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“kind of a bummer”
Review of Shimoda Yamatokan

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Shimoda Yamatokan
Ranked #1 of 68 Hotels / Ryokan in Shimoda
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 July 2012

We stayed here one night and then escaped. The room wasn't dirty but it smelled old and dusty and the floor, walls, and ceiling had discoloration that made it look gross. We felt stranded when we got there. No restaurants or shops nearby ($15 cab ride in to town). The beach was a bit of a disappointment too. It felt dirty and the swimming area is pretty much dominated by the surfers. The view from the room is awesome. The hotel looks good in the online pictures, but I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Travis K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 April 2012

We have stayed in Yamatokan for three times already. We go there mostly for surfing and for that this hotel is perfect.
Most of the rooms have tatami floors and sleeping is on futon mattresses, which are quite comfortable. Also the Japanese style rooms look quite authentic and you feel that you are in a different place. The rooms are different depending on which floor you are staying on. The third floor rooms are nice with a breathtaking views over the beach. Some of the third floor rooms have a big terraces with green grass. The first floor rooms are also pretty cute but a bit dark and they don't have that nice balconies/terraces. The second floor rooms have their private onsen/bath but we haven't stayed there yet.
Every room has a very cute japanese tea set, with colourful little pots and different choices of green tea. Also you will get a yukata, pair of japanese socks, towels ad other amenities which will make your onsen experience very authentic. The onsen is quite nice but I would prefer a bit more old Japanese style. If your looking for that as well then I suggest to go to Shimoda town onsens. But the view from the hotel onsen is beautiful.
Why its great place for surfing is because the hotel has a private exit to the beach. Its very comfortable as you can change into your swimsuit downstairs and go directly to the beach. They also have warm showers where you can wash off all the sand and leave your boards and swimsuit to dry, change into warm clothes and go to your room, no need to drag your wet stuff upstairs.
The beach is, of course, magnificent. When the sun is shining, the sea has beautiful bright blue/green color. For swimmers it might not be the most comfortable as the waves are strong and so is the current and the water is often a bit cold. But the beach is perfect for sunbathing.
The thing about Shimoda is that it gets crowded when the Japanese summer season starts, which is around mid July. The beach can get fully packed and theres a limited area for surfers. But if you go in June, then it can be very empty and the entire beach is only for surfers and the weather is as good as it will be in July.
As the beach area is quite a bit away from Shimoda town, then it takes 5 min by car/bus to get to town. All the restaurants are in Shimoda town so if you have not ordered dinner in a hotel then there's nothing much close to the hotel where you can eat. The breakfast in Hotel is absolutely great! Its Japanese breakfast with LOT of different cute bowls and different things to taste. Very rich and interesting.
A bit negative side of this hotel is that some parts of it are quite worn out and look a little tired. So if your are a soft-towel/luxurious-stay type of quest, then be ready for these downsides. But they are minor compared to all the great things about this hotel.
So long story short: its a very nice Japanese style stay with beautiful ocean views and even better beach.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Anna-Maria M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
s-yamatokan, フロント オフィス マネージャー at Shimoda Yamatokan, responded to this reviewResponded 8 April 2012

Thank you for your staying to our hotel every time.
We appreciate your perfect report about our Shimoda Yamatokan.
There are many packages for your stay.
Why not try to stay the room with private open-air bath on your next trip?
We look forward to serving you soon.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2011

Located just next to Tatado beach, Shimoda on the Izu peninsula about three hours train ride from central Tokyo. Booking over mail in English is straight forward, timely and easy to understand. As always you pay per person, not per room, even for kids. Make sure to bring print out of quote to avoid any mishaps when checking out. This is an expensive place, very expensive and you get reasonable price performance. Been to a few places in Izu, and they all seem ta have been built 50 years ago and just maintained since - Shimoda Yamatokan is no exception.

We stayed in a room with private onsen, which is nice if you want some privacy. Regardless which room you are staying in you will have very nice views of the beach and ocean. Sleep is on Tatami mats where they make up Futons. Sleeping on Futons can be quiet hard if you are used to sleeping in soft beds. Private onsen is super nice, but the public onsen's are also nice. Hence choice should be made based on privacy requirements

The charcoal grilled food, breakfast and dinner, offers traditional japanese seafood cuisine. No food for the kids, just rice, and that was when asking for it. This is a major minus, especially since you are also paying for them and there are no other restaurants around. If you are hungry want lunch and staying for a couple of days closest restaurant is in Shimoda a 1000 JPY taxi ride away.

Access to beach is easy, towels for beach are not provided. Beach is really nice and water is crystal clear. There is also a small pool area. This area is really worn down and filthy which adds to the negative part of this experience. Again when paying this amount of money you should get top class facilities but you don't.

In summary, if you are looking for a Japanese onsen experience in the Shimoda area, this is probably one of the better. It is by no means flawless, which might be expected given the price, however it is quiet unique, one of the better and staff makes an effort. With the right expectation it is going to be good, and if weather is fine it will be great. Traveling off-season reduces number of peple on the beach, probably not in the hotel. Enjoy you stay.

