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“Nice Stay” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ryokan Sawanoya

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Ryokan Sawanoya
Ranked #1 of 121 Hotels / Ryokan in Taito
Certificate of Excellence
Ottawa
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Nice Stay”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 September 2008

Six of us stayed at the Sawanoya in early August, including three children under 16. We had two rooms, one ensuite and one not. My two sons and I stayed in the room without the bathroom. While it was certainly a wonderful experience to stay in a ryokan I would not call it overly roomy. There were three futons on the floor and that took up almost the entire room.

The fellow who runs the place and his son in law (?) are very nice and very helpful. I have to agree with the comment below about the owner's wife (co-owner). If she smiled once, we all missed it.

We found the location very handy. All in all a nice place to stay.

  • Liked — The owner
  • Disliked — Hitting my head on the short doors.
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank xcskiboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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499 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (62)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
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  • Spanish first
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English first
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
115 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 August 2008

The ryokan as a whole was fine. Our room was beautiful and very clean. Based on the other reviews here I was really expecting something above and beyond, but it was fine for what it was. We did not feel it was very centrally located. The closest subway line, Nezu, means you have to transfer a few times to get to major parts of the city.

However, the new baths they have installed are unbelievable! Unlike others, these are private (doors can lock, and have a vacant/occupied sign on the door). We had a private bathroom in our room, but I still chose this for the great experience. There are two baths, I chose the one on the right because of the view of the beautiful Japanese zen garden from the bath tub--amazing! You have to experience it to enjoy it, and this made the stay worthwhile! I am pregnant so I unfortunately could only sit in the hot water for a matter of a few minutes, otherwise I would have melted away in there all night long!

  • Liked — The new baths!
  • Disliked — Location
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ejpl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nebraska
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2008

Air conditioning was not turned on. So when we got to the room, it felt like it was 90 degrees. It took 70 minutes before the room even felt cool.

They make copies of your passport. When I asked why they made copies, the man at the counter became loud and said "If I didn't want my passport copied then I could leave" and he threw our passports to us. I explained to him I was just asking a question. Very rude.

The rooms are basic. About 8 foot by 10 foot of straw mat floors. We had three futons laid out so there was no room to walk. It had a lamp, tv and small shelf. You wear your shoes up to your room and put them into a shoe box just inside the room door. There are slippers for you to wear inside.

The bath/shower was really nice. One of the cleaner ones I have been in.

Going out can be a problem. They lock the doors at 11:00 p.m. So no late night fun if you are staying at this ryokan.

  • Liked — Bath and shower facilities were nice
  • Disliked — Location was a good walk from the train station
  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank penaltykick2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 July 2008

Stayed here with my husband and family (teenagers) for a few days in July and this was our first trip to Tokyo. We caught the Keisei Limited Express from Narita Airport which cost about $10 to Ueno Station. From the station we caught a taxi which cost about $7. The ryokan supplied a map to hand to the taxi driver which was really helpful as it was written in Japanese.
The family who run the ryokan are very efficient, helpful and experienced. You really get a little taste of a traditional ryokan here. Once you get to your room you take off your shoes and slip on a pair of geta (wooden clogs) which are supplied. The room has futons on the tatami mats (no footwear is allowed here). On the futons they also lay out a yukata (a cotton kimono) for you to wear. Little touches like the paper swan on the pillow really add to the experience. The room has a rice paper wall but also a blind you can pull down when you are ready to sleep. We found them reasonably comfortable. It was extremely hot in Tokyo when we were there but the rooms were air conditioned and small so it was very comfortable. There is a jug and a tray so you can make green tea which is supplied. We had a room with an ensuite which is small but adequate and a hairdryer is supplied. Outside the room there is also a coin washing machine for use and a dryer and an ironing board.
There was a choice for breakfast of either Japanese or Western and we had scrambled eggs on toast for about $5. The tea and coffee machine in the dining room is free and the dining room also is used to sit around and chat.
The owner helped us to organize a taxi to leave and came out to wave us off when we left. We also found people in the area extremely helpful.

  • Liked — A traditional feel with modern conveniences
  • Disliked — No complaints
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank BrisbaneLucy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mossy Point
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 July 2008

We spent a week at the Ryokan Sawanoya in June 2008 and loved it. We were travelling with two children aged 1 and 6 and while a kitchen would have made it perfect, it was so family friendly I highly recommend it.

Ryokan Sawanoya is a traditional Japanese Inn, so when you book a room you basically get a pretty small entrance area with a sink and place to leave your shoes and then you step up into a room with futon mattresses on the floor. You are given house coats and slippers in each room which are great for when it's time to bathe. Each room has an air conditioner and large windows which look out onto the street. Our children loved looking out the window watching the world go by.

