Guesthouse Setsugekka is a very traditional Japanese townhouse that opened as a guesthouse in September 2013. We stayed here in October 2013, so we must've been among the inn's first guests. If you like traditional Japanese style--and a bit of roughing it--this place is perfect for you. Since it's a private house, you are the only guests so no other guests to keep you awake. Likewise, since it's and old Japanese house the walls are thin and the windows covered only in paper at best, so you will be awake with the sun and the neighbors.
We stayed in Kyoto over a very busy weekend in Kyoto. We spent the first night at the great Central Kyoto Inn, but we were unable to find rooms for our second night in town. Finally, I did one last search on Booking.com and the Guesthouse Setsugekka showed up, and it had very good rates for the four of us (24,000 Yen per night or 245 USD). I booked the room, and a short time later, the owner e-mailed me with the payment and check in instructions (pay via PayPal & check in using the locked key holder at the door)..
When we checked in, we were impressed by the authentic traditional townhouse. The entrance way was a little rough, with just unfinished concrete leading to a small galley kitchen. To the right of the front door is a sitting are with a three tatami mat floor, and the next room towards the back of the hosue was the sleeping area, also lined with about four and a half tatami mats. At the back of the house is a small gravel-lined path leading to the new toilet room and separate bathroom. Above the kitchen, atop a steep, narrow set of wooden steps, is a small loft that could sleep one to two people. Many of the rooms are off square and a bit rough, with exposed wiring, but it has a very authentic feel.
The guesthouse is in a great location, near Yasaka Temple at the eastern end of Shijo Diori. Check in is easy, just send money via PayPal and wait for check in instructions from the owner. The full kitchen even includes dishes, a fridge and a rice cooker, and would be great for long stays. The house is completely private, so no other guests to interrupt your stay. The house rents to a maximum of four people, but you could probably sleep six to seven here. The house also has a washing machine, towels, bedding, even toothbrushes and wi-fi (though it was off during our visit).
There are also a few negatives: There is now staff on site, so if you needed help you might have to call or wait for a response to an e-mail. While the guesthouse is private, the neighbor can look through his fence and into the house, and he will see what's going on from time to time. Also the front windows have no locks or latches, so security might be a concern.
Because I live in the city I haven't stayed at the hotels here, but I stayed here when a friend visited because my apartment is too small to host and I was supposed to show him around since he didn't know any Japanese.
The guesthouse is popular among foreigners and a lot of the foreigners who come here enjoy chatting and meeting one another. Most of the rooms are upstairs and conducive to meeting other guests. They also have some private rooms, which is where we stayed. The room was Japanese-style with tatami floors and futons for beds. They have air conditioning (which also functions as a heater in winter) and a guide on how to use it.
In the entranceway there is a washing machine and dryer. There are also two computers with internet access that guests can use. They leave a piece of bread in the morning in the kitchen area for each guest. There is only one bathing room, so guests have to take turns. It closes at 11pm.
You can make reservations via email on their website (listed below).
One of the best things about this guesthouse is the staff's dedication to helping out guests. The owner keeps track of some of the upcoming holidays and special events, he has a map showing a variety of Kyoto's famous sites, and does his best to answer any questions you may have. They also have maps that you can take.
We found out that this Chourakukan Cafe & Restaurant is also hotel only after we already booked all our Japan days, otherwise this can be a nice accommodation option for our next visit to this lovely city.
This Japanese Ryokan (inn) is located just a few minutes walk from JR Kyoto station.
The rooms are traditional tatami style and you can use the ofuroba (large public bath for hotel guest).
The prices are very reasonable and it's very easy to find. It isn't in the "temple area", but the buses leave from just across the road and it's very convenient.
Just across the road from JR Kyoto station
The real purpose of visiting Kyoto was to experience an evening in a Japanese style inn (a Ryokan). I had a friend make the reservation for me as there was no English at the place he sent me too (and I have lost the name - sorry).
When I arrived I was shown to my room by the manager. Was this an honor or was the rest of the staff afraid of me? I was the only white person there.
Safely in my room a maid soon showed up. She knocked discreetly, slid the inner shoji door open, sat on the outside and bowed deeply. Once this routine of politeness was performed she entered the room, sat on the tatami floor and presented me formally with green tea. On her way out she performed the same bowing ritual by the door. Later my dinner was served to me in my room in the same formal way. I do not know what the food was. It was served to me in several courses, each delivered by three different maids. I suspect that normally only one maid would serve a guest. But it was obvious I was a special guest and I think they were taking turns, either because they all wanted a glimpse of me or because no one wanted to be stuck with me the entire evening. I decided to believe the more flattering explanation. None of them spoke English or tried to communicate with me in any way. Their job, I think, was to serve and not to talk.
I got breakfast the next morning in the same way.
I left the Ryokan with a feeling I had indeed experienced Japanese culture, but feeling somewhat isolated.
I left the Ryokan with a feeling I had indeed experienced Japanese culture, but feeling somewhat isolated.
I would recommend trying it - take the extra effort required to find an authentic one.
We had a wonderful stay at the Kikokuso ryokan in Kyoto. The owners were very gracious hosts, and the food was fantastic. We especially enjoyed staying in our tatami rooms, sleeping on futons. The one thing I wish I had thought of during the stay is this (and it's minor thing but can make a big impact):
I forgot to use my eyemask. The windows of our room were covered in a simple shoji screen that let in the streetlights and the dawn light. When we were there in May, dawn came at 4:30! I'm one of those people that easily wakes up, and once awake, stays awake. And the light would wake me up. I would have had a much more restful sleep if I could have snoozed until breakfast at 7.
