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“Give & take”
Review of Kikokuso

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Kikokuso
Ranked #90 of 379 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 2, 2012

This is part 2 of our Takayama-Kyoto-Osaka Nov 2012 trip.

Having spent an earlier 4 nights in another ryokan in Takayama and 3 nites in Osaka after this stay (and also a previous trip 5 years back thru the same route), it may seem a little unfair for us to make comparison between our stay here & in Takayama/Osaka. However, I hope the inn's generous hospitality, great location and food, would be able to convince/overcome any doubts or naysaying from my posting.

First off, location wise it's a pretty nice neighbourhood, away from the city's vehicular & human traffic, but yet it is within walking distance to the Kyoto Central train station, accessible to the subway & buses, nearby laundromat, easy access to Kawaramachi area (food & shopping) & the Gion area.

Accomodation: Our family of 6 were very happy with the 1st floor large room with separate sleeping & dining area. The beds and comforters were great (much more comfortable than our Takayama stay :p). As mentioned by other reviewers, the shared toilet & bathroom facility takes a little getting used to (as well as some graciousness and understanding by fellow guests). The inn's 4-5 room capacity (some with ensuite) and a little sleep sacrifice goes a long way in the toilet/bathroom sharing. The bath area is actively looked after by the inn owner ensuring that it is well upkept & tidy for use by the next party.

We love the garden and koi pond. I had spent many quiet minutes sitting next to the glass panel (while waiting for my turn at the bath) admiring the quiet & tranquil landscape: seeking the zen-ness and appreciating the very peaceful lives of the 5-6 fat koi fishes ... ah .... what would I give to be able to do that again :)

Meals: we only had 2 nites of dinner, which we were lucky enough to be served in their private dining room. The Shabu Shabu dinner served on our last night was a lesson in the Japanese way of preparing & appreciating the fine art of Japanese dining. Together with local sake & wonderful local seasonal fruits, we had a wonderful hour & a half long session of family bonding, feasting and sharing stories with the host.

Breakfast was served in the room and again we had the chance to savour local pickles and dried fish. My daughter's only grumble was that they didn't have a rice pot on standby for extra servings .... I told her to watch her waistline.


The ryokan has been around for at least 7 generations and it is currently managed by the dedicated team of the elder couple with their son & daughter-in-law. Hopefully, the tradition will continue with the young couple's 2 children.

Thanks for the memory.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank ArthurC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 20, 2012

After spending an enormous amount of time browsing through reviews for ryokans (tough job!) i decided on this one as our most expensive one to stay in. We stayed in various different minshukus and various prices of ryokans during our stay.

Kikokuso is a bit pricey, but worth it and i'll definitely go back! It's a small traditional ryokan, and has a very homey feeling. only 5 rooms in total i think, only one of them have an en suite and i think a private bath. The other 4 rooms share toilets downstairs and a bath. I was a bit disappointed that after paying so much i did not get an ensuite, but it wasnt such a big deal after all. The only downside is the there's only 1 female western toilet (there's a japanese style toilet as well) but then i didnt have to wait at all when using it.

It's a family run business, of a few generations, i think it's 100 years old. The family that run it is super duper hospitable and go all out to make your stay as comfortable as possible. They are awesome people that show pride in the hospitabilitiy and warmthness of Japanese people. They could speak pretty good english too. We even got driven to the train station for our next journey! How awesome is that?

Our room had a small balcony which faced a small japanese garden with a waterfall - fantastic fung shui! The food was sensational too - its kaiseki style food - the bulk of your bill is to pay for dinner (around 100 dollars for dinner itself). The only disappointment i had was there was no desert - only fruits. :(

All in all, good value for money, and definitely deserved the tripadvisor prize!!

Room Tip: dont worry if you do not get the ensuite
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank JamL12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 22, 2012

Spent 5 days, in October. Family run traditional ryokan, very genuine in providing help. The couple and three children ( I think they are the owner’s children, but did not ask) speak enough English so that communication is sufficient for comfort and avoidance of misunderstanding. Above all, everything is so well meant that is overcomes the less than perfect syntax. Very warm welcome and support all along the stay. They drove my guide and I to the station the last morning. They assisted with packaging a box for shipping to Canada.
Traditional Japanese house, with moderately spacious ( by Japanese standards ) inner yard garden. My room had a 5 panels direct view on that garden, from the first flood ( above the main floor). Gorgeous. Three Japanese stone lanterns, a water fall, big rocks, a small bridge, and 6 one and a half foot long Japanese carps in the pound ( koi, typical Japanese fish). Many smaller ones also. You get asleep at night by the song of the waterfall: a luxury.
Location is ideal: 10-15 minutes from Kyoto Station by foot.
Had 5 breakfasts there, alternating between western and Japanese menu. Both are excellent. Had a ryokan dinner, a quite extensive traditional menu, worth trying, although not for travellers on a tight budget ( 8 500 yens, or 106 can $ ).
The accommodation itself is at a reasonable price, for a traditional ryokan. 13 200 yens per night, without private bathroom ( I come back on this below). My hired professional tourist guide, Kyoto-based, said this is cheap for value, compared to the rest of the market. I consider I got plenty for my money. Room spacious enough for my needs.
I was apprehensive about the lack of private bathroom. They have rooms with ensuite, but I did not reserve early enough. Finally, things worked out very well, which is a big thing to say coming from me, with a complex multistep grooming routine in the morning. There is a small sink area at the entrance of the ghest’s room, which makes this possible and convenient.
The bathroom is Japanese style, and worked out beyond my expectations ( first time use of a Japanese bath room, for me). The shower can be hung up high enough so that one can take a shower the usual way, and they provide very good soaps, varied types. Then, there is the Japanese half body bath. The design is pleasant, they recreate a spa-type rocky environment. On a very small scale, but well built and pleasant. I was not really interested in Japanese baths from the start, to the point of not using the Japanese bath at a onsen resort in Nikko last week (a traditional Japanese resort specialised with thermal hot springs, extensive spa, pools, etc, very high standards). Here, on a more private tone, I got myself acclimated to this Japanese delicacy.
So, this is a highlight of my trip to Japan. Would come back here, and certainly recommend to anyone interested in an authentic Japanese experience.

