Stayed at Yoshi-Ima for one night in January 2012. Was looking forward to a traditional cultural experience and it did not disappoint!
On arrival, we were asked to remove our shoes which were then whisked away by the staff. We were then invited to put on some slippers. The bottom of my bag was wiped (wheels) to preserve cleanliness of the entrance hall.
We were shown to our room by a lovely "maid". Once in the room we were shown the western style shower with wooden bath, western style toilet (with seat warmer etc) and an alcove for us to store our bags. The bathroom has Shsiedo Tsubaki products available for use. Once in the actual room, there are no slippers allowed.
The room includes Japanese robes/gowns with obi belts which you are encouraged to wear while in and around the ryokan.
Our room was simple with tatami mats and also a little side room looking out onto the garden with two seats and mirror for getting ready. There was a low table and chairs set up in the centre of the main room. The room is air conditioned but as it was a particularly chilly evening we had an additional gas heater by the table as we ate. There is also a TV in the room.
Once seated, we were immediately offered sweets and a cup of green tea. We were then asked what time we would like dinner to be served (the options being 6.30pm or 7pm). Also we were asked to choose the style of breakfast we would prefer the next morning either Western or Japanese. The times for which breakfast can be served are 7.30am, 8am or 8.30am.
Dinner was served promptly by the two "maids". There were 9 dishes in total including; sashimi, pickles, stew, soup, rice and tempura, to name a few. There was always green tea available on hand. The "maids" left the room once all the dishes had been served so that you can enjoy it all.
A family bath is available from 4pm to 11pm which can be booked via reception.
At 8pm we had the pleasure of learning about the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Hiroya Shimizu (the manager) gave us a detailed account of the tea ceremony ritual, history and customs when attending a tea house. We were then invited into the traditional tea house through the side door. In the tea house, we had a red bean sweet and served steaming hot cups of green tea made from powder and stirred by a wooden whisk.
When we returned to our room, the dishes and table had all been cleared and our futons for the night had been laid down. The beds were very comfortable and I got a very good night's sleep.
In the morning, the maids knocked at our door a few minutes before our requested breakfast time to clear away our bedding and set up the table once more.
We opted for the Japanese breakfast option and it was again a feast. We had rice, miso soup, small grilled fish, pickles, tofu, bean curd and glass noodles.
On check out, we were presented with parting gifts of chopsticks and cards. The whole experience was wonderful. The staff in particular deserve a special mention. They were polite, patient with our questions, explained what all the food was and spoke very good English! One of us even had special dietary requirements and it was not an issue (alternatives were simply used in place of the usual options). The location is amazing, close to Shinbashi Street, the Geisha quarter. Also very easy to find and handy to public transport.
I highly recommend this ryokan if you want a truly wonderful, friendly and affordable experience. O-kini Yoshi-Ima!
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- Also Known As:
- Gion Yoshi-Ima Hotel Kyoto