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“It All Depends On Your Perspective”
Review of Kimi Ryokan

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Kimi Ryokan
Ranked #2 of 55 Hotels / Ryokan in Toshima
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 30, 2008

I find it interesting to read the reviews for this property, which vary widely from disgust to high praise. I've spent about three years of my life staying at Kimi Ryokan, so I feel I can provide some perspective.

I believe it all comes down to expectations. I have always thought of the Kimi as an upscale hostel, and when you look at it that way it really shines. How many hostels give you a private room, have beautiful hardwood floors throughout, and have fresh flower arrangements replaced constantly.

The Common Room clinches the hostel atmosphere. At most any time of the day, you'll find fellow travelers hanging out, happy to share their stories from the road and offer advice. Kimi Ryokan caters to the overseas traveler by providing private showers instead of the more Japanese communal bathing areas.

This is just one of the many ways that Kimi is unlike a traditional ryokan. You also won't find kimono-clad women waiting on you hand and foot, nor are meals served here. If you want that kind of ryokan, go elsewhere and be prepared to pay ¥30,000 per night.

Likewise, if you value quiet and privacy, I would recommend you instead stay at a hotel. You can find inexpensive business hotels throughout Tokyo, though they will cost you a bit more than Kimi Ryokan.

Many people complained about the "rude" staff, but I believe this is a combination of the language barrier and a culture clash. Most of the Kimi's staff are students (mainly Chinese these days) at the nearby university, not professionals trained in hospitality, and often their English is not what you would experience at an international hotel.

You might also consider that this "rudeness" is giving you a glimpse into Japanese society. This behavior is no different than a Japanese would receive staying at a similarly priced business hotel. Japan's vaunted politeness rarely extends to low-price eateries and places of accommodation.

One reason I keep coming back is the location. In other countries, an area full of hookers, bars, and massage parlors would also be a dangerous place. But not in Japan. This is more like an adult Disneyland area, with probably over 500 bars and restaurants within a ten-minute walk from Kimi. Ikebukuro is also home to the largest bookstore in Japan, the two largest department stores in Japan, and the main store of Bic Camera, one of Japan's great electronics stores. Many big fancy hotels are in business areas that are completely dead at night. The area around Kimi is always lively and a fun place to come back to at the end of the day, or to pop out for a meal or a drink.

The main disadvantages of Kimi Ryokan for me are the 01:00 curfew (but much better than the 22:00 curfew at the real hostels), and the "cash only" policy. I sure wish they accepted credit cards, so I'm not always scrambling to keep enough cash on me to pay the nightly bill.

If I wanted to spend less money, I would stay in Shitamachi, where Japan's day laborers stay. If I wanted a quiet hotel room with my own toilet and bath, I'd pay more and get one. For me, Kimi is the perfect compromise and I consider it a great value. But you should know what you're getting so that you're not disappointed.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled solo
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3  Thank TokyoJimu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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312 - 318 of 456 reviews

Reviewed February 14, 2008

This is a good place to go if you don't want to spend a lot of money and want a more traditional Japanese experience. The rooms are tiny, but you get the chance to sleep on futons on tatami. I didn't like sharing a bathroom much or the lack of sound insulation in the rooms, but this ryokan is very clean, very Japanese, and very cheap.

Stayed: January 2008
Thank SanFranciscoPetunia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2008

The staff was very rude, the room smaller than we reserved (about the size of a closet), and the showers (only 2 for the whole floor) blackened with dirt and mold. The most howful experience in Tokyo !!

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2  Thank 18relo11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2007

Kimi Ryokan is a fantastic authentic Japanese Inn, its a wonderful location, the rooms and bathroom facilities are clean and in good condition. The tatami mats and futons make it a more rich and 'real' experience. I highly reccomend it!!

Sure the staff aren't all that friendly but its a fantastic place to sleep!

Stayed: October 2006
Thank Anna H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2007

I read the reviews of Kimi before going to Japan, and so - along with the very positive comments - was mindful of some of the criticisms. All I can say is that our stay at Kimi made our trip to Tokyo a real pleasure - I and my two children stayed in one of the double rooms for 10 days - the place is beautifully designed and decorated, and is kept very clean and tidy. The rooms are more than adequate, and I found the showers and bathing areas exceptionally clean. The staff were always helpful and friendly, and the cost of the room represented real value for money for our trip. None of the criticisms I read beforehand were proved right in our experience. The ambience of Kimi is informal and efficient - I have nothing but praise for it, and will definitely be staying there when I return to Japan.

  • Stayed: July 2007, traveled with family
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Thank Ferenzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2007

This little place is great value for money. It's walking distance to the JR line and its cheap and clean. The Japanese style rooms make you feel like you are in Japan. The japanese bath is relaxing and the eating area means you can pick something up from the nearby department store food section. If you want cheap but decent this is the place.

Stayed: October 2006
Thank AFJones
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2007

Kimi is inexpensive with a good central location and some friendly staff. However, some of the staff is quite rude and the shared showers are not clean. There is a constant mildew smell and I picked up a case of athlete's foot after three days. I won't go back there.

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1  Thank japanexpert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kimi Ryokan

Address: 2-36-8 Ikebukuro, Toshima 171-0014, Tokyo Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kanto > Tokyo Prefecture > Tokyo > Toshima > Ikebukuro
Hotel Style:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Toshima
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Toshima
Price Range: $56 - $149 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 38
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Also Known As:
Kimi Ryokan Hotel Toshima
Kimi Ryokan Tokyo, Japan

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