides basic accommodation for a reasonable price in a central Tokyo location. It is about 3 minutes walk from the Yamanote line, and literally seconds from the Tozai subway line. It is also convenient to the Internet - we have a WiFi throughout the building, and 24-hour access to one desktop computer. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tama Ryokan Hotel Shinjuku
Tama Ryokan Shinjuku, Tokyo

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