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“Great first-timers ryokan experience!”
Review of Gion Yoshi-ima

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Gion Yoshi-ima
Ranked #88 of 369 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Auckland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great first-timers ryokan experience!”
Reviewed 10 March 2012

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!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
7 Thank LilZee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Fort Worth, TX
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 January 2012

We got into Gion Yoshi-ima as part of a package deal: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto, and a stay (which we extended for another day) at the ryokan. I was apprehensive at first, but I must say that despite the somewhat steep cost (for the additional night about ¥ 37,000), my loved one and I did not regret it. Gion Yoshi-ima represents the best of traditional hospitality and service, and I can judge that from my previous experience of Japan, having had studied there for quite a number of years. We were lodged in a 6-mat room, just right, with a beautiful view of the garden; in the evening, we saw two large birds roost in the trees right in front of our window… we were told they came from the Kamo River nearby. Service was impeccable. As in any traditional ryokan, breakfast and dinner are served in your room; we naturally went for the Japanese menu. Dinner the first day was kaiseki, nicely prepared (in a good Japanese restaurant, food has to please as much to the eye as to your taste), the second day, shabu-shabu, also very good. In the latter case, there was some lingering smell of the food in the room which some may find objectionable (we did not). The room's bath is adequate but both evenings, we elected to make use of the "family bath" downstairs (you have to make a reservation), a nice, large wooden tub (two will fit in) where in the Japanese manner, after cleaning yourself outside, you enjoy the warmth of the hot water. Ahhh, heavenly… Staff speaks English, it is said, but I didn't check it out, still knowing enough Japanese to make myself understood. Location is ideal: many of the tourist sights are within walking distance: Chi'on-in temple, Heian Shrine, Kiyomizudera temple. I can only highly recommend Gion Yoshi-ima, particularly as part of the package deal offered by some of the Japanese tourist websites such as JAPANiCAN. If you want to experience traditional Japan, try it out… keep an open mind… if not, better stay a western-style hotel.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank DFAvJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Berlin
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2012

This is a ryokan specialized in foreign visitors. The receptionist is very kind, speaks well English and there are no communication problems. The ryokan itself is in the antiques shop street of Kyoto and ideally located to stroll around in Gion quarter. Many neighboring streets are much more idyllic, however, and the building itself consists of a modern concrete and an ancient part. They have a very pretty small garden with a nice tea house. In contrast, the rooms are comparatively cheaply furnitured and would urgently need a makeover. Nothing to do with purist style; just old. Wall to wall carpet is old and walls would need a fresh paint. The dinner served was not of very good quality, you can find much much better in Japan even as a foreigner. The service was very friendly. The futons were appropriately set up and came nicely. In sum, I would assume that Japanese visitors would rank this ryokan fairly poorly, but for foreign visitors and ryokan novices it is a very good opportunity to get familiar with the concept of a ryokan.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
5 Thank BlablaBerlin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 August 2011

Service was good, package included breakfast and dinner which tasted very good. Such a nice treat to be served in your room, from needing the bed, setting up the breakfast table and meals, and finally in the evening, the hotel staff sets up the futon for a good night's sleep. Quite pricey but very good experience to live the Japanese way for a few days. Staff were very helpful and friendly. Also joined their complimentary tea ceremony (which you would usually have to pay and book in other places), very interesting! Tasted very freshly made green tea and small dessert. Lovely! Very relaxing place. Also had a small veranda (covered) in our room, so it's nice to just sit and watch the view of the street, quiet one.

  • Stayed October 2010
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank ithaca12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tucson, Arizona
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 August 2011

I stayed here a few years back with a friend during my first trip to kyoto and loved it. Thus I was super excited to come back again. Yet this time I was a bit disappointed. We opted to use the train to get to the hotel which was not the best of ideas. The directions on the website were not clear and we ended up at the wrong exit.

When I called for directions the original person on the phone did not speak English at a high enough level to understand me and when she put the owner who did speak a high level of English on the phone he didn't have a clue where we were. Thankfully after asking a few people in my broken Japanese we were able to figure it out. If coming here on your own (not with the JTB or tour) TAKE A CAB.

Our room was smaller than the one I had been in before and not quite as clean as I had remembered. There was a large stain on the carpet in the sitting room and the screen on the door to the garden came off the slider when moved. Mold was on the bathroom tiles. I understand this is an old hotel the management should be making sure to perceive it for the future. When I had stayed before I had gotten the impression that this Ryokon was aimed towards foreign visitors to Japan thus the high level of English and the tour of the hotel.

This time around the staff, although really nice, didn't not have much English language skills. I was able to get some things across with the help of some broken Japanese and the staff generally tired to use some English but for some things the owner/manger had to be called in to speak with us in English. That being said I give Yoshi Ima an A+++ for service the staff were super nice and friendly (even for Japan) and even serviced us our meal earlier ,so we could catch our tour, and later, due to being a bit late, than the assigned times. Our maid was very sweet and made small talk with us making us feel welcome.

Overall The Japanese food may not be what a foreigner in Japan wants to or is used to eating so be ready for that when it's dinner time. I found the Japanese breakfast enjoyable and huge but the western one small and bland. The location of this can't be beat as it's right in the middle of gion. Go out and explore after dinner. You should expect to get a tour of the hotel and tea ceremony while you stay. Keep in mind that the hotel is very old and some of the rooms are small and may let in mosquitoes during the summer months. It is not a suitable place for small children or those with mobility problems (you will be sleeping, sitting and eating on the floor).

Still, I'd come back to Yoshi Ima in the future.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank gittelbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Gion Yoshi-ima

Property: Gion Yoshi-ima
Address: 229-2 Nishinocho, Yamato-Oji Higashi-Iru, Shinmonzen, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0088, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Gion
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#25 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price range (per night): $240 - $534
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Gion Yoshi-ima 3.5*
Number of rooms: 20
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Gion Yoshi-Ima Hotel Kyoto

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