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“Ideal Japanese experience...”
Review of Gion Yoshi-ima

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Gion Yoshi-ima
Ranked #86 of 374 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 8, 2012

We got into Gion Yoshi-ima as part of a package deal: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, and a stay (which we extended for another day) at the ryokan. I was apprehensive at first, but I must say that despite the somewhat steep cost (for the additional night about ¥ 37,000), my loved one and I did not regret it. Gion Yoshi-ima represents the best of traditional hospitality and service, and I can judge that from my previous experience of Japan, having had studied there for quite a number of years. We were lodged in a 6-mat room, just right, with a beautiful view of the garden; in the evening, we saw two large birds roost in the trees right in front of our window… we were told they came from the Kamo River nearby. Service was impeccable. As in any traditional ryokan, breakfast and dinner are served in your room; we naturally went for the Japanese menu. Dinner the first day was kaiseki, nicely prepared (in a good Japanese restaurant, food has to please as much to the eye as to your taste), the second day, shabu-shabu, also very good. In the latter case, there was some lingering smell of the food in the room which some may find objectionable (we did not). The room's bath is adequate but both evenings, we elected to make use of the "family bath" downstairs (you have to make a reservation), a nice, large wooden tub (two will fit in) where in the Japanese manner, after cleaning yourself outside, you enjoy the warmth of the hot water. Ahhh, heavenly… Staff speaks English, it is said, but I didn't check it out, still knowing enough Japanese to make myself understood. Location is ideal: many of the tourist sights are within walking distance: Chi'on-in temple, Heian Shrine, Kiyomizudera temple. I can only highly recommend Gion Yoshi-ima, particularly as part of the package deal offered by some of the Japanese tourist websites such as JAPANiCAN. If you want to experience traditional Japan, try it out… keep an open mind… if not, better stay a western-style hotel.

  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank DFAvJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 6, 2012

This is a ryokan specialized in foreign visitors. The receptionist is very kind, speaks well English and there are no communication problems. The ryokan itself is in the antiques shop street of Kyoto and ideally located to stroll around in Gion quarter. Many neighboring streets are much more idyllic, however, and the building itself consists of a modern concrete and an ancient part. They have a very pretty small garden with a nice tea house. In contrast, the rooms are comparatively cheaply furnitured and would urgently need a makeover. Nothing to do with purist style; just old. Wall to wall carpet is old and walls would need a fresh paint. The dinner served was not of very good quality, you can find much much better in Japan even as a foreigner. The service was very friendly. The futons were appropriately set up and came nicely. In sum, I would assume that Japanese visitors would rank this ryokan fairly poorly, but for foreign visitors and ryokan novices it is a very good opportunity to get familiar with the concept of a ryokan.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank BlablaBerlin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 19, 2011

Service was good, package included breakfast and dinner which tasted very good. Such a nice treat to be served in your room, from needing the bed, setting up the breakfast table and meals, and finally in the evening, the hotel staff sets up the futon for a good night's sleep. Quite pricey but very good experience to live the Japanese way for a few days. Staff were very helpful and friendly. Also joined their complimentary tea ceremony (which you would usually have to pay and book in other places), very interesting! Tasted very freshly made green tea and small dessert. Lovely! Very relaxing place. Also had a small veranda (covered) in our room, so it's nice to just sit and watch the view of the street, quiet one.

  • Stayed: October 2010
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3  Thank ithaca12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 12, 2011

I stayed here a few years back with a friend during my first trip to kyoto and loved it. Thus I was super excited to come back again. Yet this time I was a bit disappointed. We opted to use the train to get to the hotel which was not the best of ideas. The directions on the website were not clear and we ended up at the wrong exit.

When I called for directions the original person on the phone did not speak English at a high enough level to understand me and when she put the owner who did speak a high level of English on the phone he didn't have a clue where we were. Thankfully after asking a few people in my broken Japanese we were able to figure it out. If coming here on your own (not with the JTB or tour) TAKE A CAB.

