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.
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- Also Known As:
- Gion Yoshi-Ima Hotel Kyoto