I stayed 5 nights at the Ohanabo while in Kyoto for a class. I wanted to experience a traditionnal Japanese ryokan, and I have to say Ryokan Ohanabo far exceeded my expectations. The service was amazing, everyone was very friendly and made me feel at ease; I never felt out of place as a Westerner withouth knowledge of Japanese language or culture. When I left after 5 nights, not only did they help me find another great place to stay, but they arranged for my luggage to be moved while I was in class.
My room was large, airy and clean. The futon that was laid out was soft and comfy (for a futon). I had a room with attached bathroom, but I actually never used the shower, preferring the fantastic communal bath. Dinner, ordered in advance, was served in the room: I sampled the kaiseki dinner, the shabu shabu and the sukyiaki; it was very exotic, and very tasty. Breakfast, Japanese or Western style, was served in a common room on the ground floor. The Japanese breakfast featured several small dishes all exquisitely presented.
I would recommend anyone whishing to experience traditionnal Japanese hospitality to try it at Ohanabo; there may be more luxurious ryokans around, but given the quality of service, the Ohanabo is a great deal. This is a very different experience that requires an open mind, good knees and back (sitting on the floor and sleeping on a futon), and I would advise to do some research on the net prior to arrival. I had a mind-blowing experience which I will remember for a long time!
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