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“Excellent guesthouse near to Nara center”

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Guesthouse Sakuraya
Ranked #1 of 36 Specialty lodging in Nara
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Excellent guesthouse near to Nara center”
Reviewed September 6, 2012

You can't go wrong with Guesthouse Sakuraya. The owner, Kayoko, has painstakingly restored the 150 year old house, and the result is beautiful rooms with modern conveniences. Bathrooms are separate (and Western style), but with two showers shared by three rooms, I never had to wait. Japanese style breakfasts are terrific (while i was there Kayoko made miso soup, grilled salmon, rice, pickles and a variety of fresh vegetables).

Only downside... with only three rooms she fills up fast, so make sure to book in advance!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
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Helpful?
1 Thank drSF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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160 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (33)
Date | Rating
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English first
michigan
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed August 20, 2012

I chose this guesthouse based on a Lonely Planet recommendation. I could not have been happier with the choice.

While it was just a bit tricky to find on foot from the train station, I somehow managed to stumble across it. It's located on a narrow side street, and the streets in Nara are not generally well-marked. It is very near a covered arcade full of shops and restaurants, and within decent walking distance of all Nara's main sights. Once I found it,the exterior of the guesthouse looked warm and inviting, which only indicated what was inside. I arrived too early and found the staff still cleaning. In typical Japanese fashion, they dropped everything and went out of their way to make me feel welcomed and comfortable. The first night, I had the lovely room beside the courtyard garden. Sliding screen doors, tatami, the pretty garden, and simple artistic touches all gave the room a very pleasant atmosphere. The second night, I had a smaller interior room. This room didn't have the same charm as the other, but there was nothing really to complain about. The rooms are extremely simple and basic, and you sleep on a futon on the tatami mats, but this is the traditional Japanese style and should be expected. Each room has AC if it's too hot. The whole house has a very relaxed, quite, peaceful ambience.

But for all that, the absolute highlight of the place was the owner, Kayoko, an extremely friendly and generous person. She kept me well-fed with snacks, beverages, and simple but filling breakfasts. She is well-traveled, speaks excellent English, and understands what many foreigners are looking for in a guesthouse experience. She was enjoyable to talk with, accommodated my schedule, and gave me very helpful information about sight-seeing. I wanted to do some hikes further afield that aren't usually on tourists' itineraries, and she found train info and maps to help me out. When she found out that I was going to be volunteering in Tohoku to help with tsunami relief, she humbled me with a very generous discount on my stay.

This was, without exaggeration, one of the best places I've ever stayed!

Room Tip: The Hana room beside the garden is the best room in the house.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank eigerdreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
tel aviv
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2012

We spent a night in Sakuraya guest house, which is a traditional ryokan type hotel. It is beautifully decorated, very clean, quiet and comfortable. The location is fantastic and you can reach everywhere by foot and breakfast, which is included is the best we had in Japan. I am vegetarian and food was a very big problem for me while traveling in Japan. When we arrived at this guesthouse, Kayoko the owner (who speaks good English - not obvious in Japan!) took us with open arms, gave us all the information, helped us planning the next few days and offered each one a breakfast to their own taste. It realy felt like home and not like a guesthouse.
Nara is a really nice place, so i recommend to order a room in Sakuraya guesthouse on advance and stay a night/two

Room Tip: We stayed in Hana romm, which approaches the garden, it was clean and wide, very nice!
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank shimrit z
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2012

An amazing guesthouse in a lovely neighborhood of old Nara. My girlfriend and I stayed two nights in the 'kaze' room which was wonderful and looked out over a beautiful Japanese garden. We choose the 'kaze' room because we wanted our own attached bathroom, but the shared bathrooms downstairs were very nice and private - we would have been happy and relaxed in any of the rooms. Everything was spotlessly clean and there was a lot attention to little details that just added to the experience. The guesthouse is in a quiet neighborhood but very conveniently located - just a few minutes from Nara park. The guesthouse on its own is wonderful but what really made it special was the proprietor, Kayoko-san. She was the most gracious host - greeting us whenever we came in with cups of tea, a friendly smile and good conversation. She also gave us and lots and lots of great help with places to see/eat etc...Additionally, her home cooked traditional Japanese breakfast was absolutely delicious. I've never stayed somewhere where I was shown such hospitality and generosity (above and beyond, even for Japan). I can't recommend Guesthouse Sakuraya highly enough. Thank you Kayoko-san!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank blueprintsf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 12, 2012

If you are travelling to Nara you must stay here! It really made our holiday.

Kayoko-san was a lovely host. She cooked delicious Japanese and Western breakfasts for us and was so helpful directing us to great places to eat and attractions to see as well as particular shops we wanted to find.

The 100 year old Ryokan itself was beautiful with a lovely little Japanese garden in the centre and three tatami mat rooms with a shared bathroom that did not feel shared at all. It too was beautifully decorated and had two shower rooms with lockable doors opening into a room with sinks and mirrors. There was a separate toilet and the upstairs room had its own small toilet off the covered balcony (which has a proper Japanese name that momentarily escapes me...)

The guesthouse is a ten minute walk from the Kintetsu Nara train station where we got off the airport limosine bus. Kayoko-san greeted us so warmly when we arrived and when we left it was sad to say goodbye. We kept turning around to wave goodbye as we walked down the street back to the train station.

Would definately stay there again!

Room Tip: If you have trouble with stairs don't choose the upstairs room as the stairs are very steep. My...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank axmmelb12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 10, 2012

Not only is Guesthouse Sakuraya a beautiful place to stay, with its courtyard garden, guestroom with balcony, and exquisite details throughout, but Kayoko provided service that went above and beyond all expectations. My husband, 1.5 year old daughter, and good Japanese friend stayed just one night here at the end of April, but had an amazing experience. Kayoko greeted us with open arms. She provided a special Pooh futon for our little one and cooked her favorite eggs for breakfast. She recommended a great local restaurant that we all enjoyed, and even drove us to the train station in her van when she feared we might be cutting it too short to catch our train. I only wished we had spent longer in Nara so we could have extended this experience.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jannekens
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed May 27, 2012

We stayed 2 nights in Guesthouse Sakuraya in Nov 2011 with our 8 year old daughter. The guesthouse was a perfect place to experience real Japanese hospitality. We stayed in a room on the second level with an attached toilet. It was huge and lovely. The dining area on the first floor overlooks a lovely garden at the courtyard. Kayoko is an amazing host with great culinary skill. Her breakfast was delicious and she enjoys chatting with her guests. She treated us with such warmth and generosity, serving us persimmon, tea, coffee, Japanese snacks etc. On our departure day, she even gave my daughter a momento of Nara deer to remember Nara by!

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Travelene3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Guesthouse Sakuraya

Property: Guesthouse Sakuraya
Address: 1 Narukawacho, Nara 630-8335, Nara Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Nara Prefecture > Nara
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 36 Specialty lodging in Nara
Number of rooms: 3
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The traditional background of the Sakuraya guesthouse will the make you discover the ancient Japanese customs. We will welcome you in a friendly and familial atmosphere for everyone who loves Japanese habits. You will also appreciate our beautiful Japanese rooms and sleep on a real futon. You will have the pleasure to savour a Japanese breakfast. The showers and the bathrooms have been completely renovated and now they have a wonderful modern style. ... more   less 

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