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“Best Ryokan we stayed at in Japan” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Wanosato

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Wanosato
Ranked #19 of 173 Hotels / Ryokan in Takayama
Certificate of Excellence
Boston
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Best Ryokan we stayed at in Japan”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2013

We stayed at a whole bunch of lovely Ryokans over the course of two weeks' travel in Japan, and Wanosato was far and away the best.

We arrived there by car, and as we were first passing it without realizing at first that it was our hotel, one of our group remarked that the property looked absolutely stunning, and he wondered what it was. It is equally gorgeous up close -- a series of beautiful, traditional, 150-year-old buildings nestled in the woods, next to a stream with a watermill and little boxes for storing the fish caught for dinner (in the stream where the were caught -- genius!). Gorgeous onsen, beautiful main room with a traditional fireplace (also with a genius design -- the pot is held up by friction and lateral force alone), lovely dining rooms, etc.

Our room was extremely spacious, well furnished (I don't know what to say to the one negative reviewer other than that none of his/her complaints hit the mark for me at all. Maybe they really fixed stuff up after his review?). It faced the stream on one side, had its own lovely fireplace, and was traditionally constructed, with doorways built out of naturally curved tree branches. Lovely.

Also, incredible service. Dinner was great (maybe #2 or #3 in perhaps 10 top-notch kaiseki meals we had), and punctuated by a visit by the property owner herself, who was extremely gracious. After dinner, like something out of a arthouse film, there was an old man (who'd grown up around the property) who stopped us by the main fireplace for warm sake and magic tricks.

Yeah, it's 20 minutes out of town, but this wasn't a real problem at all. We just scheduled pick-up/drop-off. And when we left, the whole family of the owner took us out to the road to wave us away. And yes. It's quite pricey, obviously. But if you want a place to splurge, I'd vote for this. Just a totally awesome experience. 500 stars.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank sashafklein
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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67 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
57 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 September 2013

My guess is that if you are visiting Takayama, you are trying to get out of the big city and enjoy the beauty of Japan. Wanosato is the perfect place to do this! The grounds are unbelievable gorgeous, the food was incredible, the staff were so friendly and thoughtful and the onsen were divine. Yes, it is a bit of a splurge, and you need to take a shuttle to Takayama main town (shuttles are provided and I think it is best to stay outside the town to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area), but it truly was a highlight of my month-long trip through Asia.

You can drift off to sleep to the sound of the river flowing by, enjoy a stroll through the beautiful property, indulge in their lovely baths and enjoy some of the best food I had in Japan. Do yourself a favor and try not to over-schedule your time there so that you have time to just relax and enjoy this beautiful ryokan.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank rdnycgirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 July 2013

We spent two nights at Wanosato and the experience exceeded our expectations. We had stayed at upscale ryokans for a number of times and so are familiar with the ryokan experience of tatami rooms, multiple-course dinners, public bathing, and the early wake-up calls; Wanosato sets itself apart with its authentic architecture of the region and beauitful location right by a small river. All its 8 rooms have panoramic view of the river and the woods. If you're into experiencing the serenity of rural Japan and its agrarian architecture, Wanosato would charm you. In fact we visited the Hida-no-Sato folk village just before arriving at Wanosato and it was most delightful to see the same Gassho style old farm houses, and the charming open hearth where warm sake is served in little bamboo cups to guests in the evenings. Our four meals there had all been wonderful but be warned they do tend to over-feed guests and when asked "would you like some more beef?" during your sukiyaki or shabu shabu dinners, do not answer yes lightly as more beef will indeed come! Even though we do not speak Japanese, we had no problem communicating with the hotel staff both before our arrival and during our stay. We could really feel the hospitality and the warmth of the service, although it was also quite a funny experience when the lady owner of Wanosato came to greet us during dinner on our first night - she spoke just a little English and we spoke barely any Japanese, she kept talking to us in Japanese, we couldn't comprehend a thing, and so we just kept politely smiling and nodding our heads! Wanosato is definitely a place we would return to, to explore Takayama's beauty in the other seasons! This ryokan reminded me so much of Amanfayun in Hangzhou, China.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MKHH101
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
55 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2013

Absolutely gorgeous ryokan on the bank of a river outside Takayama. I wish we'd had more time to just chill and enjoy it. It's expensive, but it's unlike anywhere else you've ever stayed. Breakfast and dinner are included, and you can get a "Western" style breakfast if you like, although it's only somewhat western. The kai-seki (sp?) dinner was amazing.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank will279
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Japan
Level Contributor
246 reviews
70 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 January 2013

The location of this hotel, right by the river, with the sound of gushing water at all time, the small and beautifully designed passages and beautiful houses makes this place unique and gorgeous. The food is also delicious, although its a 10 course meal so its way too much food.

Room Tip: Do not settle for a room at the main building- take only the hosues!!! the main building rooms are n...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2012, travelled on business
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mish_H50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Australia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2010

I NOTICED THE PHOTOS HAD DISAPPEARED FROM MY REVIEW SO I HAVE RE-POSTED IT & INCLUDED THE ORIGINAL PHOTOS AGAIN. THANKS.
We paid JPY 151,000 for two people for two nights stay at the Wanosato ryokan in Takayama. It was not worth even half that! It was located 20 minutes from Takayama's town centre & there was nothing at all of interest nearby. The carpet in the room was musty, smelly & badly stained. The upholstered chairs in the room were filthy & also badly stained. There was no air-conditioning. The bathroom had not been renovated for 40 years. Overall, the room reminded us of the deceased estate of a very elderly person. The food was ok, but not worth the price. We stayed in lots of traditional ryokans during our time in Japan & this was really our only bad experience.

  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
29 Thank Postcard9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 April 2009

We stayed for 2 nights at Wanosato, and although we had been to several other top end ryokan during our holidays in Japan, this was our absolute favorite!
We stayed in the Garyu room, which is actually a stunning 3 room villa. It's nicely located next to the river and features an open fireplace in the main room. The bathroom is a bit dated, but very large (separate toilet and separate room with shower and bath) and immaculatly clean.
Staff spoke only little English, but couldn't possibly have been more friendly , welcoming and efficient!
Yes, Wanosato is a 20 minutre drive from Takayama, but there is a complimentary shuttle bus to Takayama station. The location is very secluded and more than compensates for the distance to Takayama.
Dinner was served in the main building as Garyu is located too far from the main building to serve dinner in the room. The food was of exceptional quality! Although we enjoyed several exclusive kaiseki dinners during our holidays in Japan I can say that the quality and presentation of the food (dinner as well as breakfast) topped everything else we experienced!
After dinner hot sake was served in front of the fireplace in the main building.
Wanosato was a very special experience which I can only highly recommend!

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Goldfesch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Wanosato

Property: Wanosato
Address: 1682 Ichinomiyacho, Takayama 509-3505, Gifu Prefecture
Region: Japan > Chubu > Gifu Prefecture > Takayama > Hidatakayama Onsen
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 173 Hotels / Ryokan in Takayama
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Wanosato 4.5*
Number of rooms: 8
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