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“Spoiled by this experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Ryokan Tanabe

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Ryokan Tanabe
Ranked #4 of 173 Hotels / Ryokan in Takayama
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, CA
Level Contributor
82 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 307 helpful votes
“Spoiled by this experience”
Reviewed March 6, 2013

I made the reservations directly via their website and Mrs. Tanabe was very kind and reassuring with her email confirmation.

This was our first trip to Japan and I wasn't sure if my family can adjust to traditional hotels, so I only booked one night at the start of our trip.

To say that the lodging and the food exceeded my expectation is an understatement.

We stayed at a newer wing, with an en-suite cedar bath - my teenager was too shy to go into the communal onsen. The room was very simple, elegant and clean. Upon arrival, as in the custom, we were served tea and cookies.

We opted for full board, and was served the dinner at another room in an older wing - I think it's off season so they can do that. The dinner was multi-course, beautiful presentation, tasty and way way too much food (good thing we were already close to the floor!). Some dish was more interesting than others. They served us the famous Hida beef in a shabu and it was very good, but you have to be a bit adventurous - they also served us a snail dish which I liked but some may find it strange.

After dinner the staff came by and made up the room with futon and bedding. As it was winter the extra fluffy down comforter was really nice. I didn't find the futon too hard but the buckwheat pillow really presented a challenge. Personally I love a cold room and warm bedding when it's cold out, so this is just up my alley.

The communal onsen was very nice and as it was low seaon we didn't encounter anyone else. For the ladies' there's a large indoor section with very hot water, and 2 smaller 1 person tub outside (cooler water). As our bathroom also has a cedar bath we had to try it out as well (especially the next morning as it was still really cold and it's nice to warm up that way).

Breakfast next day was pretty simple but good. We had the Hoba miso (miso on Magnolia leaf), small piece of grilled fish, rice, pickles and a salad. We couldn't stop marveling over how something so simple as miso can be so incredibly good. Needless to say we stockpiled on the miso afterwards when we went shopping at the farmer's market and assorted stores.

We had an hour to kill before boarding the train to Kyoto so we hang out at the lobby and enjoyed a cup of coffee at Mrs. Tanabe's insistance.

Takayama and Ryokan Tanabe was the highlight of our Japan trip and unfortunately no other lodging or dining experiences at Kyoto, Osaka or Tokyo compared.

Room Tip: New wing - it's worth the spurge.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank stella t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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452 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Greek first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Rio de Janeiro, RJ
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
Reviewed February 22, 2013

i liked everything in Tanabe Ryokan begining with Mrs. Akiko Tanabe, the owner. She is a very friendly japanese woman that runs the Hotel and that made me a lot a good recomendations. Staying in a Ryokan is a experience you must take when travelling to Japan and Tanabe Ryokan is great choice! the food was wonderful and the staff was very friendly and work with a smile in their faces.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Takashi_Brasil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
35 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2013

I chose Tanabe after the ryokan I originally chose were particularly unhelpful when I tried to make a booking. As our visit was during the town's famous autumn festival, I was keen to make a reservation sooner rather than later. Mrs Tanabe's response to my query was full of warmth and reassurance and when I spoke to her on the phone to confirm our booking, I knew I'd chosen the right place for our first ryokan stay in Japan. Our room, in the modern annex, was large and comfortable and we loved the en suite bathroom with deep wooden bathtub and shower. All the staff were incredibly friendly. The only reason I haven't given 5 stars is that our kaiseki dinner, whilst delicious, was all served at once rather than the more traditional course-by-course approach which we experienced elsewhere and made the meal more of a special occasion. That said, it was excellent quality, as was the traditional Japanese breakfast, also served in the room. Location is excellent, very close to the old centre, just a few moment's walk to the morning markets, and the preserved old town district.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
1 Thank kavey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
94 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
Reviewed January 22, 2013

Staying at Tanabe Ryokan was an excellent experience.

Mrs Tanabe is very friendly and very helpful.

The food was awesome.

We booked thru Japanican, which worked well.

A great location close to the main attractions of Takayama,

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Andrew M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Aust
Level Contributor
175 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed January 17, 2013

This wasn't my first experience of a ryokan, but it was for my family and they loved it! There was a bit of anxiety about sleeping on the floor and eating a Japanese breakfast but it really lets you know you're somewhere different in the world.

