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“A taste of culture”
Review of Ryokan Shimizu

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Ryokan Shimizu
Ranked #39 of 369 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
oregon
Level Contributor
83 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“A taste of culture”
Reviewed March 17, 2013

My wife (58 years old) and I (60 years) stayed two days at this very friendly establishment on March 7&8. The staff make you feel very welcome.

We take public transportation when we travel and like to find places convienently located close to the train/bus stations and many restaurants/eaterys. Ryokan Shimizu fits the bill perfectly. This establishment is located about a 10 minute walk from the station down a narrow back street which is very pleasant & quiet. You are greeted immediately when you walk in the front door where you need to remove your shoes and put on the provided slippers. You will only see your shoes again when you leave the establishment.

Our room was located upstairs which was very clean. The bed was a fouton on tatami matts. This is traditional Japanese. This was the only experience I had with a room like this. Being 6'2" it was nice lay down and not have my feet hang off the edge of the bed. In this room you are essentially sitting or lying on the floor. There are no chairs. I thought it odd to find a TV and phone in this room.

The bathroom was very clean but small but a little larger than the bathrooms in the business hotels in Japan. This bathroom had a shower/tub with sink and toilet.

You can purchase breakfast.... which I would advise for one day. This was a Japanese traditional breakfast and the best I had on our 2 week trip in Japan. This breakfast cost 1,050 yen or ($10+). My wife thinks the business hotel breakfasts are better because of more selection.

A big plus about this place is that the Kyoto friendship group has an evening program teaching you to write in konji and dress up in traditional Japense garments located in the dining area. It was a very fun experience providing you great photo opportunities. The friendship group helps welcome folks to Kyoto and also gives the group members an opportunity to practice their english. Everyone's english was very good and easy to understand. This is a must....so remember to sign up and participate, you will not be sorry. We liked our hosts of the friendship group so much that we invited them to come and stay with us when they visit the USA.

Some recommendations for your visit while in Kyoto (besides what you find in tourist books):

1) I wish I can tell you that we started our visit to Kyoto by taking a 5 hour walking tour with Johnnie Hillwalker (the owner of the company). We did not. We should have done it the first day that we arrived. The english speaking tour guide (ours was Emy) will take you through the back streets of Kyoto and provide you essential information about the Buddist & Shinto religions, the former geisha area, the original Nintendo headquarters, and back street small workshops (pottery,fan making shop, cake/candy shop, etc). The tour takes you to visit some temples and shrines. The tour guide information was very helpful and very well done. You will use this information when visiting the temples and shrines on your own which helps provide you a better understanding of the Japanese culture. Our tour only had 7 participants (including us) which was smaller than most. All I can say is that Emy was wonderful in answering our questions and made this very special for all who attended. Don't make the same mistake we did. Do the tour first. I guarentee you wil be thanking me. The tour begins at 10:00am at the front of the Aqua Fantasy shop near the north entrance to JR Kyoto Station. Our tour ended at about 3:30pm. The cost is 2,000 yen ($20+). Lunch is not provided, however, Emy took us to a small restuarant in a building. The restuarant employees are physically disabled employees. I hope that you get Emy as your tour guide. This same company offers a night tour of the elegant Gion District. I wished we could have experienced this but I will have to read about it in one of your reviews.

2) During your stay visit the Nishijin Textile Center. Here we found a hidden treasure by watching and talking to arisans who design Kimonos. I am not into fashion, but I thoroughly enjoyed talking to the guys/gals who are the aritisans who develop the designs for fabric, carve stencil designs for the fabric prints, iron and fold the komono. Wow, lots of work goes into this process which explains the high cost, up to $50,000 for one komono. There is a fashion show about 3 times a day. We watched this show and it was great. My wife really appreciated me taking her to this place it was indeed a glimpse into Japanese tradition. There is a large gift shop upstairs which contained unusual items made of silk. Across the street is a nice bakery. The bus stop is close to this textile center in the working portion of Tokyo which is easy to get on/off the bus. Caution, you will need to watch for bicyclists who are on the sidewalks.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank redrob45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stayed here for 3 nights, and it was the best place we stayed (out of three) during our trip to the Osaka/Kyoto area.

