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All reviewskaiseki dinnerpublic bathroom attendantone nightryokan experiencetraditional experiencetea servicetraditional breakfasttraditional bathtraditional ryokanmulti coursesukiyakirooms are largefuton bedjapanese cuisinewestern style hotellocation was perfect
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Reviewed September 14, 2012

We stayed here with our 20 year old granddaughter, for whom this was the first trip to Japan, and this was a delightful way for her to experience the best of this gracious reminder of old Kyoto and its hospitality. Our room, all tatami, was spacious and beautifully appointed, and the ofuro (separate for men and women on the lowest level of the inn) was great! We had our traditional Japanese breakfast in the room on our second and last morning, served with great grace by our lovely attendant, but we dined out at night --- at places that were less expensive but excellent in their own right. For an old Kyoto experience in the traditional Gion area, this is the place to stay!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank jop2map
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2012

We stayed at the Gion Hatanaka for 2 nights on the recommendation of a US-based friend who had stayed there a few years prior when he travelled to Kyoto.

When we made the reservation, we were taken aback by how expensive the ryokan was, but we were assured by our friend that the vast expense would be justified by the experience and the meal service. Overall, I'd agree that it was a reasonable value for the expense, but it's more than I would typically want to spend for accommodation so it's just more of a splurge, as even the cost of the room without room service was significantly greater than local 4-star hotels. The cost of the meal service was comparable to local high end restaurants.

When we arrived at Kyoto station, we showed the taxi driver the address of the ryokan and he shook his head as if he didn't know where to go, but when we said Gion Hatanaka, he nodded vigorously. Apparently this ryokan is extremely well known and everyone in the city knows about it.

We arrived about 20 minutes before checkin, but they were able to accommodate us early. I'm not sure they would have let us in if we had been even an hour early, though, as no other Japanese hotels allowed early check-in so we think it was quite an accomodation they made for us in this case.

I was surprised at how modern the facility was, given that it was billed as a "traditional ryokan", but I'm not complaining.

Pros: The ground floor room we stayed in was beautiful, large, and well-stocked with minibar, bathroom amenities, and traditional attire. We had a sunroom with a small table, 2 chairs, and minibar area which also doubled as our bathroom sink area. The closet had our bathhouse essentials, as well as our lounge wear for when we ate dinner in our room. The living room had a table and a couple chairs in the corner and our bed mats were in the middle of the floor. The mats get cleaned up during the day so that we can eat in our room.
Our room had A/C and the best way to maximize its efficiency is to keep all the various room doors closed to stop the air from escaping.
The bathroom was actually two separate rooms - in one small room was the toilet and a sink, in the other room was a private wooden bathtub and a shower station. The water pressure on the shower was fantastic. Toiletries were provided.
The public bathhouse was in the basement floor of the ryokan and was extremely beautiful. I spent only half an hour down there, but it was an awesome spa-like experience, complete with a giant picture window facing a garden area (not accessible to prying eyes, of course).
We signed up to have breakfast and dinner on one of our two nights at the ryokan. We knew we were signing up for an "authentic" Japanese meal experience and were prepared for some unusual dishes. What we received exceeded our expectations. The food was beautifully presented, deliciously prepared, and extremely diverse and authentic. We didn't walk away from the table hungry...or disappointed!
We were very conveniently located next to the Yasuka Shrine and within close walking distance of bus stops to other parts of town. The Gion district has lots of great shops to walk around and peruse.

Cons: The Wi-fi was available only in the lobby...and even then, it was limited. Of the two evenings we spent there, we couldn't get internet access from the lobby on one of those nights.
The floor beds were not as comfortable as regular beds of course, but after the first night, I didn't have any trouble sleeping on them. My husband did not sleep well either night, though. We did find the single pillow each of us got to be insufficient as well.

We enjoyed our stay at Gion Hatanaka and would recommend it to friends as a special short-stay experience but would not suggest they stay there long term in lieu of a regular hotel.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank tvnewseditor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 22, 2012

We spent 3 nights in Kyoto recently and were only able to spend 2 nights at Gion Hatanaka. We spent the first night at a different ryokan that billed itself as "high-end" and so we were able to benchmark the two. Hatanaka also came highly recommended from a friend from Tokyo and it didn't dissapoint. The food was spectacular as was the service. We were a famly of 4 and found the room spacious and very accomodating.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank sveytia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2012

Our easter holiday in Osaka and Kyoto is one memorable trip! The place is so clean compare to other cities in Asia we have been to. The Japanese are very courteous, helpful (in spite of they cant speak English fluently, they will get out of their way to help especially in directions). Kyoto is a wonderful place to go, traces of olden japan is still there unlike Osaka, for those who would like to see world heritage sites, Kyoto is one place to go.

My only comment with Japan, is that its not a tourist friendly place! Why? The directions are in Nippongo and hardly any English translation. Their maps are neither friendly too. In spite of this, we will still make other trips to Japan!

Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
1  Thank Nori C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2012

Was a bit skeptical because of relatively low rating. Had to choose this because little availability near Easter weekend and had a last-minute vacation in Japan. Was very glad this worked out.

Location is superb. Taxis knew how to get there. Can walk to Yasaka shrine, Kiyomizudera, Gion, Pontocho, and Shinjodorimachi (shopping center areas). Could also walk to Sanjusengendo if so inclined.

Room was very large, comfortable. Was in what I surmised to be the Gai-jin building (the main one with the elevator) as the Japanese guests were guided back towards other buildings. Not sure whether we missed anything from that, but my guess is the better English speaking attendants are in this building. Asumi-san was wonderful and had a good grasp of English in explaining food, procedure, timing. Room was spacious, well appointed, and the private bath was fairly modern which may not be a bad thing, unless you are looking for the 300-year old bathroom experience.

Arrive by 4; enjoy the afternoon service, the bath, and dinner. Unless you are superhuman or have been around more than a week, the jet lag will get to you by after dinner, but if you want, the park is alive at night (forget the name, next to yasaka shrine) and can stroll the gion area. I did not get to use the community bath and did not do the geisha show, so can not comment on that.

The food for both dinner and breakfast was superb, and the quantities were almost too much - very filling and very tasty. Unique, seasonal tastes, but nothing so obscure that you would feel uncomfortable.

Area is at the edge of the shop area on approach to Kiyomizudera, so you can enjoy that, but turn the corner and find some of the modern support you need. Lawsons, 7-11 etc. There is a post office one block over with an international ATM that the hotel was not aware of. It does close at 1730, but it is very convenient.

Some other reviews have found fault; I found these to be minor...yes it is a bit modern, and at times some of the furnishings looked worn. My only complaint - and it was minor - was the lack of support getting luggage into the building, as the approach to the hotel is a number of stairs upward.

Yes, it was expensive. But if you take into consideration the costs of having a kaiseki dinner, as well as a kaiseki style breakfast (or equivalent buffet breakfast scam in the major hotels), the net costs of lodging here is excellent and quite an experience. Would not be able to do it every day, but man what a thrill.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank kingofsp8s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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