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.
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- Also Known As:
- Ryokan Shimizu Hotel Kyoto