The staff spoke good English, and were extremely helpful. That included reminding us about bad weather, loaning us an umbrella, providing maps of local attractions, providing tea in the evening, and even speaking with someone we had a hard time communicating with.

The staff went above and beyond what we could have asked for.

There was also an unexpected activity time. 1 hour each evening, the staff invited the guests to get together to learn some of the local language, paint in Japanese (Kanji, I believe it's called), and try on some Kimonos.

The bedroom was spacious for Japanese standards.

*FYI, you will be sleeping on thin mattresses (on the floor), which is traditional. It is the equivalent of a firm mattress, but we found it comfortable. Both comforters and duvets were provided.

There was also a bathroom and shower provided in each room.

Wi-fi was included, and fast (which wasn't the case everywhere else we went).

We would highly recommend them, and will visit again if we are ever in the area.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johor Bahru, Malaysia
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We love this little ryokon. In view of location, there are easy accessible to local train station and other world heritage destination within walking distance between 5-10 minutes. Besides, there are many food outlets and choices from cheap to expensive within walking distance.
Room and services are tip top quality and we enjoyed the evening activities such as Japanese lesson and calligraphy that organized by the host.
We will come back here in future and thank you Ms Yoko and the rest!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank jsylee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We stayed for two nights at this fantastic ryokan. It's is placed very close to the train station and in central location for accessing kyotos best sights. The staff there are ridiculously friendly and very helpful. Our whole stay was made a pleasure by everyone there and experiencing a true japanese ryokan was a breeze as everyone speaks fluent English!

Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Jonathan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 14, 2013

In a quiet lane close to kyoto station restaraunts and main bus depot this traditional ryokan was perfectly situated for exploring kyotos beautiful temples and castle. We hired bicycles from the hotel and road out through the city and along the river to the silver pagoda and philosophers walk. The city is flat and easy to get around and would have done more exploring this way had we had more time. The staff were very helpful with maps and advice.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
Reviewed February 14, 2013

The first thing that stood out to me during my stay was how fantastic the staff were. They all speak fluent English, and were all too happy to help out wherever they could. They even offered to translate for us when my partner was sick, so that she could get the correct medication at the pharmacy.
In terms of the accommodation, it was clean, comfortable, and authentic, and very close to the Kyoto station, and all of its attractions. I also really enjoyed the free activities that the staff provide - my favourite being learning to write a few words in Katakana and Kanji.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
51 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2013

Ryokan Shimizu is an easy 5-10 minute walk from the main Kyoto train station. The staff were really friendly, and all spoke good English, which made our arrival in Japan a bit easier. They gave us the run-down on where we should and should not wear shoes and a few other helpful hints. They were also fantastic in providing a map, providing very affordable bike rental onsite, and giving us hints for interesting 'one-off' things to do, like a new year market that was on for one day only. They were also happy to book a taxi for us one night, and explained to the driver where we wanted to go. Overall, the customer service was great. We didn't partake in them, but they also had some craft classes (calligraphy etc) on-site which sounded fun. The rooms had traditional tatami matting floors (shoes off!), with comfortable futon bedding and a very-Japanese, very-compact bathroom with fancy-pants toilets with loads of buttons. All good fun!

Room Tip: We were on the ground floor, near reception, but despite the paper walls, it was not too noisy at al...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank kato_80_80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ryokan Shimizu

Property: Ryokan Shimizu
Address: 646 Kagiya-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8317, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Shimogyo-ku
Hotel Style:
#9 Best Value Hotel in Kyoto
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Ryokan Shimizu 2.5*
Number of rooms: 12
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Also Known As:
Ryokan Shimizu Hotel Kyoto

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