Room Tip: All rooms have great views of beach and ocean.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank Måns B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2011

nice hotel, value for money for room size, onsen & food. Good for foreignes for hotel staff speak English well.
But not suitable if you are looking for luxury experience & privacy. Hotel has many rooms & too many people in the onsen area, onsen is also quite artifical.

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank jolieloulouo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 May 2011

My wife and I wanted to take a trip outside of Tokyo with our daughter. After researching online I came across this Japanese Style hotel and was very excited. I set everything up online including reservations. I got 2 emails back confirming both my price and reservation: (Exact Wording: KON NICHI WA [Mr-------------] SAMA.
****************************************************************************

Your reservation is confirmed. We are waiting for you coming. Thank you.


The next day I received this email:

Dear Mr. :

Thank you for your confirmation to us.
We are very sorry but we had a big mistake about prices for this package.

We show you the new price as follows.

--(fri) June=JPY7,480 yen per person
--(sat) June== not available (sorry there is no vacancy)

Thank you for your kind reply.

Any requirement, please kindly feel free to contact us for more detailed information.

The new price was double what I was quoted online. I wrote the hotel and explained my confirmations and told them prices online should be honored. They refused. The next day I went online and they were still advertising the same special I reserved in the beginning. We chose somewhere else to stay.

Stayed: May 2011, travelled with family
9  Thank Taylors2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 October 2009

*Location and Access - Based at the end of the Ito Peninsular Shimoda is easily reached by train from Tokyo (for travellers with a JR Pass a supplement is payable from Ito to Shimoda and return). The hotel is located outside the main town at Tatadohoma Beach (popular with the surfing fraternity). The hotel provides a regular shuttle bus during the day to and from Shimoda Station. From the main road near to the hotel there appears to be a frequent local bus service to and from the town. For anyone arriving by car there is free car parking on site. There are no shops, bars or restaurants in the vicinity.*Google Earth Reference: It is not possible to view the hotel at street level as this area has not been surveyed by Google.*Architectural Style: Although classed as a traditional ryokan the building is quite modern and large; ranging over 5 floors which cling to a steep Cliffside. All rooms have a patio area and unrestricted views over Tatadohama Beach.*Reception: This is in a wide open area with panoramic windows overlooking the sandy bay and mountains beyond. Here is a lounge where guests are welcomed on arrival by green tea and a small cake while they complete the paperwork. On one side of the room an electronic piano plays soothing music. On another wall there is an impressive aquarium. Not all staff understand English. *Public Areas/Decor: All well maintained. The corridors are wide and airy and have piped music. The stairs between the floors are steep. There is an elevator but this does not extend to the 5th floor baths. The hotel may not be suitable for persons with mobility problems. *Guest Facilities : Several vending machines for the purchase of drinks. Near to reception is a well stocked gift shop. On the 5th floor separate baths for men and women. As for the men’s baths there is a well maintained changing room with lockers for valuables. Outside up a flight of steep steps is an outdoor bathing area. Inside a large and small pool – all extremely hot and fed from natural springs. The larger inside pool has an immense floor to ceiling window with views across the bay. Well provided with showers and all the necessary toiletries. *Guest Rooms : Kimonos are supplied for all guests and so if you are not leaving the hotel you need no other clothes! After staying in relatively tiny accommodation in Tokyo my room at the Yamakotan was enormous! A glass fronted door leads to a lobby area containing some Japanese ornaments. One step up though a sliding door and immediately in front are two closets. To the right a separate small room containing an all electronic WC and a hand wash basin. To the left 3 large sliding doors lead to a sparsely furnished area with a large low dining table and floor seating. There is a mini TV (no English Language channels) and a telephone. No internet access. There are some more Japanese ornaments and wall hangings. A casket contains a flask of hot water and all the paraphernalia for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. One step down from the main room is a seating area with wicker settee and leatherette cushions and a glass coffee table (An expensive well stocked mini bar (¥900 for a bottle of beer)) Glass sliding doors lead to a private lawned area with outdoor table and chairs with an unrestricted sea view. *Decor/Maintenance/Cleanliness :Everything cleaned and maintained to the highest standard. Decor minimal Japanese. *Furnishing/Bed :The bed is made up of tatami mats which I found comfortable – it was just the getting up that was difficult! *Bathroom : Located just off the seating area this is another small room with a washbasin and separate shower area and deep ½ size bath. A large glass bay window overlooks the sea. Plumbing all very efficient. Oddly only one small bath towel (and a small “flannel”) is supplied per guest. These also to be used for the public baths. (I thought these to be quite old and not up to the mark). *Lighting : This is acceptable and adjustable – but don’t forget to turn off the lights before getting in to bed! *Heating/Air Conditioning : Air conditioning seemed effective and plenty of fresh air could be obtained by opening the patio windows. *Food Offering : Dinner and breakfast are served in your room. Guests arriving after 6:00 p.m. will go hungry as everything is specially prepared. The opportunity to sample the highest quality Japanese cuisine has to be the highlight for any visitor. The numerous items of food, presented on odd pieces of porcelain and glass that could have come out of Granny’s display cabinet, look like a works of art. Mainly seafood, some items raw and some so fresh they were cooked alive. 99% of the ingredients I could not name; but a unique experience. I opted for the “Western” breakfast. A good selection of fresh bread, fresh fruit, eggs and bacon, coffee accompanied by hot soup, mixed salad with dressing and mayo! *Green Credentials : None obvious. *Security : Traditional lock and keys for room and in room safety deposit. *Other Guests : mainly Japanese *Value for Money: This is not a cheap stay. However, for the overall experience it is worth the cost. *X Factor: The location is a little off the usual foreigners tourist route. The rail journey to Shimoda passes through spectacular coastal and mountain scenery. Every room has a stunning sea view and the in room dining experience is unique. A great place to relax in the hot baths after a hectic time in Tokyo. The hotel website is in English and unlike many other ryokans they are prepared to welcome single travellers.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled solo
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5  Thank peterh125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 November 2007

