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“They took care of us very well!”
Review of Shiraume

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Shiraume
Ranked #1 of 406 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 7 December 2013

My sister and I stayed at Shiraume for 1 night on 25 Nov 2013. The ryokan is as lovely as all the other reviews read, and I will refrain from repeating the details. What I would like to share is that we were both ill and coughing badly during our stay at Shiraume, and both Tomoko-san and Satako-san (who was the assigned butler to our room) took meticulous care of us, offering hot water, setting up the humidifier in our bedroom, checking in on us in the morning, and getting us medicine and dispensing instructions for the medication so that we would know when to take it. We felt safe and well-taken care of despite being unwell, and really appreciated the warmth and hospitality they provided.

Room Tip: The Umesono room on the 2nd floor is a great choice for families of 4-5 :)
See more room tips
  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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3  Thank TheCallaLily82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 December 2013

My wife and I stayed at the Shiraume Ryokan two weeks ago, as part of our 'extended' honeymoon trip. We stayed at the Umesono room - which is located on the second floor of the house.

We showed up at 3pm to check in, arriving by taxi. The place was hidden away in the northern part of Gion so it's best to just show the taxi driver the Japanese direction (which is given by the Ryokan in their confirmation email). The drive from Kyoto station took less than 15 mins - with a bit of traffic. Tomoko, the manager of the Ryokan, was at the front door to greet us. After we got in, our bags were whisked away to our room while we were given a little tour of the Ryokan by her assistant, Satoko. All the staffs spoke very good English.

As most other reviewers have pointed out, the entire house was very clean and had a very charming look. The corridors and little rooms downstairs were small, but it never felt cramped. They also had a Jacuzzi though you needed to 'reserve' the room if you wish to use it. The library and the little garden in the middle of the house (surrounded by glass walls) was a nice touch.

Then, we were shown up to our room on the second floor. The entire suite was very spacious (in a relative sense, space in Japan is a luxury). The living room overlooked a little canal and a bridge in front of the Ryokan. The Tatami mat was pleasant to walk and sit on. The brightly lit room had little drawers and cabinets everywhere. They had complementary green tea, coffee and normal tea in the fridge area, a little incense candle, and a neat little wooden table in the middle of the room. Looking out to the cobble roads and the small bridge that crosses to the Ryokan, you feel almost like you've been transported back to 18th century Japan.

There was a corridor which connected our living room to a wooden wash basin, the bath room, the toilet and the bed room. The entire wash basin looked as if it had been completely carved out of wood. There was an assortment of soap, shampoo and cream products. The bathroom has a nice wooden bath tub, and a small window which to our pleasant surprised overlooked a tiny little garden plot.

The bedroom, like the living room, had all sorts of little drawers and toys. They also had a block of bamboo which was cleverly used as a 'foot massage' contraption. You basically stand on it and rock back and forth. It was quite painful to use initially but it actually relieved some of the stress from all that walking. There was a small flatscreen TV hidden away in a cupboard which you can pull out. The room was also equiped with a humidifier (which we didn't feel the need to use). The bed is taken out of the cupboard by the hotel staff and laid out at night which we were gone. They also provided several pairs of Yutaka robe and what appears to be Haori (a traditional overcoat) in case you want to venture downstairs or outside.

However, like everything about this Ryokan, you don't quite get to fully appreciate it until you notice the massive attention to details in both the room and the service.

One example was the meal - which was in itself a great experience. We had the standard nine course Kaiseki dinner. What made the experience so memorable was that the staffs took the pain and effort of explaining - in exquisite details - every single piece of food which was served to us, the nature of the ingredients, how its was prepared, and how to eat it properly. No details were overlooked. Even the sancho pepper was given an explanation. This was done in a very friendly manner and often times we would ask further questions about this history of a particular meal and Satoko and Tomoko always had an answer for us - even going so far as to explain some of the legends and story back from the days of old Kyoto.

Which brings us to another matter - Tomoko and her staffs are extremely knowledgeable. Every tourist attraction we want to go to they were able to give us an advise or provide a tip. They even tell us which place was experiencing the prime Koyo season and which is not. All the time, they spoke pleasantly, elegantly and always with a smile.

Note that while some of the guests reported that they experienced a bit of 'food coma' after the meal due the massive amount of food that was presented to them, we felt that the volume of food was just right and felt very pleasant and relaxed afterwards. I think the trick is that you need to work your way through each course slowly and really take the time to enjoy it. Also, intentionally eating as little as possible during the day to 'save room' in your stomach for the dinner may end up working against you as you tend to waffle down the first few courses quickly and become full half way through.

