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“Wonderfull traditionnal Japanese hotel”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Ohanabo

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Ohanabo
Ranked #5 of 366 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
95 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Wonderfull traditionnal Japanese hotel”
Reviewed September 24, 2012 via mobile

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!

Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
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1 Thank Andreanne75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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226 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
44 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank llydzzi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC
Level Contributor
111 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 118 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
7 Thank Rinnegirl143
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank chehegi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
35 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Higasa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Northern California
Level Contributor
149 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
17 Thank AndyTheGameInventor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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...
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Spencer K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ohanabo

Property: Ohanabo
Address: 600-8158 Kyoto Prefecture | Shimogyo Ward, 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 #5 of 366 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ohanabo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 13
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