This was our 2nd visit to the ryokan and this time we didnt have problems spotting their bright blue shuttle bus at the car park.

If you dont read japanese, it's safer to ask the ryokan to have them hold up your name when you exit the train station. As there are a few hotel shuttles, you may get confused. Worse comes to worse, just ask one of them with their hotel banners where the Shimoda Yamatokan shuttle is.

On our previous visit in 2005, we stayed in their japanese standard room. However for this visit, we splurged on the corner room with an outdoor onsen which had it's own "pool" lights. Pretty cool when you see the lights changing from violet to green to blue in the night. The outer deck is quite cozy, with two wooden "deck" chairs and a little table.

Whilst soaking in the onsen, we enjoyed the view - overlooking the beach and watching the surfers enjoying themselves from afar.

The bath area for us to washup before soaking has a door leading out to the deck. The bathroom is well equipped - with the necessary shampoo, conditioner and body rinse - wooden stool and tub exactly what one would find in their public onsen. It's quite a large area with a small bathtub (who needs that tub when we have that outdoor onsen).

The usual towels, showercap, razors, combs, toothbrush etc are supplied daily.

From the room, we enter the sink area before getting to the bathroom. So the whole bathroom outlay is pretty large for japanese standards.

What I enjoyed was the fact that there was a screen door we could use to enjoy our privacy in the onsen - so anyone in the room cant see us on the deck. This helps when the lady is setting up the table for meals or when the room boy is putting out the futons at night.

The room was the usual tatami mat japanese style where they also served our dinner and breakfast. It's the usual type of design as in most ryokans.

As we enjoy sushi, abalone etc and mainly all kinds of japanese cuisine, we had absoloutely no problems with the choice of food. In fact the kaiseki dinner/breakfast and hotsprings are the main reasons for our ryokan stays. We stayed for 3 nights - so the choice of Western breakfast on the final morning was a nice alternative.

We stayed at Ito Yamatokan for 2 nights before shimoda. We absoloutely enjoy these places rather than the city.

The great part about ryokans is they provide the yukata robes which we can wear even in the lobby - sure cuts down on the clothing & packing as we have to travel light on the trains.

Having stayed in at least 10 ryokans during our several trips to Japan, the service by the staff esp at meal times is always amazing and consistant. I dont think you will find any awful standards of service at the ryokans. Cleaniliness is also tops.

Joshua our godson came with us and had his own Pan Asian room - very nice and chic. Rather fusion style decor which is really suitable for someone aged 26 and single. However, these rooms dont come with it's own onsen so you will have to use the public ones. The room is located on the lower floor where one can also walk out to the beach easily.

They were kind enough to allow his meals to be served in our tatami room instead of him having to eat on his own at the restaurant. The bed was pretty huge and very comfortable - cozy decor & lighting. This room is different from their regular western rooms. It comes with the International Traveller under Asian offer I think. However, they were flexible and allowed him to choose japanese cuisine rather than the asian cuisine.

We noticed that they have added some evening entertainment at the lobby each night - not bad. Nothing rowdy - just some soloist or some instrumentalists between 9.30pm-10pm or so.

There's also a shop selling souvenirs and snacks + japanese delicacies.

They have good offers for International Travellers on their website and email replies are in english and pretty prompt.

We like the Shimoda area as it's less crowded as compared to Ito. However the experience at Ito Yamatokan was also enjoyable. I hope to write a review on that too.

  • Stayed: October 2007, travelled with family
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3  Thank traveljet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shimoda Yamatokan

Address: 2048 Kisami, Shimoda 415-0028, Shizuoka Prefecture
Region: Japan > Chubu > Shizuoka Prefecture > Shimoda > Shimoda Onsen
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Shimoda
#4 Best Value Hotel in Shimoda
Price Range: £56 - £329 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Shimoda Yamatokan 3*
Number of rooms: 60
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Shimoda Yamatokan is located on the oceanfront of beautiful TATADO beach. Make yourself at home while enjoying sumptuous meals and relaxing in the hot springs.Each room is set in traditional Japanese style, with tatami mats and futons. Further, each room has a private balcony for magnificent ocean views and relaxation. Savor the seasonal local delicacies! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Yamatokan Hotel Shimoda
Yamatokan Resort Shimoda

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