The host here is wonderful and can assist you with any enquiries about where to go and what to do. The staff are the epitome of Japanese hospitality and will do everything they can to make your stay enjoyable (though most don't speak English).

My parents are both in their seventies, so getting up and down is not so simple anymore, but they coped really well. They were given small chairs to sit on at breakfast (instead of sitting on a cushion) and my dad was able to get a different type of pillow for his neck (the pillows here are those buckwheat pillows, so bring a travel pillow if you have issues). My husband also found the feather-filled quilts too hot, so was able to substitute them for blankets.

We only ate breakfast here and had dinner at restaurants recommended by the host. One tempura restaurant around the corner was fantastic. It only seats about 10 people and you won't get a better meal!

There is a espresso machine in the foyer of this ryokan, but it is not very strong. It will get you out of trouble if you need a coffee to start your day, but you may have to go around the corner to Soeur Cafe, a no-smoking cafe! Other cafes in Takayama allow smoking.

The onsen it really a treat. I had to convince my husband to try it and he was in heaven! You have to follow the strict bath etiquette (wash before you get in, etc.) but if this is your only chance to try a Japanese hot bath, you must! One bath is hotter than the other and they change on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day, so check the signs before walking in. Strictly segregated, one for men, one for women, it's a lovely way to end a day of walking, especially in winter.

And yes, it is expensive to stay here, but you're on holidays and you may never be back this way again.

Room Tip: Stay in the new wing. No matter where your room is, you will get street noise, but aim for the back...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank TheWard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Level Contributor
24 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed December 5, 2012 via mobile

This is part 1 of our family's 12 days trip to Takayama-Kyoto-Osaka.

Plenty had already been mentioned in previous reviews about this great Ryokan. We were fascinated with the level of service and attention showered on us and would definitely return to stay at this ryokan.

The daily breakfast with the pickles and fermented beans on leaf over a stove will make sure you'll be asking for second helpings. We were not sure if we were supposed to put the fish in the grill as well as it was cold.

The 3 adults had their kaiseki dinner for our 4 nites stay. The food preparation & taste were great, but variety wise, they seemed to repeat or did some recombination on the 3 dinner onwards. The biggest complaint (from my 3 girls): they had 4 nites of the same kids meal of tempura & katsu with rice. They had to hijack our sashimi.

Recommendation: if you are planning more than 2-3 nites, go try out the neighboring restaurants on one of the nites.

They have rooms in the old & new wing. We would definitely request to be put in the new wing next time. The rooms in the old wing are more accessible & nearer to the onsen, but the new ones seems more comfortable :)

We spent 4 nights here, which some might argue is an overkill. But we used Takayama as our based to the following attractions, which is only a bus ride away
- Shin-hotaka Ropeway
- Kamikochi - currently closed for winter (16 Nov onwards)
- Shirakawa-go (which we missed due to heavy rain)

The morning markets are a must and remember to pick up the seasonal fruits to try. The Hida beef (as a sushi snack or bbq lunch) is also a definite MUST!

  • Stayed November 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank ArthurC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Level Contributor
9 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed November 27, 2012

This was our first time staying in a Ryokan, and it was wonderful to experience. We loved the staff and thought they were so cute and lovey. The accommodation is interesting - very nice, although abit tired and dated, it would be nice if they spruced up the bathrooms and did some maintenance on the chips in the wood and repainted areas that needed them. We had a beautiful view onto a courtyard. We had dinner two nights and it was a large spread, although not as tasty as I was hoping it would be, however extremely interesting to experience traditional Japanese hospitality. The onsen was wonderful and relaxing and it was great to come into the warmth of the rooms from the cold.
I think if I were to do it again I would stay one night for the experience. But can't praise the staff more highly. I would also recommend to have traditional Japanese breakfast at least once, just for the experience.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JenGWells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ryokan Tanabe

Property: Ryokan Tanabe
Address: 58 Aioi-cho, Takayama 506-0014, Gifu Prefecture
Location: Japan > Chubu > Gifu Prefecture > Takayama > Hidatakayama Onsen
Hotel Style:
#2 Luxury Hotel in Takayama
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Takayama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ryokan Tanabe 4*
Number of rooms: 20
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Tanabe Ryokan Hotel Takayama

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