Each floor had two communal toilets and the Japanense bathrooms are downstairs on the ground floor. The bathrooms are lovely and look out onto a traditional garden. The baths were way too hot for me but just washing the traditional way looking onto the garden was great and the kids really enjoyed it.

On the ground floor is the entrance and communal area which is used for breakfast (try the japanese breakfast at least once, it's great) and really handy for feeding kids dinner and snacks. They also put on a traditional music performance one night for no cost which I think they do regularly.

The family that run the Ryokan are lovely and the place is really clean, it's cleaned from top to bottom every day. The only problem with this is they do want you out of the place from 10am-3pm every day and occasionally my baby needed a day sleep which was a bit of a hassle for them but they were accommodating.

We found the location perfect for us, it's close to the metro, there's a supermarket nearby, there were some nice places to eat nearby and the streets were really interesting to walk around during the day and night.

I highly recommend the Ryokan Sawanoya, it's affordable, friendly, clean and convenient.

  • Stayed June 2008, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank SandeeMossyPoint
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NY, NY
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2008

I stayed in the 2 people room with bathroom for 15 nights in April, 2008. The rooms with bathrooms are worth the few extra bucks- they're much larger, since they have a separate small sitting room separated by sliding doors and a bathroom- 1 room with a sink, a tile bathtub large enough for 2 people to sit in (a small version of what you'd get in a suburban gym), & a shower with a stool to sit on next to it (instead of a regular shower in the tub) & 1 room with toilet (Japanese toilets are the best with all sorts of options, ie. heated seat & sprayer). The futons & tatami mat floors are comfortable.

My roommate liked the yukata robe so much that he bought a silk one in Tokyo. I bought a cotton yukata and slippers at the ryokan as I was checking out. They sell all sorts of stuff in case you need to do some last minute souvenir shopping.

There's a separate women's and men's bathroom with toilet & sink on every floor. There's a coin washer & dryer (detergent is supplied) on the top floor. There's also a vending machine with drinks on the ground floor. There are 2 computers in the lobby, which I used every morning to check email.

Women come to clean the rooms every morning at 10, so the ryokan is spotless.

As far as showers go, there are 2 excellent Japanese soaking bathtubs with separate showers on the ground floor. The bathrooms lock, so you have complete privacy when you bathe. Showering, bathing, & rinsing off was interesting. Those Japanese bathtubs were beyond anything after walking all over Tokyo all day long. I hadn't taken a bath since I was a little kid before that.

The father & son owners are extremely friendly & helpful throughout, and I recommend their ryokan to others for their level of customer service. I booked via their site for my entire stay, cause the Homeikan did not allow you to choose the building you stayed at, which makes all the difference according to reviewers.

During our stay, reporters came to interview the owner, and we filled out a survey regarding tourism to Japan. The other guests were also foreigners, but there wasn't much socializing besides during breakfast.

I had their Western breakfast every morning, cause it was quite good. My roommate had their Japanese breakfast a few times, which varied in quality, depending on the dishes.

Note: Do not under any circumstances request anything of the owner's wife, who is unfriendly even by New York standards. She refused to help on several different occasions to several different guests, myself included- how to turn on the heat (the remote is in Japanese), how to make a phone call on their payphone (which directs you in Japanese), or ordering breakfast (when a lady ordered at 9, she refused to take her order, because breakfast was 7:30 to 9). She even stated that a restaurant that required reservations would understand English merely because it was referenced in a travel guide, which is completely untrue- I encountered hardly any businesses with English-speaking staff, whether they were in a guide or not. I mostly got by with pointing to the pictures/model food or gesturing when there wasn't a bilingual menu. Some speak English but not very well. Let's face it, we all take years of a foreign language in high school and college, but how much can we speak as adults?

  • Liked — Bathtubs
  • Disliked — Owner's Wife
  • Stayed April 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank dummy_girl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
barcelona
Level Contributor
23 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2008

This ryokan has a good location with restaurants and supermarkets around. It is also very clean and the staff is very friendly. We stayed in the double room with bath and it is quite big (for japanese's standards). The common area includes 2 japanese s baths (you must try them), a dinning room with free tea and coffee, a microwave and 2 computers that you can use. If we ever go back to Tokyo this is the place we would go again!!!

  • Liked — a real japanese experience
  • Disliked — no jr station
  • Stayed June 2008, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Check-in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank bicitrons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Ryokan Sawanoya

Property: Ryokan Sawanoya
Address: 2-3-11 Yanaka, Taito 110-0001, Tokyo Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kanto > Tokyo Prefecture > Tokyo > Taito > Ueno, Asakusa
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Taito
Number of rooms: 12
Also Known As:
Ryokan Sawanoya Hotel Taito
Ryokan Sawanoya Tokyo, Japan

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