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“Awesome!”
Review of Hokkaikan Ohanabo

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Hokkaikan Ohanabo
Ranked #12 of 374 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed April 28, 2012

Stayed one night in this traditional machiya with dinner and breakfast. I was glad that they accepted my reservation as I am only staying for a night and was travelling solo. Everything with Ohanabo is excellent. Location is great, just a 5 minutes walk to Kyoto Station. Very easy to find. The cute lady boss was so cheerful and you will always find it a joy chatting with her. I had booked a room without bath but they gave me a room with private bath at no extra cost. How sweet! It was Spring so Kaiseki dinner was served. Very sumptuous and delicious, and the Kobe beef was good! It was very well presented and you can literally feel the chef's sincerity with his food! The friendly staff that served me dinner had a limited command of English, but nevertheless, he never gave up explaining the dishes and chatting with me. After dinner, the staff will lay the futons for you. The futons were very thick and clean. I had a very good night rest. As with all traditional machiya, I could hear the guests' chattering in the adjacent room and the occasional sliding of wooden doors, however, the Japanese are very well-mannered, it was all very quiet after 10pm. My room was facing the temple and I could see the beautiful cherry blossoms outside. Lovely! Breakfast was served in the Dining Hall on the 1st Level. And needless to say, the food was just as delicious. Tofu was very smooth. They gave me a packet of sweets when I checked out. How sweet again! Will stay with them again next time!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled solo
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2  Thank llydzzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 13, 2012

My husband and I had the most delightful experience at the Ohanabo Ryokan. After staying at a terrible hotel in Kyoto for 2 nights, we were really looking forward to our Ryokan experience. We were easily able to walk there from Kyoto Station, and we were delighted to see the Higash Hongan-ji Temple right across the street. The Ryokan is easily recognizable by the pictures on the website and there is a small sign out front. The staff was absolutely delightful. The owner greated us and spoke very good English. The ladies who served us dinner did a great job of explaining everything that we were eating. Our room had a view of the temple across the street and even though we were in the middle of Kyoto, we felt transported back in time and never had a problem with noise. We personally opted to pay extra for a room with a private bath and did not use the public bath although we did see that they were immaculately clean. Do not be alarmed by the Japanese style pillows. Allow we were a little leery at first, we slept very comfortably. The beds were also nice and the blankets were so fluff. We were initially unsure about how to book this Ryokan, but we had great success using: http://www.yado-web.com. All of our correspondance was with: yoshitomi@yado-web.com. Their first email to use got caught by our SPAM filter, but after that we had no problems with the reservation and they were very prompt. I cannot recommend this place enough! We were looking for a traditional Japanese experience without staying too far from the city and without paying exhorbitant prices. Ohanabo, while pricier than our other "western" style hotels was perfect for a single night respite in Kyoto!

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Rinnegirl143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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.
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...
  • 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.
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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 #12 of 374 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Price Range: $158 - $278 (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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