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“Great service and food!”
Review of Shiraume

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Shiraume
Ranked #1 of 369 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Hilversum
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great service and food!”
Reviewed September 25, 2012

Shiraume is a charming ryokan, right in the old geisha district of Kyoto. There is a little river that runs right by it, and old cobblestone streets lead to it. It is surrounded by beautiful old wooden houses. Our family stayed there for two nights, and we all absolutely loved it! Our two daughters loved the kimono's we got to put on, and the toe socks provided were a constant source of amusement. One night we had the traditional kaiseki dinner in our room. Each course was beautiful and delicious, and had obviously been prepared with a lot of effort and eye for detail. The breakfast was served in our rooms as well, and both the japanese and western versions were delicious and beautifully served and presented. The rooms we had were beautifully furnished, we had the family apartment, which consist of two rooms which get turned into bedrooms at night, a large bathroom with a large cypress bath, a separate toilet, and all facilities you could ask for, like wifi, flatscreen tv, robes and pyamas provided. You can also book the ryokans cypress bathroom with extra large bath. You can enjoy that with two people to get a real feel for the traditional japanese bath ritual. Tomoko explained to us how to do this, and my daughter was delighted with it, she felt like a real japanese girl! The owner Tomoko clearly loves what she does: she is so welcoming, and she made us feel like we were the only guests staying at the ryokan. When you do go visit Kyoto, try and stay at Shiraume, it will give a you impression of japanese culture and cuisine!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Karen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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418 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (73)
Date | Rating
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English first
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2012

Shiraume is an absolutely amazing ryokan, it was by far the best night we had our entire trip in Japan. Everything was perfect!

We stayed in the Umekoyomi room with a beautiful view of the river. To reach our room we were escorted through tiny hallways and secret gardens, they actually gave us a map. The room consisted of one tiny welcoming room, a bathroom with a room for the toilet and another for the wooden bath, then one large main room. The view of the river was surreal, everything just looked like it was out of a movie. While you could sometimes hear people outside ( probably admiring how beautiful Shiraume was ) it wasn't that bad, from time to time we could actually hear geishas that were upstairs playing a shamisen!

We choose to take our kaiseki dinner in our room. It was the most delicious and authentic food we had during our trip. Every dish that came out was literally some of the most beautiful food I have ever seen, you could tell so much care and detail was placed into everything.

After our dinner and a walk around the area we booked one of the shared wooden baths, it was an experience that you shouldn't miss if you stay here. When we were finished our room had been cleared and our super comfy beds had been set up for us.

The next morning we choose to eat a traditional Japanese breakfast in the dining area. The breakfast was delicious and huge which was really nice for the action packed day we had planned. The dining room also overlooked the river but had a privacy panel that blocked views from the foot traffic outside.

I think what really helped make this the best experience was the staff was super friendly and the owner went out of her way to make us feel comfortable, it felt as if we were the only people staying there. I couldn't thank her enough for the experience, I wish I could go back right now!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Frosterra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2012

This is everything you expect from a traditional Japanese Ryokan and more. From the moment you catch sight of the "ume" plum flower flags adorning the outside of the ryokan and walk over the bridge and small stream, you enter another world of Japanese zen. Shiraume is nestled in Gion, in the prettiest area. Often, we saw tourists stopping to take pictures of the outside of the ryokan; it is that beautiful. We regularly saw cranes fishing in the small stream there and flying past our window.

We were greeted by the owner and fresh juice to register. She gave us information about the local area, which she marked with our own areas of interest. At all times we felt more like extended family than tourists and that our stay was tailored perfectly to us. There is a real sense that this is a family run business and that we were being welcomed into a warm home, with the usual Japanese reverence and warmth. We stayed in the Umemi garden room and had our own wash area and toilet and a lovely room covered in tatami mats and overlooking the garden, which contained a small water feature and lantern. The room was well equipped with a tv, air conditioning, alarm clock torches, cold iced tea, snacks, drinks and even a portable mosquito repelling device. We even had traditional Japanese kimonos and socks to wear, which were laundered each day. It was so much fun changing slippers and using the sliding doors. Despite all the tradition, we had access to free wi-fi, a DVD player, computer if required and a small flat-screen Sony Bravia TV.

Between 3.30 and 9.30pm there was free saki, beer and snacks in the library.

