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“Amazing-I have no other words!”
Review of Hokkaikan Ohanabo

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Hokkaikan Ohanabo
Ranked #15 of 395 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 1, 2012

I selected this ryokan even though it didnt get many reviews on Tripadvor-however all of the reviews were positive.
I can only agree:Its an amazing ryokan,so easily located near the station and oposite the beautiful Higashi-Honganji Temple.Near to some fine restaurants (the owner of Ohanabo knows some truly nice ones!) and Yodabashi-store and Isetan,it's just a perfect choice.
I was welcomed with tea and every day upon my return I would find a small sweet snack and/or tea waiting for me.
I had a room consisting of a hallway with freezer and teamaker,a bathroom,a sitting room and in a separate bedroom I found my futon .
I had been to Kyoto 2 times before this and still I was pleasantly surprised.
The staff are very attentive and friendly.
Breakfast was not included in the price,but that didt spoil the fun.I ordered a japanese breakfast the first morning-it was a lot of food and presented in a lovely way.
Today after doing a lot of walking in the february cold I even enjoyed their japanese bath.
I find this place,especially for the price I was charged,very good value.

I would recommend it to anyone who would like to experience a ryokan,and yes I would go back there myself.

like I said,AMAZING!

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled solo
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5  Thank chehegi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 31, 2012

The service at the Ohanabo is excellent- the staff are very nice and attentive but do not overdo it and are not knocking on the door all the time as some ryokans may do. The location is convenient but still quiet. It is not a huge place so it has an intimate feel. We only had breakfast there but the fresh tofu was great- the only tiny disappointment was that the tofu was substituted by sausages on the last day.
I am Japanese and thought the price was excellent value though it was peak season.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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2  Thank Higasa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2012

We stayed our last night in Kyoto at this Ryokan to experience what a traditional Ryokan is. We had a great time. Food and service were spectacular. The room was nice, but read my desciptions of a Ryokan in gneral for more details.

The room was fairly classic traditional with tatami mat floors and sliding paper walls. Ours also had a small anteroom and a sitting area to the side of the "bedroom", which is the bulk of the space in a Ryokan room. Everything was perfect except for one missing panel in the sitting area which opened onto the bathroom area and I must stay did spoil some of the serenity.

Our room had a western bathroom - not sure if all of the rooms even have bathrooms since there were several floor bathrooms and this hotel only has 14 rooms.

From the moment we walked in, service was beyond attentive. Welcoming tea arrived instantly. The manager checked on our dinner and breakfast requests right away. The room was provided with slippers, yakutas (Japanese robes) and a jacket to go over the robe. As they knew that we were three, there were 3 of everything already waiting in the room.

A note about Yakutas - they are intended to be worn inside the Ryokan (not just in your room). However US-size people don't always fit into Japanese-size robes. We had to wear shirts and underwear under the robes or we would have been providing a free show to the locals.

There is not much to do inside the Ryokan other than relax (the room has a modern TV) but it does have a Furo, a Japanese bath. It's small but immaculate. You can read about Japanese bathing elsewhere on the internet - don't even consider trying it until you've read the rules or you will really offend the locals (and they'll be too polite to say anything about it.)

We had the Kaiseki dinner, which is served in your room. It was delicious and served in many courses by staff who serve from a mostly kneeling position (you are seated on the floor). When the first course arrived, which had a dozen at least small plates on it, it was beautiful but I wasn't sure it would be enough food. No worries - course after course arrived, until we were full and happy. Breakfast the next day was not much less elaborate, with a dozen different items at least. Be aware that as an American you will not recognize most of the things on your plate, even if you eat in Japanese restaurants here.

Some Ryokans apparently are not well heated, ours had a modern heating/AC system in the room which blew in as much warm air as anyone could want - but the ante room, bathroom area, and bathroom are not heated and the paper walls do a remamrkable job of keeping the heat in the bedroom, hence out of the other areas. It was winter, and yes, the bathroom was cold.

At a Ryokan you sleep on the floor on a futon with blankets, which the staff set up for us after dinner and removed in the morning. (Some so-called Ryokan also offer western rooms with beds, but we wanted to experience it as it was in the old days). I can't say that I enjoyed sleeping on the futon, but in fairness I am used to bed and I'm sure one could get used to the futon. It's certainly not as soft as a US bed.

Pricewise, Ryokan are pretty costly, we paid about $600 for one night for 3 of us with full Kaiseki dinner and breakfast. You have to look at it as paying for the experience, since even in Japan you can get a much higher level of modern comfort at that price. I wouldn't spend a week at these prices but I don't regret for a moment than we tried this experience. It showed us a part of Japan that is frankly disappearing rapidly.

Also, the Ryokan lists itself as not providing service in English but the owners are selling themselves short - the owner and staff spoke enough English that communication was not a problem.

