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“A truly special place”
Review of Ryokan Sawanoya

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Ryokan Sawanoya
Ranked #1 of 120 Hotels / Ryokan in Taito
Certificate of Excellence
The Woodlands, Texas
Level Contributor
125 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“A truly special place”
Reviewed 31 July 2009

Traveled with my wife, son 12 and daughter 9 and their grandmother (who is Japanese). The family that owns and runs Sawanoya are dedicated to showing foreign visitors what staying at a Japanese Inn is like in a way that is personal, informative and unintimidating. WE met families from Australia, the US and France the three nights we stayed here. They are extremely helpful in giving advice on places to eat as well as how to navigate the neighborhood. They ware stocked with a vast array of broushures and maps of all of tokyos major areas. The rooms were small and simple, but comfortable. The shared toilet facilities were spotless. The shared Japanese baths were wonderful - my mom couldn't get enough of them. The only negative was that the public internet access was very slow - but this is very minor when compared to rest of our outstanding experience here. BTW, If you stay here be sure to buy the book they sell telling the story of the inn and inkeeper. It is a most amusing read!

Stayed July 2008, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank GSRDPM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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519 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (64)
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
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Washington, DC
Level Contributor
34 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 June 2009

Sawanoya is such an incredible place. The stars are aligned for Sawanoya - it is in the most beautiful neighborhood, close to the metro, inexpensive, completely authentic and the staff is super sweet. The best thing about this place is bar far the traditional japanese ofaru (baths.) We had to leave on our third day and stay in Katsutaro Ryokan because Sawanoya was full and we realized just how lucky were were to stay in Sawanoya. Seriously, this is one of the best places I have ever stayed. It is also really great for couples. The only things that I didnt like were the internet is really slow and our room had a strong smell of green tea, but these are so minor.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank regangage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
73 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 April 2009

Stayed here for 3 nights in a single room with Japanese-style bed. The room had it's own sink but toilet and shower/bath were shared with other guests. The Japanese-style bath was rather popular when I was there so had to wait my turn! Room was very clean, staff incredibly helpful and friendly, and I enjoyed the scrambled eggs for breakfast. There are 2 computers in the lobby with internet access. Located in a quiet residential area, although as I had a rail pass and was using the JR Yamanote line it was a 20min walk to JR Ueno station. However, this was my choice as there is also a subway station 5-10mins walk away from the ryokan! Overall would recommend this ryokan.

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank SJ88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester
Level Contributor
42 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2009

We had an interesting stay at this ryokan.Although the building is old and a bit rickety it does have alot of charm.The rooms were a bit draughty although there was an electric heater.The bedding/mats were adequate. The area has good transport links and is walking distance to a famous temple.We only stayed 2 nights then moved to a more comfortable hostel.I think you have to spend a little more to get a comfy ryokan experience.But I was glad of the experience!

  • Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
2 Thank Tomd25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tokyo, Japan
Level Contributor
18 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2009

I have stayed at Sawanoya twice now, once in March of '08 and again the following September. Both experiences were amazing. I will be staying again, this time with my girlfriend, this coming September.

I found out about Sawanoya from Frommer's Tokyo Guide (it was their "Best Bet" Pick for Inexpensive Lodging. So my expectations were decently high despite the only $50 a night price tag. And I was not disappointed at all. To be honest, I would probably rather stay at Sawanoya than the Park Hyatt Tokyo.

The rooms are small, the beds are futons, and if your room doesn't have a bathroom you will be using the shared Japanese style baths (which are amazing). Instructions for how to use this type of bath are on a large poster in the bathrooms. And there are toilets located on each floor for those rooms without toilets (all rooms have a sink). There is also a pay washer/dryer, and computers w/ internet (free). Breakfast is also available: toast and eggs for about $3 US, free coffee/tea, and Japanese Breakfasts available if requested a day ahead of time.

Sawa-san and his family are extremely friendly and knowledgeable about the area. They may try to encourage to see some of the local sited in Yanaka (Sawanoya's neighborhood). Don't be shy about taking their suggestions, it is great break from the business of Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ginza, etc.

I would recommend Sawanoya to just about anyone. A 20-something like myself (who also enjoys the Roppongi, Shibuya, etc.) can enjoy it, and yet I would also recommend it for my mother or grandmother if they were ever to travel to Japan.

I have uploaded some pictures of the inn to supplement this review.

  • Stayed September 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Brent A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal
Level Contributor
16 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 March 2009

It is my second time at Sawanoya Ryokan! I really love the quiet environment of this Ryokan and the cleanliness. Tha japanese bath are wonderful. If you want a real and professional japanese experience on a mid range budget (50$ for 1 - 100$ for 2), please go to Sawanoya. Try the japanese breakfast at least 1 time.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank MargoMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Land O Lakes, Florida
1 review
Reviewed 7 March 2009

My boyfriend and I were greeted by Mr. Sawanoya with a parrot on his shoulder, he didn't speak much English, but went through the motions of checking us in, asking which kind of breakfast we would like (western or Japanese style) and recommended more than once that we try the Japanese bath, both together and separately - as he was very proud that they just installed another. There are many simple etiquette mistakes one can make while staying at a Ryokan (which we experienced later in Nara), however, the Sawanoya's host so many travelers they find humor in their guests mishaps and are just happy to share a little taste of Japanese tradition. I loved the futon beds so much I have researched purchasing them for my own apt. The futon itself is a little hard, but the fluffy comforter makes up for it, it's like sleeping under a magic cocoon. This was my favorite experience out of our 9 day trip and I hope to go back soon!

  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank ArrArr
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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