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“Great service, great traditional japanese food, great experience and very pricey”
Review of Tamahan

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Tamahan
Ranked #191 of 376 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 26, 2012

We paid for the breakfast and dinner kaiseki which was always served on time and fresh. You should be very open minded if you opt for the traditional kaiseki food as it was definately not for the classic north american pallet. Personally, we found the food exceptionally good as each new dish was an exciting new surprise which we looked forward to! You never know what was coming next.

The atmosphere was amazing with the traditional japanese paper walls, tatami floors in the bedroom and dining room, floor seats/table, traditional japanese shower (wooden soaking tub) and futon-like beds. The sheets were always clean and fresh as were the traditional japanese house robes that were supplied for us. No shoes were allowed in this ryokan. The geisha dressed staff/owner prepared our beds after serving dinner and removed the beds after serving breakfast. She asked permission before doing this.

Alcoholic drinks are not included in the price of the room and you don't know that you were charged extra until you check out. Small sake order is an extra Y1000.

A taxi from Kyoto Station to the Tamahan is Y1200 and relatively close to Gion (geisha district).

Pricey yes (Y90 000/2 nights/2 people/2 breakfast/2 dinner), the but price was reasonable in comparison to other ryokans.

Room Tip: Get the private bathroom (there is an option for a shared bathroom with other guests but it takes aw...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank LeanneCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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55 - 61 of 95 reviews

Reviewed March 29, 2011

Three adults staying in one room. At Y55,000 ($668) for one night (inc breakfast, ex dinner), this was a very pricey accommodation. On the plus side, the room we received had its own private garden and toilet (no heat). The mother/daughter hosts were very helpful and the inn was close to Gion. The cost of dinner was a small additional charge but unfortunately we already had plans for dinner.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank HKFoodie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2010

I stayed at the Tamahan ryokan with a friend while in Kyoto for a week in May and had an absolutely wonderful time. The service was great and very friendly, the ryokan was beautiful and spotlessly clean, and the food was exactly what we'd expected. The location of the ryokan was also very convenient - walking distance from most places, right near a beautiful temple etc.

As other posters have commented, the staff's English is not stellar, but we found that to be no problem at all - they can explain all the essentials, and their kindness and efficiency more than makes up for that minor drawback. They maintain the rooms beautifully, can set up and clear up the futon beds very quickly, and run piping hot traditional baths without troubling you at all. (Speaking of the baths, they were incredible, and I'm decidedly a shower person!)

Our room was lovely, large enough, beautiful view of the garden, decorated traditionally. Contrary to what others have said, I found the futon beds to be very comfortable. The internet was very slow, but that might have changed since May (and with Blackberries and iPhones, you can make do without for a few days).

As some have mentioned, the food is perhaps not the most suited to Western tastes (especially if you, like me, do not like very fishy/salty foods), but we braved it through six Japanese breakfasts and 4 dinners, giving in to the American/Western option only once! Also, as there are so many dishes to the Kaiseki meal, you can definitely find a few pleasing options :) Also, no need to stay in every night! And we hadn't chosen the Tamahan ryokan for its food...

All in all, we had an absolutely fantastic stay at the beautiful Tamahan Ryokan and would be more than happy to return again! Though some posters have mentioned a bad room, it seems that you can avoid that one by saying you don't want the one with two floors or if you ask for rooms with a view of the garden :) We had no noise (or sight) pollution whatsoever, and nothing to complain of at all!

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank NewYorkdaniela
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2010

We just enjoyed a 3 night stay at this ryokan despite mixed reviews-and all 3 of us-staying in different rooms, loved it. The food is too much, but that was nice, in case you didn't care for everything that was brought out. The staff are incredibly nice and very good at explaining how to eat which pieces and behave in a ryokan despite their (very) limited English. The rooms are not all created equal, I believe I had the nicest, but they were all enjoyable. Having the bath water ran for you at night was particularly welcoming. The outside garden is also lovely, though as a previous poster noted there is no view from your private bath. We all had the short legged tables in our room- I had a separate sitting place with full chairs, and the nicest (of the 3 rooms) flat-screen TV -which I never used. I also wanted to mention that we didn't have the same experience as the previous poster, everything was incredibly peaceful/quiet (no street noise). I was in a room under one of my coworkers, however, and I could hear him walk around in the room upstairs.

We were thankfully able to choose the western style breakfast, which was pretty good. It did include a salad, which seemed a little odd to me, but it was alright.