So if you're a "light" sleeper (sorry, couldn't help myself) and staying in a traditional ryokan, be sure to bring something to cover your eyes.
It took me so long to find a hotel in Kyoto. It was in the middle of Golden Week and most of the hotels were booked out. Then I stumbled across the Crossroads Inn.
It ended up being the best choice I made for joint accomodation during my trip to Japan.
The small inn is run by Ms Sachiko Mori a very polite and hospitable lady who made us feel very welcome as soon as we stepped in the door.
Crossroads is a simple and traditional Japanese home with three guest rooms upstairs.
It is shared facilities but there are only three rooms so there is no one to contend with.
It is located in a quite part of Kyoto just out of the city. It's a 8 minute bus ride to Kyoto station so it isn't all that far. But for those of you who'd prefer to be in the heart of the city i'd go somewhere else. The hospitality is worth the location though and I would stay there again.
The best thing was - that it is cheaper than most youth hostels in the city, I couldn't believe it!
* internet access
* a convenience stoor just down the road - open all night
* right near a bus stop
* in a quieter part of Kyoto - where the locals live
Simple and traditional Ryokan. Shared Bath. Represent the old Kyoto. Very convinient to many top sights. Definitely recommend it. See http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g298564-d608618-r5012253-Ryokan_Uemura-Kyoto_Kinki.html for more details. Owner speaks limited English, so at times you might need to figure out where to go and how to get to certain places yourself. We definitely recommend this place to people who wants to experience the traditional living but does not require luxury.
The Arnavert Hotel is a bit out of the center of Kyoto but it is a reasonably priced classy place. The people who work there are extreamly nice they even paid for my taxi ride because all the exchange offices in Kyoto were closed when I got there. I have stayyed at hotels before that have not done that for me. The hotel also has a nice Japanise bathhouse on the top floor.
What a great stay. Really perfect location - within a block of the Inari train station, Nara line to Nara, Inari shrine. Walkable to other shrines. Two stations away from Kyoto station. The owners were a sweet older lady and her daughter who catered to every whim. Green tea and bisquits every time I came back, even for a minute, and the breakfasts would feed me for the day. Highly recommended.
I was staying for one week in the Budget Inn in Kyoto.
It features cycle hire, kimono dress for women and internet access.
It's a walking distance to JR Kyoto.
I would recommend it to any Budget Traveller.
The Inn is small. Wester style bed, toilet, shower.
Japanese style living room. Green tea or sake tea is served in the evening.
Stuff speaks broken English.
Lots of cycles.
Close to JR Kyoto
Local grocery around the corner.
The Sun Hotel is located on Kawaramachi Dori, one of the main tourist corridors in Kyoto. I have stayed in this hotel for three consecutive years, when visiting Kyoto. The Hankyu Railway terminal for Kyoto is about 600m south of the hotel. Rooms are small, but adequate for the traveller. This hotel is very popular with business people and travellers and is well priced for a hotel in Japan, so you probably have to book well in advance, specially in spring (cherry blossom season). The bathrooms are very small though.
The location is great. You can walk to Gion (the Geisha district), or shop in the vast covered arcades to the west. Buses to most of Kyoto's heritage sights run along Kawaramachi-dori, which means you can easily step outside your hotel and go sightseeing.
The company i was working with made the arrangements with this place. Coming to japan, I didn't really know what to expect from their inns, hotels, etc. When I entered my room, I was surprised of it's small size. There really weren't much in there, just bed, refrigerator, microwave, stove, tv, washing machine and a small table. The bathroom was small too but it had a bathtub. There was a loft but it wasn't of use to me. It was enough for me as I only stayed there to sleep and take a bath. As for recommending this to others? Hmm... I'm not really sure cause I'm not privy of the other places to stay in kyoto.
This is a traditional Japanese inn located quite centrally in Kyoto (next to Kamo river). It's about 10 minutes walk to JR Kyoto Station and there is a bus stop as well as subway stop (Shichijo Station) just 2 minutes away on the main road.
If you're looking for value for maney and a place to sleep as you'll be out all day, this place is pretty decent with
- free internet
- free coffee/tea and snacks
- free hot and cold drinking water (fill up your bottles before you go out)
- coin operated laundry
- comfy mattress and comforter to sleep on tatami mats in your room
- very clean place including the public bathrooms
- ask for an ensuite bathroom in your room for convenience
- there is a McDonald right at the corner just 2 minutes away
- located in a quiet street which is peaceful with very little traffic
- close to Sanjusangendo Hall
The downside :
- people operating the inn do not speak English or very little of it. You'll need to be pretty self sufficient in planning your trip as it will be hopeless asking them for any recommendation
- lots of stairs to climb. Come with a backpack
- no view
Would only recommend this place for its great location and affordable price. Our room for 2 pax cost Yen42000 (US$ 348.85) for 5 nights.
Quiet and peaceful
Knowing that everything is mighty expensive in Japan, we thought that we could stay in a ryokan instead of a hotel in Kyoto. This way, we can save a bit in lodging and at the same time, experience the Japanese way of life. Ryokan Ohto is very basic...but very clean and has a good location. It has 2 24 hour convenience stores outside the alley and the bus stop is just 2 min. walk. So you can get to anywhere you want to go quite easily. It's also very near some major sights like Sanjusangendo and Kiyomizudera so that's another plus.
Aside from the location, I kinda like the little balcony we had. It's located in a quiet alley so you feel a bit tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life. And yet, it's not too far from everywhere. It's walking distance to a lot of sights, including downtown like Gion area, etc.
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