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“A pleasant place to stay in Kyoto - with a bit of history” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ishihara

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Ishihara
Ranked #208 of 349 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Tokyo
Level Contributor
107 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
“A pleasant place to stay in Kyoto - with a bit of history”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2013

Ishihara Ryokan is centrally located and is a great place to stay for your sightseeing time in Kyoto. The Ryokan (Japanese inn) is housed in an 80 year old building, which the current owners, the Ishiharas, bought 50 years ago when it was an antique shop.

Room prices include breakfast (western if you ask in advance) and the room we stayed in had a private toilet and bath.

Ishihara Ryokan was the favorite place for the famous film director, Akira Kurosawa, to stay in. Ask Mrs. Ishihara to show you the slippers he wore when he stayed there. At the time, they had to go out and find a pair big enough for his feet. He autographed the slippers and she keeps them under the steps.

Take not of all the lamps in the Ryokan. These were all handmade by Mr. Ishihara using kimono dying pattern material that he gets from some of the kimono makers.

Be sure to say hello to the 42 year old turtle who lives in the little concrete pond in the garden. He was hibernating while we were there.

Ask Mrs. Ishihara for recommendations to dinner. She knows of several places that are within walking distance. There are also several restaurants on the same street the Ryokan is located on.

The Ryokan is within walking distance of several interesting areas including the Nishiki Market, Gion, and the central heart of Kyoto. It's also a short walk from the subway line that runs directly to Kyoto train station.

Room Tip: If you want to stay in the same room Kurosawa stayed in be sure to book well in advace.
See more room tips
  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank jp2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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22 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

I had a great stay at Ishihara ryokan. It is superbly located right in the heart of Kyoto - covenient for sightseeing, shopping and nightlife! I was made to feel very welcome there and the breakfasts were excellent. Highly recommended.

Stayed October 2012, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank DannyRosenbaum8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
29 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2012

We truly felt welcome and at home at Ishihara. The host and hostess are most friendly and gave great recommendations for restaurants. I also like the public bath - very relaxing and traditional. Private breakfast looking out to the traditional garden was very refreshing. Very few drawbacks: 1) 北山 room on the 2f doesn't have any views; 2) room rates were really expensive probably due to the long weekend holiday. Overall, it was a lovely experience. :)

Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Trang P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
95 reviews
92 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012 via mobile

I spent 4 nights at the Ishihara, an older ryokan where Kurosawa used to stay when in Kyoto (rumour has it that part of Rashomon was written there). It is a charming old bulding in a great location close to shopping and dining. The rooms are very traditionnal, with (rather thin) futons that are rolled out at night on real straw tatami that smell gorgeous. I had an attached bathroom which was old, but extremely clean and well-kept. The tasty traditionnal breakfast was served downstairs, by the garden. Everything with this place is tastefull!
But the most amazing thing about this hotel is the exceptionnal warmt of the hosts, Mr and Mrs Ishihara. I felt right at home with them, and learned a great deal about Japan and Kyoto. It felt almost more like an intercultural stay than a hotel, which suited me perfectly!
For those with no prior ryokan experience I would recommend to do some research beforehand however, as this is quite different from a stay at a Western-style hotel.
That being said, if you want to experience something truly different, at the Ishihara you will feel welcome and experience great Kyoto hospitality.

Stayed August 2012, traveled solo
Helpful?
2 Thank Andreanne75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2012

I imagine that most Ryokan's, as premium accommodation can offer exceptional service and beautifully appointed rooms.

Where I think Ishihara is different is firstly that it is incredibly reasonable compared to other Ryokan's. It also has real character, the building has a real history and the furnishings and ornaments reflect this brilliantly, the host's are however the real warmth. Incredibly attentive, personable and welcoming they could not have been more friendly.

Like the previous reviewer I stayed in the upstairs Kurosawa rooms. I fell in love with the idea of a small balcony overlooking the neatly kept garden, and was not at all disappointed. I found the rooms to be incredibly comfortable and all together a beautiful space to spend a night.

The location is great with the surrounding streets full of interesting bars / restaurants (I especially recommend Gogyo which is on the same street as Ishihara) / shops and the river, museum's and sights are all easily accessible.

There is a certain romantic notion to staying in a Ryokan, if this is what is motivating you to visit then I have no doubt you will be swept off your feet by Ishihara. I loved it and will be returning soon.

Room Tip: I was initially worried by the lack of en-suite facilities but as there are only 5 other rooms and s...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank kyle w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
61 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2010

If you're interested in an authentic ryokan experience the Ishihara is a great place. The hostess spoke great English and was very nice and friendly. I felt like I was invited to their home. As long as you are respectful of the ryokan experience and are OK with some of the attendant inconveniences (such as the sit-down style of showering, the lack of a bed (futons are brought out nightly), the no shoes policy, etc), it is really quiet enjoyable and feels like a throwback to another era.

I stayed in the private upstairs area with a small balcony overlooking a well-kept little garden. The upstairs was made up of two rooms, one room with a mirror which I used as my "dressing area", and another room with a table that was moved nightly to make room for the futon. There was a sink to the side of the balcony and a small dressing table. Also upstairs was your own toilet and sink, but no bath. The bath is downstairs. The upstairs area technically slept 6, and breakfast could have been served there, but I was by myself and preferred to go downstairs for breakfast in the room next to the garden.

Stay here with an open mind and kind heart. The ryokan is old and showing signs of age. The towels are not big and fluffy, the pillows are hard, and one should take care not to drag dirty luggage across the pristine tatami. But it is peaceful and meditative, and a lovely way to get a taste of the traditional Japanese lifestyle at a reasonable price.

And oh, Akira Kurosawa used to stay here to write some of his films during the later years of his career. And if the place is good enough for Kurosawa-San, it is certainly good enough for me. Even if you're not familiar with his movies, it's a nice feeling knowing that great art was conceived here.

The location in central Kyoto is terrific. Walking distance to the main thoroughfare, the river, lots of shops and restaurants, the manga museum, and even ancient sites such as the Kiyomizu Dera if you're a hardy walker.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Location
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank ElevenBus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ishihara

Property: Ishihara
Address: 76 Anekoji-agaru, Yanagi-banba, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8101, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Hotel Style:
Ranked #208 of 349 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 6
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