So at the end of the day, it was not so much the food and the room (which were excellent by the way) that won us over, it was the services rendered at the Shiraume Ryokan which embodies the very best of Japanese hospitality.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank ThapanaJoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2013

My husband and I absolutely loved this place. We stayed in the Umezono room for six nights. It was impeccably clean, very spacious, and the bathroom had both a shower and a bathtub. The soap, shampoo, and various different creams provided in the bathroom smelled gorgeous. We were provided with kimono-style bathrobes and silk pajamas.
Every morning, we opted for the Japanese-style breakfast (Western breakfast is offered) and we loved every item served to us. It seemed strange to have miso soup, rice, and fish in the morning but we ended up enjoying it. The morning feast was accompanied by plenty of strong Japanese tea and finished with fresh fruit. The breakfast items were different every day.
A nice touch was the complimentary tea & sweets served to us every day when we came back from our wanderings around Kyoto. It was so nice to sit down and have a refreshing tea. The ginger-orange tea was so delicious – Tomoko kindly presented us with a small jar of this tea when we were leaving.
Tomoko was so pleasant and helpful. She pointed out to us some temples & shrines we would have missed otherwise (make sure you visit Sanjūsangen-dō Temple). She patiently answered our questions about Japanese history and contemporary culture. In fact, the entire staff was very sweet, courteous, and helpful.
Some people reported problems with noise. We are both very sensitive to noise and we had no problems in Shiraume during our stay. By nine/ten o'clock at night the whole hotel was very quiet.
I would recommend this hotel to anyone without hesitation. For us, staying in this traditional ryokan made our trip to Japan complete.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SeSn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 November 2013

Staying at this ryokan made even the most luxurious hotels pale in comparison. Tomoko-san and her team delivers such incredibly friendly, warm, professional service which I find hard pressed to think of anywhere else that does it as well.

The kaiseki dinner was spectacularly presented. Tomoko-san even offered explanations of each dish and some historical background. The effort that was put into each dish was obvious, almost too pretty to eat.

The room was very comfortable and pleasantly decorated, overlooking a peaceful stream. The futons were even more comfortable than any of the hotels we stayed on the trip, and the heated tatami mats kept the room cozy.

If we find ourselves in Kyoto again, we might just stay here for the entire duration!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank KelvinTKL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2013

My wife and I loved this place. The people are what make this place so special. Tomoko is so incredibly warm, friendly and helpful. Her staff are all professional and courteous. Our room was fantastic. We overlooked the stream out front and watched the heron come by each day. Shiraume is in a great location with plenty of restaurants and shopping near by. Easy access to transportation as well. We also had an impeccably prepared dinner at Shiraume and our daily breakfast was excellent. I can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Xian_SF
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 October 2013

My boyfriend and Istayed 2 nights in this ryokan back in August 2013 and we loved every second of it. Although pricey, it is 100% worth and I would recommend to book early. From booking to when we left, the service provided by Tomoko and her team was impeccable.

Tomoko helped us to book bikes for one of the days and told us so much about Kyoto. She provided us with a map and drew routes for us to take. The rooms themselves were super comfortable and we slept so well. We decided to have dinner both nights here and we have no regrets - the food and service were faultless. Tomoko really knows how to treat the guests and we were amazed at how knowledgeable she is and she has mastered the art of conversation. We chose kaiseiki dinner and kobe beef dinner and both were served in our rooms. It was truly a fantastic experience. Each dinner is about 8-12 courses. And for our second night dinner, we even had a surprise of the biggest oysters I have ever seen - I literally had to hold it with two hands. Tomoko told us that their fisherman had a lucky catch that morning!

All the rooms are marvellous and any room you book, you cannot go wrong. If you are looking for a ryokan in Kyoto, do not hesitate to book this one.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank meichan3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 October 2013

My daughter and I "splurged" to stay at this amazing Royokan. The service was amazing, the owner a delight and the food incredible! And the setting was perfect. We learned so much about Kyoto. The highlight of our trip!

  • Stayed: August 2013
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1  Thank row8on
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Shiraume

Address: Shirakawa-hotori, Shinbashi-dori, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Gion
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Restaurant
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Shiraume Hotel Kyoto

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