The communal bath area was great and very traditional Japanese. There are actually about 3 of these rooms, I think. The rooms appeared to always be ready to use in the morning and we didn't see other guests trying to use the one that we were using; they must have either been up at different times or had different bathrooms to use completely. We chose to bathe separately, but there is space for two people to bathe in each room, if required. There are 2 showers, with little wooden stools, and a full complement of shampoo, conditioner and body wash. After you are fully clean, you may then go for a relaxing dip in the bath. The cypress wood bath was deep and full of hot spring water. If you want to bathe at other times of the day (we did after a morning seeing temples in the 38 degree heat!), then you do have to ask one of the staff so they can take the lids off the spring water bath and get it ready for you. This only appeared to require 5 minutes notice and the room would be ready, complete with full, hot, spring water bath, bubbling away.

We were given the option of having a western style or japanese breakfast and were able to choose what time to have this and whether we wanted it in our room or in the larger and beautiful breakfast room. We opted for the traditional Japanese breakfast, (in our own room the first day and in the communal breakfast room on the subsequent days), and it was always stunning. We had several types of traditional food dor breakfast each day, which included: boiled tofu with bennito flakes and ginger, baby mackerel, salmon from Hokkaido, miso soaked cod, omelette, miso soup, pickles and super sour pickled plums. Followed by fresh fruit. We could have eaten those breakfasts for every meal. The owner of the ryokan explained what each aspect of the meal was and its origins in Japanese tradition, sometimes accompanied by interesting anecdotes which gave a great insight into Japanese culture.

It was a very special experience, and we would recommend it to anyone. I think travelling to Japan without this experience would be a complete travesty. Having a break in Kyoto after an initial week in Tokyo also worked well; a nice change in pace and lots of great places to see.

I wish I was back there now...

Make sure you have directions in Japanese to give the taxi driver (we showed ours the Japanese address on our smartphones). The approximate 10minute taxi ride to the main station was 1200Yen.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank Jewels95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2012

I stayed at the Shiraume for 3 nights and it was absolutely great! I came to Kyoto from Tokyo and the Shiraume and the Gion district blew my mind. I came down with a tolerable bout of Tonsillitis in Tokyo and it got worst when i was in Kyoto but Tomoko quickly arranged for me to go to the nearest hospital and wrote out my clinical history in Japanese so that the Doctors understood and provided a business card so that if i wanted to get a taxi back, the driver would know where to go. It put my mind at ease knowing that while i was at the Shiraume i was in good care despite being ill! A pot of green tea was always provided as well as a special tea that had lemon and honey in it to help with my sore throat. My last day there i felt well enough to walk around Kyoto and spent most of my time on the Philosophers Walk that Tomoko showed me on a map when i got there.

It's perfectly located with a nearby subway station as well as being in the famous Gion District of Kyoto. I managed to walk to Kiyomizu Temple and it was only a short walk and the Silver Pavillion was a 10-15 minute drive by taxi. Walking back to Shiraume didn't take long at all! The breakfast was outstanding and the dinner i had on the first night was absolutely sublime and i highly recommend it. The room was great and as i was travelling solo, the space was more than enough. I'd definitely go back and currently in the process of convincing my parents to go!

All in all despite being sick overseas, a thousand kilometers from my comfort zone that is home, Shiraume made me feel close to my comfort zone with their outstanding care and hospitality!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank JonoAbdi2904
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

We stayed at Shiraume for one night with another couple. Initially we were all going to share one room, but due to the late checkout of another guest, Tomoko-san graciously offered to give each couple our own room. In addition to being a beautiful ryokan, the hospitality was amazing. Don't pass up on the kaiseki dinner. The kobe beef is out of this world! We tried all food options, and none were less than incredible. Every dish looked like a work of art. Tomoko-san also had lovely stories and history to share with each dish. An enchanting place to stay even for just one night.

Thank you again for a lovely experience!

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank eeria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hedge End, England
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 27, 2012

Tomoko, our hostess and landlady of this incredible Japanese traditional B&B made it magical ! It was our special treat of our Japan trip and worth every penny. We had the two room suite for our family of four which included two extra small rooms + two bathrooms. It basically was the whole upstairs accommodation to ourselves. Everything was immaculate and aesthetically wonderful for all the senses. We would love to return !!

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Travellerpqa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tacoma, Washington
Level Contributor
242 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed July 8, 2012

We stayed just the one night- July 1- our one splurge on a budget - and it was marvelous. Loved everything about the experience- especially the bath and after-dinner massage. I had the kobe beef and my son had the traditional dinner. These were identical except for the one course. There is so much seafood in all the other courses (too much for fish-loathing me) that I recommend the beef- it was exceptional. I talked my son into the Western breakfast, as I was getting mightily tired of rice, and he agreed. It was terrific also. This stay was a trip highlight for us. My blog is at http://worldcindy.blogspot.com if anyone wants pictures and the full
report.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank DrCindy87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shiraume

Property: Shiraume
Address: Shirakawa-hotori, Shinbashi-dori, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Gion
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Shiraume Hotel Kyoto

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