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“Truly a once in a lifetime experience”

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Yoshikawa Inn Tempra
Ranked #90 of 366 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
142 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
“Truly a once in a lifetime experience”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

I knew I was in for a special experience from the moment we were welcomed at the Inn. We were tired from a long day of travel from Tokyo and a bit chilly (Kyoto is decidedly cooler than Tokyo) from the walk from the subway station, so it was like a slice of heaven to be greeted into the warm lobby by a team of welcoming attendants, sat by a steaming fire, and handed a delicious cup of tea. The next three days were filled with experiences like this...the staff anticipates your every need and then exceeds your expectations. It's like having 6 doting mothers care for you in every possible way. For example - I became sick with a respiratory infection and let them know... they found an English-speaking doctor for me within a few blocks, and when I returned, they knew I would want to rest so my bed was laid out for me, the room lights were dimmed, the room temperature adjusted warmed, and a robe and slippers were set out for me. The rest of the time spent there was just as special - tea and snacks brought to your room, wonderful meals prepared for you, etc. The Inn itself is sparse and beautiful. It is a wonderful mixture of traditional elements and modern/luxury appointments. Certainly the cost is very high, but again - this is a once in a lifetime experience. Fair warning - we did not realize that the alcohol would be charged separately and only discovered this when we received our final bill.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank Rich M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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70 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Thousand Oaks, California
Level Contributor
42 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed May 18, 2012

Yes, it was $1,100 per night, which is pricey, even for a ryokan (unlike another reviewer, we knew this was the price beforehand as it was what they quoted, and paid in advance). But, it was worth every JPY, USD, or whatever currency you want to convert it into.

Our room was smallish, but it was big enough and had an engawa (small landing off the room) that opened up into the garden, where all we could see was the garden, and a few lights from the other parts of the ryokan. We took a walk around the garden, which took all of 5 minutes - we were surprised at how small it was, but it felt so spacious and secluded viewing the garden from our room! The table in the room has a recess under it so that those of us who can't sit traditional Japanese style can be comfortable too. Our private bathroom with cedar soaking tub was wonderful.

The service was impeccable... they served us tea as soon as we walked in, more tea when we got to our room... it definitely made us take a breath and start to relax. We had a chance to bathe and change, and sit on the engawa before they served us dinner. Dinner was brought in one dish at a time, and they encouraged us to savor and enjoy each course. The food was beautifully prepared, and delicious. After dinner, we just sat on the engawa and listened to the quiet, and the rain. Despite being very close to a main thoroughfare, the ryokan was very quiet. Breakfast was served in a small dining room, but again, we were alone. Big delicious Japanese breakfast, more than we could eat. We felt sufficiently fortified for the rest of our day.

The staff were fantastic. Paid attention to every detail, and anticipated what we wanted or needed even before we realized it. Wonderful, personable, helpful, patient. We absolutely loved our stay at Yoshikawa Ryokan, and would heartily recommend it.

Room Tip: Room 12 - seems smallish, but tucked away and private. Just lovely.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Gwen_G8990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
144 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2012

The Yoshikawa is a ryokan (Japanese inn) in central Kyoto, but has a restaurant attached. We have not stayed at the inn, but we have eaten there twice - once in the tempura bar a few years ago, and in early January 2011, we had kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine) in a small upstairs room. Both occasions were simply superb. The small downstairs tempura bar forms a U around the open kitchen, where the chef works his magic. His tempura batter was the lightest I have ever tasted, and the ingredients were delicious and totally fresh. The kaiseki experience was something we will remember always, up there with dinner at L’Arpege in Paris. The room, which featured mats with backs rather than chairs, was simple but beautifully appointed, as well as being totally quiet. Two traditionally dressed Japanese hostesses made sure we were totally comfortable, and served a succession of small delicious and beautifully arranged dishes featuring mainly fish and vegetables. Our (mostly) vegetarian daughter was in heaven. For those who want to experience the pinnacle of Japanese cuisine, this is it. Be advised, it is very expensive (but worth every penny).

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Fell0w_Traveller49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed November 7, 2011

We spent one night at Yoshikawa Inn during our three nights in Kyoto.

The ryokan is well appointed, set around a small central garden and carp pond, and tucked away on a side street in central Kyoto.