Our room was smaller than the one I had been in before and not quite as clean as I had remembered. There was a large stain on the carpet in the sitting room and the screen on the door to the garden came off the slider when moved. Mold was on the bathroom tiles. I understand this is an old hotel the management should be making sure to perceive it for the future. When I had stayed before I had gotten the impression that this Ryokon was aimed towards foreign visitors to Japan thus the high level of English and the tour of the hotel.

This time around the staff, although really nice, didn't not have much English language skills. I was able to get some things across with the help of some broken Japanese and the staff generally tired to use some English but for some things the owner/manger had to be called in to speak with us in English. That being said I give Yoshi Ima an A+++ for service the staff were super nice and friendly (even for Japan) and even serviced us our meal earlier ,so we could catch our tour, and later, due to being a bit late, than the assigned times. Our maid was very sweet and made small talk with us making us feel welcome.

Overall The Japanese food may not be what a foreigner in Japan wants to or is used to eating so be ready for that when it's dinner time. I found the Japanese breakfast enjoyable and huge but the western one small and bland. The location of this can't be beat as it's right in the middle of gion. Go out and explore after dinner. You should expect to get a tour of the hotel and tea ceremony while you stay. Keep in mind that the hotel is very old and some of the rooms are small and may let in mosquitoes during the summer months. It is not a suitable place for small children or those with mobility problems (you will be sleeping, sitting and eating on the floor).

Still, I'd come back to Yoshi Ima in the future.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank gittelbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2011

I booked this with Japanican with Shinkansen tickets from Tokyo. I was a bit hesitant given the reviews here, but I really enjoyed my stay.
I had been to Kyoto several times and decided it was time to stay in a ryokan. My trip (which I did not realize) was over the Gion Matsuri festival.
My single room consisted of a tatami mat room with a low table and a chair back (no legs), TV, basic bath (toilet and shower/tub). A futon was laid out at night.
The staff spoke enough english that I understood everything. Yes you leave your shoes at the front door, wear slippers in the hall, and only stocking feet in the tatami room.
I arrived at 4 pm and was asked what time I wanted dinner and whether I wanted a western or Japanese breakfast (I went for the Japanese and did not regret it) and the time. The only issue then is you are locked into those times. The food I thought was VERY high quality. One night I had sort of a Kaiseki dinner of different foods (sashimi, tempura, grilled fish, etc). The next night was beef sukiayki.
The entire staff was really nice. Most spoke enough English and some excellent English. I had 2 different maids on the 2 nights I stayed there that brought meals-- both were really nice. All in all, I think the Gion Yoshi-Ima is a good choice IF you want a ryokan experience. It is different than a hotel. I am glad I stayed there, And all in all, I think it is a pretty good value given the quality of the meals served.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled solo
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2  Thank cliburn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2010

The "traditional Japanese" is in fact a rather low level facility, such as you may find in a third world country. The room has no chair, no desk, no place to relax until the fouton bed is laid down for the night.

Most objectionable is that the meals are served in your room. She cooked the supper which was tasty but which left the room smelling kitchen all night! i found this disgusting!

In short: overpriced, uncomfortable.

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled solo
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2  Thank hoofer2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 29, 2010

I am writing this review from the perspective of a Western traveler who stayed at a ryokan for the novelty experience only. I would recommend reading up on exactly what goes on at such a hotel if you aren't aware. It's a very different way of spending a night.

Having never stayed at a ryokan before (and not since), it's difficult to compare this one to others. So, I will say that I enjoyed this hotel, but almost solely for the service, which I suppose is the main benefit of a ryokan.

Our dinner was a great experience, despite me not knowing half of what I was eating. What I did know of what I was eating was excellent. There were about 15 small courses and they were all beautifully presented in the peaceful setting of our room. The service was exceptional, and the man who runs the place speaks great English, which is a bigger bonus than I would have thought.

The location was perfect, by the way. Within walking distance to most of Kyoto's east side attractions, and pretty much right in the middle of the nightlife scene.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with friends
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1  Thank twjared
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Gion Yoshi-ima

Address: 229-2 Nishinocho, Yamato-Oji Higashi-Iru, Shinmonzen, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0088, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Gion
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#24 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range: $197 - $421 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Gion Yoshi-ima 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Gion Yoshi-Ima Hotel Kyoto

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