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Reviewed October 30, 2012

I was just in Kyoto and Osaka. I stayed in this guest house, a budget ryokan and a business hotel. I also went to a minshuku. Of all of these lodgings, this place really felt the most Japanese. True, the floors creak, there is one shower, etc. but I appreciated the experience despite these small inconveniences. People were considerate and friendly. The women at the front desk spoke great English and were very helpful as well.

I would probably not normally rate this place five stars since five stars is used reserved for the absolute best, but for authenticity, location and price, I gave it five stars. (P.S. It's not officially a ryokan, as others have called it.)

Date of stay: October 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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Thank martinagracerochelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 26, 2012

Enjoyed my 3 nights stay at this guesthouse. The futon was comfy and had a good sleep.
It is extremely quiet at night though, that I can hear snippets of conversation of my opposite room neighbour.

There is a 24hr small supermarket about 2mins walk away.

Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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Thank samtcy
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2012

It was very easy to get there from the Gion-shijo subway exit 1, probably within 1-2 minute walk. We arrived before the offical check-in time. But the front desk lady told us the room was ready, and we could check-in and settled our things there.

It is an authentic old Japan house which made of wood, dim lights, living/common rooms for everyone, small but nice Japanese-style courtyard. Our room is located at the end of the 1st floor, the only guest room on the 1st floor. The room was spacious, which includes a smaller room which next to the courtyard. The main windowns are facing the road outside, and outside the door of the room is the back staircase, 2 toilets and 1 showroom. We set our own futons for sleeping (the futon was actually a thin foldable mattress, it was a bit hard for my back to sleep on). The feather pillow was all squashed into a thin hard pillow, so, if people who has neck problem like me, not really sure it is very comfortable.

The next evening we had to stay in the western room located on the 2nd floor, cos' the Japanese room wasn't available, we left othe luggage and the rental towels for the staff and they arranged for us to the room and we were off to explore Kyoto. We went back in the evening and walked in our room. There was little space for people to walk outside the room (bit hard to explain, but had to walk carefully in order not to fall into the courtyard), the size of the room wasn't big but ok, a big mirror on the wall (bit weird) to make it looks bigger I guess. The other side was big translucent windows/door, a double bed and 2 chairs. The problems I had with this room were, the translucent windows made everyone could kind of see what was happening inside the room (imagine if you have to get changed), I suggest them should put some drapes for better privacy. And I wasn't sure why they put 2 chairs at 2 different corcerns of the room. We had nowhere to put of things, we basically had to put things on the chairs and the little space of the window frames. I think they should put some storage/cupboard/small table instead, it would be more useful.

The 3rd night we were back to the Japanese room on the 1st floor again, great!

The tips of staying/sleeping in the ryokan are, use ear plugs (especially for light sleepers), it is a wooden house and it makes a lot of noises just walking around, opening/closing the doors (wall and doors are paper thin) or inconsiderate customers shouting from one side to the other; Bring eye mask (if you mind the lights), cos' street light was right outside the window, and some lights are on 24-hour outside the room too; Take your shower earlier (there's only one shower), first night we took our showers in our regular time (like 10-ish/11pm), there was a queue, one after another, they were all sitting in the living room waiting, so, forgot how long we've been waited. But no problem for the 2nd and 3rd night as we did it early.

Even though the ryokan isn't prefect, but we still enjoyed our stay very much, the staff was helpful and speaks good English. I would recommand others to stay at Rakuza.

Date of stay: October 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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2  Thank KA_LND
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 2, 2012

Rakuza is located in the ancient quartier of Gion, in the centre of Kyoto. There are many traditional restaurants and beautiful gift shops around. The ryokan is entirely traditional style, clean and confortable. They provide a laptop, free wifi, hair dryer and some fruits in the morning in the lobby.
They rent bikes for 500 yen/day. We took them for 2 days and we visited the most of kyoto in that time! very recomendable (they only have 2 bikes for rent, so if you are interested make sure to reserve in advance).
The staff was friendly and helpful. No curfew, you get a password for entry after 8pm.
You have a coin laundry near, and a supermarket called "Fresco" where you can buy prepared food, very convenient to save some money.

Our best accomodation in Japan.

Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
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1  Thank SREmilioSR
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2012

.. I suggest you to stay here. It's very affordable yet it gives you that authentic feeling. We stayed there for two nights after our trip to Hiroshima and we decided to stay in a ryokan after a series of stay in business hotel to experience living in a real traditional Japanese house. The ryokan, to our surprise, is not difficult to locate. Once you see the Kamo River and the Keihan Railway stop across the road, the ryokan is basically on the alley next to it.

We arrived around 1 p.m. so we just called the Okami-san that we have arrived, we just put our bag and we left for tour since the check in is at 4. When we get back at nighttime around 8, we met again the very friendly okami-san who showed us to our Twin Room upstairs. She also showed us every thing we need to know in the room: the bedding, the service, the bathroom, the common room. I think our room was great. It has a quaint feeling to it, and although it's part of a 100-year old house, it is equipped with aircon and it was clean and the tatami also in excellent condition. The lamps are pretty much touch our head but other than that, we were very happy with the condition. As a guesthouse and as the price is very low compared to other ryokan, we had to do the bedding ourselves but that means we would have the experience of setting up the futon, which was very fun. We don't mind sleeping on the floor because that's what we do in Korea. Putting on the blanket was a challenge, but it was fun. There is also wifi in the room, a great bonus, since there is no TV in the room, you practically need internet to keep yourself occupied.

One thing we felt uncomfortable was probably the bathroom which was downstairs. We stayed on the second floor and we had to walk quite a long way down or shorter through the common room but I didn't prefer if I brought my towel and toiletries with me. The house is old so it creaks when we stepped on it. There are two toilets downstairs and one upstairs which is closed after 9, so basically we had to use the downstair's toilet everytime.

Other than the bathroom, we have no complaint. It was an authentic experience. We are happy staying there because of the very friendly okami-san who speaks very fluent English, clean room and bathroom and very traditional experience that we had during our stay. We will surely recommend this guesthouse to everyone.

Room tip: The deluxe room is said to faced the Kamo River. We would like to take that room but it was fully booked during our stay. Staying on the Twin Room on the first floor is also another affordable option, but then you will have to hear people going through in front of your door (it's right next to the stairs) everytime.
Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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Thank Kim_Nana
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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