Location was great - just a 5-10 minute walk from JR Kyoto Station which is the transporation hub of Kyoto.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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17  Thank AndyTheGameInventor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2012

We stayed at the Ohanabo Ryokan during New Years 2012, so it was a VERY busy and difficult time to book a Ryokan. We couldn't be more pleased with everything about this Inn, the food (both Breakfast and Dinner) was of the best food we had in all of Japan, and the service is a solid 10! It isn't in Gion, but it's a reasonable walk there, and also a walk to the Kyoto train station. HIGHLY recommended for a traditional Japanese experience, centrally located, amazing food, and LOVELY staff. If you're looking for traditional, quality, and amazing staff at a great value, this is the place! SK- Seattle Washington

Room Tip: Don't worry about the private bath in the Room, because the public bath's are AMAZING, and e...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Spencer K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2012

I stayed at Ohanabo with my family for three nights, and it was a truly one of a kind experience. The ryokan itself was located conveniently. The building was clean and equipped with the amenities that will give you the traditional Japanese experience. Their food is yummy. But most outstanding of all was the hospitality of Ayako-san, the owner, and all of her staff crew members!

Staying with Ayako-san is like staying with your favorite auntie. She greets you with genuine excitement and enthusiasm, and she's always cherry, one of those rare people who seem to be genuinely cheerful at all times. She is also extremely helpful and polite - she helped us booked restaurants before we even arrived in Japan, and even dropped us off to the restaurant when she was on her way to town. She always tries to help you with the best of her ability when you have questions about where to go and what to do. Her staff are also always very friendly, helpful, polite and cherry. They help you do laundry at a very reasonable cost, delivered up to your room. They all make you feel like family. It is rare that you get this kind of treatment from a hotel/motel service of any kind. The service and hospitality of everyone at this Ryokan that we've came across is simply superb.

The breakfast was also a good experience for us to try traditional Japanese breakfast style. I would recommend it. However, the highlight was the dinner. Don't make the mistake that we made by eating with Ayako-san on the last day of your stay - because we wished we didn't go to have expensive food the nights before and have more dinners at the ryokan instead! Ayako-san recommended that we have food with her at least once during our stay, and we agreed on sukiyaki. She bought really good quality Kobe beef for us, set up the table and cooked for us in our own room! And the food was delicious!!!!!

The location of this ryokan is great - it's about a 5 minutes walk from the Kyoto station. But because we had a lot of luggage, we had to take a taxi when we arrived and departed from Kyoto. But on other days that we were traveling around, it is a nice walk to the station with some shops and restaurants around the neighborhood.

The amenities were also good. The yukata was pretty on me, and sleeping on the floor was more comfortable that I thought it would be - the cover was so fluffy :-) They also have a communal Japanese hot bath on the ground floor which was really nice. Laundry service is also available.

All in all, one of the highlights of our trip in Japan! Thank you again Ayako-san. Also thanks to your husband and your staff as well!

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank AmyEam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 11, 2011

what a wonderful ryoken.
It is a 5 minute walk from Kyoto Station; just be careful you leave the station by the main entrance as tired after travel we found the back entrance! Easy to find you cross the main road and walk up the street opposite.
Shoes off at the door and what a lovely welcome from the staff who showed us to our room, the onsen ( hot mineral public bath) and the washing machine and drier ( great when you have been traveling) 300 JY for a wash ( soap included) and 100JY for the drier. And bought a pot of green tea and sweet biscuits.
We dont speak Japanese, just hello and thank you, but we managed to make ourselves understood and didnt find language an issue.
Our keisaki meal was booked for 19:00 so we went to explore the public onsen downstairs. As all Onsens we came across, they are separated male and female. The ladies was really clean with baskets for your clothes, hair and body shampoo, conditioner and lots of towels. the large mineral bath was just blissful after a long day traveling. You can lie back and look out at a little garden. If you are uncomfortable with nudity you can use a small towel for modesty. But you must not put it in the water; you fold it and pop it on your head. We didnt find nudity an issue, no one looks.
Now feeling fresh and very relaxed in our Yakuta (cotton kimono in a choice of colours, something we didnt find anywhere else on our travels).
The keisaki meals have been explained in other reviews, so just to say it was served in our room, was fabulously memorable and very tasty. My daughter is a vegetarian and does not eat dairy; she was very well catered for. As we sat chatting to the lovely staff our beds were laid out on the tatami. Initially the pillows felt hard and i wondered how we would sleep, however they were very comfortable and we had a great night sleep.
We had a very colourful Japanese breakfast served downstairs in a beautiful room on tatami mats. Take a look at the ceiling in this room, very unusual and not seen so much now as the younger generation as not learning the skills.
The ryoken is well positioned for the station and metro but not for walking to Gion. Our advice would be to use the metro to get up to the area around Gion, Philosophers walk, market, and save your feet for walking when you get there.
We felt very relaxed; all our clothes clean and fresh. We wanted to stay longer. Wonderful ryoken.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank thesailingnurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 22, 2011

Picking a ryokan is he most difficult job. I looked around and shortlisted a few. However, I have chosen Ohanabo at the end because I was able to communicate with the owners through the phone and they were very helpful. On our arrival at Kyoto station, I couldn't figure the direction so I called the owner. Out of expectation, owner came to the station and picked us up. That was really nice of them. We didnt get a room with private bathroom. However, the bathroom is very close to the room and we liked it very much. The highlight of the stay is perhaps the breakfast. Both Japanese and Western style were great. Overall, we liked the place very much and miss it very much already.

  • Stayed: May 2011
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5  Thank Bobui
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hokkaikan Ohanabo

Address: 66-2 Shokuyacho Fumeimondori Shimojuzuyacho Agaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8158, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Shimogyo-ku , Kyoto Station
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 395 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Price Range: $132 - $282 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Hokkaikan Ohanabo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
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