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“Very nice family place, on the good side of town!”

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Guest House Bola-Bola
Ranked #128 of 346 Specialty lodging in Kyoto
Reviewed December 29, 2009

Our room was very big, the couple who run the place were very relaxed and cool but always service-minded, nice and polite.

We felt like we stayed at a ryokan, with our huge tatami room and the whole homey atmosphere. Nice plants in the garden and a kitchen where you can cook. Free coffee and tea.

The east side of town is where most tourists go because the most famous sites are situated there. We didn’t know anything about the different temples but all we can say is that the day we spent in the area to the west of Kyoto (Arashiyama) was far superior to the day we spent staring into the necks of other tourists on the east side of Kyoto. So don’t worry you are on the wrong side of town. Also you can take a bus over there, it stops right outside Bola Bola. There is also a train and a subway.

We read here that some people were bothered by the track nearby but we didn’t hear anything at all.

Best of all: you can walk to a onsen ten minutes away that is absolutely amazing. For less than 10 € you get to bath indoors and outdoors in lots of different kinds of hot tubes and saunas. Open until midnight and people ages 3-110 were there having a great relaxing time. Very fun experience! If you have a big tattoo you may not be welcome but for small tattoos it seemed ok to just cover them up with a band aid (this onsen/tattoo business has something to do with tradition and the Yakuza).

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank BudgetSwedes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 9, 2009

This small and cute guest house is hidden in the west part of Kyoto (easy accesible by city bus or subway).

The house is designed in a tradition japanese way which is absolutely amazing. The staff is very helpful and kind. Our double room was very spacious, cozy and comfortable. Shared bathroom was exceptionaly clean. Near to the guest house, there are all necessary shops and restaurants.

We enjoyed our stay there very much.

  • Stayed: June 2009, traveled with friends
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3  Thank JiriSimCZ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 24, 2009

Would not recommend staying here if you have only a short time in Kyoto, even though its probably the best price you're going to get. We didnt experience any problems w/train noise or finding the place (in fact we never really heard the pinging and the JR folks at Uzemasa station know exactly where the guest house is and will give you a map to get there), its just that no matter how you slice it, it is NOT near to the average tourist's spots of interest and it took us a good couple of hours to get ourselves down to Kyoto station and on a bus line toward some of the sites. Maybe the City bus from the town is better and we can sometimes be slow, lingering over breakfast at Hagi Coffee, but still, it's far. This is not to say it is not a perfectly lovely place in a perfectly lovely area. And it is just one JR stop from Arashiyama area which was also a nice place to visit. The innkeepers are sweet and the place is immaculate. They provide terrific map of the area with absolutely everything you would want to know about clearly labeled in English. We did not even see any other guest, much less have any competition for the bathroom, and the place was full.

  • Stayed: October 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank mauiinapril
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2009

Stayed at Bola Bola for 2 nights last week after reading the reviews on the tripadvisor web site. We absolutely had an awesome time in Japan and staying at this guesthouse was a really lovely experience. Very cute and homely. The owners are very nice as well. Had a wonderful breakfast at the nearby bakery, Welz !!! Thoroughly recommend this establishment as well as visiting Japan. What a magical place !!!

  • Stayed: September 2009, traveled with family
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4  Thank Elizabeth61Melbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 27, 2009

Stayed here for 3 nights and couldn't believe what a bargain it was. It was a really cute guesthouse with a kind and helpful owner. Found the room to be quite large as I was on my own, and there were 2 toilets and showers for guests to share so I never had to wait. Free use of a computer with internet, and a common seating area to meet other people. Location suited me fine - as the nearest station is on the JR line I used my rail pass to get to and from Kyoto station, which was about 15-20mins away. Only one train stop from Arashiyama so great for sightseeing there. Highly recommend this guest house.

  • Stayed: April 2009, traveled solo
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Thank SJ88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2009

My partner and I stayed in Bola Bola for a week in Sept 08, and loved it. The location seemed a little daunting on paper, but once we were there it was no problem at all to find our way between Bola Bola and the tourist attractions. It was a few stops up from Kyoto station on a frequently running train line (for late-night partygoers, about a 2000yen taxi fare), and just one stop down from the sightseeing area of Arashiyama. There was a little walk between the station and Bola Bola, but it's a nice, quiet area, and we made our way there easily with help from the maps on the website.

The owner/manager is super nice, providing hand-drawn maps of the local area showcasing the best places to shop and eat, as well as a calendar of events in Kyoto. The rooms were clean and well-presented, and the guest house itself was an utter treat-- very Japanese, it combined being nice and home-y with being aesthetically pleasing.

The shared bathroom facilities was another issue that worried me on paper but was fine in person. Despite the other guests, we never found ourselves having to wait very long (if at all), and the facilities, while being simple, were clean, hygienic, and pleasant to use.

The small garden area was lovely, and we often found ourselves sitting out there late at night, having a drink and watching the stars. Bonus: the guesthouse dog is totally cute!

Bola Bola is an amazing example of cheap yet pleasant accommodation-- although we stayed at much more expensive/upmarket places during our trip, it was our favourite, and despite the lack of frills we definitely plan to stay there on our next upcoming trip. For budget travellers, this place is a gem.

  • Stayed: September 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Notechis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2009

This guest house is run by a family who were incredibly nice and helpful. Our traditional-style rooms were well-prepared and clean. Also available were kitchen facility, laundry, small lounge, internet + wireless internet. This place is a good opportunity to get experience living in a typical urban household in Kyoto.

Location is good but not great. It is close to a train station and takes about 15-20 min to Kyoto station. As mentioned by other reviewers, train noise was somewhat an issue but tolerable. If you need absolute quiet to sleep, this may not be the best place.

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with friends
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Thank koi8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Guest House Bola-Bola

Address: 25-17 Uzumasa Horigauchi-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8152, Kyoto Prefecture
Location: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Western Kyoto
Hotel Style:
Ranked #128 of 346 Specialty lodging in Kyoto
Price Range: $47 - $74 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
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