Room Tip: book early if you wish a room with ensuite. The room I had did not have ensuite, but a whole wall (5...
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  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled solo
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Thank 88puffin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

We stayed three nights at Kikukosu and were very happy. The place is a genuine traditional ryokan. Our room, while not cheap, was spacious, spotlessly clean and beautifully presented.

The ryokan is in good location between downtown and the train station. Every time you get home, there is a fresh tray with sencha, hot water and a teapot for your own tea ceremony.

The ryokan has a lovely wooden hallway and traditional Japanese garden. With only eight or so rooms, it has a home-away-from home feeling, and the service is very personalised.

The service is warm and welcoming, and staff speak more than enough English to get by.

We stayed in a room without a private bathroom, but the communal onsen was perfectly fine and we got very clear instructions about how to use it! It's worth noting you either need to book a time to use the onsen or wait your turn - though we never had to wait longer than half an hour and it didn't bother us in the slightest. The onsen bath is a great place to soak weary legs after a long day of walking!

Overall, if you're looking to stay in a ryokan in Kyoto, this is an outstanding place and you won't be disappointed.

Room Tip: A eight to twelve tatami mat room is very spacious and provided more than enough room for two of us.
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank exploradoraLK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2012 via mobile

I walked to Kikuso in the rain. I entered and was greeted by a smiling innkeeper, Mr Yoshimura, who runs it along with his wife. He handed me a towel to dry off and got another member of his staff to take my luggage to my room. I took my shoes off in the foyer. Then, in my room, I enjoyed a wonderful tea service with a succinct explanation of the type of Japanese tea. Mrs Yoshimura told me that it was time for a bath and pointed to the Gujarat (Japanese robe). I unwrapped it; it was unbelievably crisp, clean, and fresh. Mrs Yoshimura explained how to take a Japanese bath. I followed her instructions. I had a kaseiki dinner in my room with something like 13 different dishes, plus sake (note that sake costs extra). The staff unfolded a futon and made it for me. The meal put me to sleep. I slept (but in all honesty, sleeping on a Japanese futon is as it looks - thin and kind of hard, so if you like that, like I do, then it is no problem). I woke up and ate a giant Japanese breakfast. It kept me fulfilled until 2 pm that day. All in all, this ryokan is fabulous, and not nearly as expensive as some of the others in the city. Go for the full deal, with dinner and breakfast!

  • Stayed: September 2012
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2  Thank Jesse C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2012

I had stayed in a "Ryokan" in Tokyo, but it basically was a converted small hotel, so not particularly authentic. So for our visit to Kyoto, I wanted to stay somewhere nice and more traditional.

I was not disappointed with the experience at Kikokuso. It is a very pleasant place to stay, and provides an immersive Japanese experience.

The staff were very polite and friendly. They helped to explain all the protocols, which was a great hands-on way to learn about Japanese traditions - a lot better than just reading a guidebook about them!

The rooms were very nice. Our room overlooked the picturesque garden inside. We had a shared bathroom, which I think helped to add to the experience there. We did have problems with a door falling off the slider, but that may have been the way we opened the door.

The traditional bath was very welcoming, especially on the rainy day we were there.

Eating the multi-course meals Japanese style was definitely a highlight.

It isn't cheap, so it is not the place to stay if you are just looking for a place to sleep, but is great if you want to experience more of Japan than what you would get at a top hotel.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank KiwiMikey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2012

Stayed for 1 night in July 2012. Wish we'd stayed longer - what an amazing experience! We booked the room with private ensuite and were not at all disappointed. The highlight was our hosts and the Japanese style breakfast (an optional extra; maybe not everyone's taste but it's worth trying at least once. Personally, I loved it). Every effort was made to make us feel at home and we certainly did. They really went above and beyond. The room was very spacious and comfortable. This was our first time to Japan and we wanted an authentic experience - we definitely felt like we got that here. Also, the hosts spoke at least basic English, which comes in handy of course.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this ryokan to anyone and everyone. Whether you're here alone or with a friend/partner or your family, you really can't go wrong with this one. Worth every cent (or yen, rather!) Our hosts even drove us to Kyoto Station on the morning of our departure so we didn't have to walk in the heat.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Ellie E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kikokuso

Address: Kawaramachi Shichijo Agaru Hitosujime Nishi Iru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8143, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Shimogyo-ku
Amenities:
Room Service
Hotel Style:
#24 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range: $169 - $285 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
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Also Known As:
Kikokuso Hotel Kyoto

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