As with the other ryokans we stayed at, the welcome from the staff was very warm and courteous. Our room was the largest of any ryokan we had stayed in, with a well equipped bathroom and a nice view over the garden and pond.

Yoshikawa is famed for its tempura and this did feature in our kaiseki dinner menu, though the other courses were equally delicious.

So far so good...and everything was fine until we came to pay the bill on check out. At ¥35,000 per person per night this was already the most expensive place we were staying during our Japan holiday, and I knew that a 5% tax would be added to this. What I hadn't counted on, however, was a 15% service charge (service charge is essentially unheard of in Japan) and a ¥3,000 supplement for one course where there was a choice of dishes. The supplement was never explained to us.

So, ¥90,000/£750/$1,100 for one night. These unexpected costs regrettably left us immensely disappointed and a bit ripped off at the end of what should have been one of the highlights of our trip.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
24 Thank cherylanddavid2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, ON
Level Contributor
16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2011

This is a true Ryokan experience. It was hands down the best place we stayed in all of Japan; and we stayed at various beautiful five star hotels along our journey. Given this was a bit of a splurge (we spend just over $1,000 for one night) we opted to stay only one night here for the experience, and wished we had of stayed for longer. This stay was worth every penny. The ladies at the Inn were so wonderful, sweet and helpful. The Yoshikawa Tempura was incredible and we met some very interesting and friendly locals during our dinner there (who said this was the best tempura in all of Kyoto... we didn't doubt it after our meal). The gardens on the grounds were pretty and well taken care of. I cannot recommend this ryokan highly enough.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank DuffyEh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
abu dhabi
Level Contributor
113 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2011

An unforgettable experience. Unique. This place is billed as one of the best high end ryokans open to westerners, hidden away, and like all the best things in Japan, almost invisible halfway down a traditional Kyoto street. Staying here is one of the best things we did in Japan. Try the special cuisine, served by your own Geisha ladies in a private setting, Kaiseki Ryori, the multi course traditional dining, is challenging food even by Japanese standards, but hugely worth it to properly immerse yourself in this incredible place. We sat, knees folded under in our robes, served a series of seriously bizarre and intriguing dishes by two Geisha ladies. One of them then came and played music for us. Quite perfect, quite surreal.
The Yoshikawa feels like it has remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Personal, tranquil, set around exquisite gardens, and so peaceful you could quite literally hear a pin drop. The ladies in charge spoke virtually no English, and communicated with gentle hand gestures and tolerant smiles. I don't think I have ever seen anyone look so horrified as they did when we arrived muddy and wet from a Kyoto downpour. Traditional Japanese Ryokan's don't come any better than this one, we stayed in several on an extensive trip and this outweighed them all - the traditional high end Kyoto fare was the most bonkers meal I have ever eaten, presented like the finest artworks, and almost too beautiful to eat! Breakfast was, like everywhere in Japan, utterly revolting - beef stock and raw fish etc.
The tatami rooms, private cedar wood onsen etc all come together to deliver the ultimate, timeless Japanese experience. Service doesn't really do justice to the way you are taken care of by your own Geisha here - they anticipated all our requirements - service was silently perfect. They even sneaked in a copy of The Times folded in some intricate origami style into a delicate sleeve - totally un-noticed while we slept.
Take a book. Take your shoes off, and leave the C21st outside. Utter bliss. If you go to Kyoto, stay here. (We stayed here in 2008 - but the drop down only allows for a 2010 review - I just took a long time to get around to writing this!)

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank bakingcakes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Anderson, South Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2010

Hello Travelers, I stayed here in October/Nov 1968. The visit was like a dream come true. I hope to return before I die. I owe them a favor. Then, you could get 360 yen for a $1. And, now the fee will be more but you will get your Yen worth. The garden is fantastic. The service is perfect. Stay no where but here if you truly want to say you have been to Kyoto, Japan !!! 5 star rating by me. www.timwilliams.biz anderson, sc usa......tim williams

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
4 Thank timwilliamsbiz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Yoshikawa Inn Tempra

Property: Yoshikawa Inn Tempra
Address: 135 Matsushitacho, Tomikojidori, Oike Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8093, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > City Center , Kawaramachi / Karasuma / Shijo Omiya
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#24 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Number of rooms: 8
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Also Known As:
Yoshikawa Hotel Kyoto

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