My only complaint would be that it can be hard to sleep on the futon/floor. Also, not being an enormous sushi fan, after the 2nd night (which was also my 8th consecutive night in Japan), I had tired of the Kaiseki meals.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience and had everything we needed (perfect central location, availability for single guests, private baths/western style toilets)

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled on business
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1  Thank Jennifer07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 12, 2009

I stayed in this Ryokan for 1 night in November. I choose this place after some positive reviews that I had read, but unfortunately I didn't get the experience that I was hoping for.

Firstly, the location of the Ryokan is fantastic. It's in this little lane way and it's really close to the shops and places of interest like sight-seeing areas so that was great.

The Ryokan is really nice.. it has some beautiful gardens and I really enjoyed the old Japanese feel of the place. I was extremely disappointed when I got to my room though. I had seen pictures and read some great reviews about the place, but my room was an absolute dud. It looked nothing like the pictures and it just completely lacked personality and any special touches. I think I got the worst room in the entire place! The room had a really bad atmosphere. Seeing the TV in the corner didn't help either.. And with the price I paid for this room I was really disappointed that the room was lacking!

The dinner and breakfast that I had was massive. You get so much food!! It was way too much, but it was fun to try traditional Japanese meals. A lot of the food I couldn't eat though..it was beyond my tastes, but that's just me! ;-)

The service was great though. The ladies were very friendly throughout my stay, but the english isn't very good so it was really difficult to communicate with them..I guess that added to the fun!

Overall, I would not recommend this Ryokan to anyone. The room was just too much of a disappointment. It really lacked personality and the view of the garden was pretty bad. Also, the room faced the street, the windows were thin so I had to listen to people walking by and having conversations outside the Ryokan until about 2am. So that wasn't very enjoyable! This Ryokan is NOT good value for money.

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled solo
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8  Thank abeilleee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 18, 2009

We loved the place as soon as we walked in. The room was huge and it lead to a beautiful garden. The best was the bath/shower, we really enjoyed it. I agree with one of the reviewers that the dinner was too much, not only in quantity but there is only so much fish that you can eat. All in all we liked the experience but I found it way too expensive for what it is.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled with family
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Thank CVAOxford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2009

I was so excited about our first time staying in a ryokan... but I'm afraid I was sorely disappointed with the Tamahan. Now I'm looking through other reviews and photos and I think perhaps we just got a really bad deal... I see that one other reviewer had the same experience as us. Clearly, not all rooms are equal and we drew the short straw for our two night stay.

Our room was split level, with the bedroom upstairs. The bedroom was as we expected (although tiny!), although no view of the promised garden - rather of some air conditioning units on the roof!

Downstairs (poky little staircase with old faded carpet and fire exit signs) was our dining area - but where was the cute little legless table and chairs? No, we had a normal dining table in a room with an old TV stuffed in the corner, no windows and stark overhead lighting. We sat in there for dinner for 2 1/2 hours with no atmosphere at all... i have to say at this point we were pretty miserable and regretting not having booked into the Hyatt which woud have cost HALF the price.

The bathroom unfortunately reminded me of a 1970s B&B that hasn't been refurbed.

Now I know that a ryokan isn't all about luxury etc - but we were paying $500 (US) a night to stay here!!! I've stayed at Peninsualas and Mandarin Orientals around the world for cheaper. We were in absolute shock when we arrived that we were paying this kind of money for the quality of our room - it was laughable.

We are massive foodies and had been looking forward to our kaiseki meal for weeks - this also disappointed us I'm afraid - we ate fantastically during our time in Japan, whether at a fine-dining restaurant, an informal izakaya or street-side yakitori and I'm afraid this meal was the biggest disappointment. We cancelled dinner on the second night (if only to avoid having to sit in that awful dining room all over again) and went to a local izakaya instead.

So what was right with it? well the staff were fantastic - really lovely and welcoming. They had filled our bath up for us when we came in from sightseeing which was very welcoming. The ladies who brought our endless procession of dishes were very sweet and managed to sign language to us how we were to eat everything. When we left, they followed us out into the street until we got a taxi and bowed to us until we were out of sight.

I feel bad writing such a negative review because of them - but I was so so disappointed with the experience having been looking forward to it so much. I am sure if you manage to get one of the bigger/nicer rooms with a view it would be a different experience all togehter.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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14  Thank anonnymouseSingapore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tamahan

Address: 477 Gion Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0825, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Hotel Style:
#23 Romantic Hotel in Kyoto
#82 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range: $323 - $746 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Tamahan 3.5*
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
Tamahan Hotel Kyoto

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