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Sumiya Ryokan
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Reviews (92)
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27 - 32 of 92 reviews
Reviewed March 27, 2013

Stayed here 2 nights on a business trip. My company booked this place and frankly I was a little concerned after reading some of the reviews. Our experience was great! Great food, great service, comfortable rooms and an authentic Japanese environment. Choose a western hotel chain if you are looking for a more American experience. If you want to get a taste of traditional Japan then I highly recommend the Sumiya!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank Django12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2013

It was our first trip to Japan, before Spring time of 2013. After fasinating Tokyo, little small town of Takayama in the countryside, we came to Kyoto where we find the Japanese culture is so rich and 'traditional' than other places. Our one night stay at Sumiya ryokan complimented to our appreciation of the beautiful Japanese culture and hospitality.

As we stayed at a spacious ryokan with pretty outdoor onsen in Takayama, we were a bit (almost) disappointed with the size of Sumiya! But I was sure there must be something special about this historical ryokan and we finally love the place pretty much.

Sumiya is over 100 Years old in city center of Kyoto. The lady owner is the forth generation. There were 2 lady staff who mainly take care of us with their sincerity in the most polite way. We can feel that they are trying to serve, assist, and accommodate our wish with all their might. The younger staff can speak more English so we can communicate quite 0K. But English is not an obstacle to appreciate that you are being pampered.

We enjoy the living experience in a real Japanese home. The 2 stories house is built with rooms around Japanese garden. There is a common bath downstairs that must take turn between men and women in different time. Inside the room there is also or small wooden bathtub filled with hot water to welcome you. There are nice touches of flower arrangement, little decorative details and beautiful various kinds of wood all around the house.

The tasty Kyoto style meals are also memorable especially a 10-course dinner that is more like an art form rather than a meal. It is not only timely prepared and nicely presented but the taste is also very good! And the service is so attentive.

You can spend your time quietly at the house in a Japanese robe or can go for a walk in the nearby shopping place.

If you are looking for a good cultural experience at the old capital city, Sumiya is a good choice. However be prepared that it is an old house, not a modern spacious luxury place with all amenity. But if you would like to learn a real Japanese thing with exceptional service quality, this little heritage ryokan can complete your experience like us.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank ssjiap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2012

This was an awesome experience. I think I learned more about Ryokan stay here because they spoke English (I have been to ones where I had to make do with my very poor Japanese).

It was our last day in Kyoto an had to check out our other place by 10am. We called to see if they could take our luggage in early as the check in time is 3pm. They happily agreed. They accepted our luggage early (we only had 2 carry-ons), gave us tea and did the paper work first. The location is great, so we went to check out Takashimaya and came back to the Ryokan about 3pm.

We were thrilled to be in a huge tatami room with garden view and private bath. Oh, the bath tub! They filled the tub already when we checked in, soaking in it was awesome. We were so happy to be there to enjoy the room and the garden with the micro brew beer that we found in Takashimaya.

My friend had to leave at 9pm that night due to her flight change. So I requested the Kaiseki dinner to start by 6pm. They needed to set the time to start since the dinner is multi-course that has a prescribed order to the dishes would take 1.5 to 2 hours. The dinner was really good! The server explained to us each dish, so it was really fun checking out each course and enjoying them slowly. The next day, breakfast was just as great, and they ended my stay with traditional green tea and some sweets.

The entire stay had been pleasant from the beginning to the end. The managers and staffs were courteous, accommodating and helpful at all times. I would love to come back and enjoy this Ryokan again next time I am in Kyoto.

Room Tip: If you are not comfortable with sharing baths with stranger, ask for the room with private bath.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank DaisyBoo888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2011

We just had a most wonderful 2-night stay at Sumiya. I see that some people were less than happy with the place and I can understand that as well. I must admit when we first entered into Sumiya and also when we were introduced to our room, I also wondered whether I had made the right choice.

A ryokan, especially the older ones, is really not for everyone. A ryokan is not a Four Seasons. You will not be met by energetic, multilingual young staff ready to serve your needs around the clock. You will probably be served by some old ladies who have no or very limited knowledge of English. An old ryokan is like a museum. This imposes certain limitations. For example, you will probably have to share bathrooms with others. In the more expensive rooms, you may have your own toilet and bathroom. However, those will be rather tiny because they have been retrofitted into an historic building which cannot be torn down or altered structurally in a major way.

Ryokans are all about traditions. They have certain fixed way of doing things, including when the meals will be served. You have to accept the fact that you have to adjust yourself to their traditions rather than getting them adjust to your needs. So there are certainly downsides to staying at a Ryokan. So ask yourself if a western style de luxe hotel will suit your needs better.

If you are willing to accept the limitations of staying at a tradional ryokan, then Sumiya is a wonder place to taste the authentic Japanese experience. For example, the bathtube, while tiny, is made of fine quality wood that must be many years old. The craftsmanship and the materials (the wood, the tatami, the walls) are absolutely superb. The kaiseki dinner and the Japanese style breakfast we had were unforgettable dining experiences.

In short, don't go to Sumiya unless you want to have the real thing, in which case you will not be disappointed.

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Shatin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2011

the real thing! In this Ryokan many Japanese celebs are frequently seen. Great Hinoki wood bathtubs and spacious rooms facing a Japanese garden.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank JapanTravelExplorer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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