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“Lovely, little traditional inn on a quiet street”
Review of Inn Kawashima

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Inn Kawashima
Ranked #166 of 366 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Lovely, little traditional inn on a quiet street”
Reviewed 8 August 2012

Cozy, family-run ryokan tucked away on a quiet street but still a stone's throw from the main shopping area and the subway station, so the location is fantastic. There are also some cute little cafes and restaurants along the same street.

If you're the sort who needs cable TV and a private bathroom in your hotel, then don't bother staying in a ryokan. But I'm really glad we stayed here instead of opting for a Western-style hotel because this place had so much more warmth and character. I was there with my elderly parents for 4 nights and the room we were given was very comfortable, spacious (especially by Japanese standards), clean and airy. Our room had a little balcony that overlooked a traditional rock garden. There is a common shower and toilet but since there are only a few rooms in the inn, it was nearly always unoccupied every time we used it. And they're kept pretty much spotless so kudos to the innkeepers. I even had a suspicion that after every time I used the sink, someone would come to wipe it down.

Our room was very quiet even though the walls are (literally) paper thin and we all slept well because the futons they have are more comfortable than most mattresses in fancier establishments!

We had a kaiseki-style dinner here on our first night but the food was mediocre. They don't have a fully equipped kitchen on the premises so they get the food delivered from another venue. Don't bother wasting your money, Kyoto has lots of great restaurants that can offer better food at better value.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay here and would recommend this place to anyone looking for a unique ryokan experience.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank StephTLY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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54 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
98 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 May 2012

A brother and sister team run this third generation inn in Kyoto - they are very helpful. The rooms are spacious and you can let the fresh air into the upstairs ones. The location is great - close to main shopping area and a short walk to Gion. The narrow street which houses Kawashima also has lots of little cafes and restaurants. The only downside, apart from the thin walls, is the shared bathroom/ toilet - which means if a family is staying you may hear noise from 0630, especially if you are in the garden room adjacent to the communal hand basins. Good value for money though.

Room Tip: Upstairs rooms are less noisy and you can get a breeze into them
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Chantman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
49 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 May 2012

A little hard to find at first but when you finally spot it, you heave a sigh of relief and ask yourself, "why didn't I see it initially?". The entrance is pretty enough to stand out from rows and rows of less conspicuous shops. It's located at the back of kyoto's best shopping paradise - shijo street. They gave us a really huge room, much bigger than luxury ryokans may offer. Couples can share a common bath and lock the door. This is something that luxury ryokans do not practise - they're mostly communal. The futon is made of a special material too but I can't quite describe it except that it gave me the best sleep I've had this year. And we're talking about deep, uninterrupted sleep. It's walking distance to Nishiki Market which has some of the most amazing food at unthinkably affordable prices. And if you are thrilled enough, you can trudge down to Gion and it's probably the most flavourful place I've been on a given night. Gion is sexy, stylish and quaint at night.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Juliacious
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 May 2012

My first stay was in November 2010 and I had a single room. This time I traveled with a friend and was able to experience Kawashima's 2-occupant rooms. It was easily the most spacious room we had on our travels through Japan, having relied on business hotels elsewhere. Its sleeping area was larger than a single-occupant room and it had a separate dining/lounging section overlooking the inn's garden-shrine.

The inn is still cozy and clean as ever. The innkeepers are still as friendly and welcoming as I remember. And the location still can't be beat - just a short walk to the Shijo-Karasuma subway station, Nishiki Market, and Gion.

I look forward to my next opportunity to visit Kyoto, and this will be the first place I look for lodging when that day comes.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank LS28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
34 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2012

The inn was a bit difficult to find at first (I walked), as I wasn't really expecting such a lovely, peaceful place to be tucked inside such a busy street. The room was beautifully decorated, and sleeping on the mats made me feel as if I were stepping back in time. The Japanese breakfast was quite different from what I am used to, but quite tasty. The small garden is well-tended and pleasant. I only stayed here for one night, but wished I'd stayed longer! The owner was very nice and helpful, and spoke English very well. Highly recommended!

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank LKocaturk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hendersonville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
39 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2012

Excellent Ryokan. It is very Japanese, though the owner speaks English fluently. It is well located in central Kyoto near the best shopping areas and reasonably close to the subway. I could not have asked for a better experience. I was glad I had brought my earplugs, as my room was on the street, but I slept well. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: Rooms away from the street are doubtless quieter. I had earplugs and everything was fine.
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  • Stayed June 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
Thank samiyam318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tel Aviv, Israel
Level Contributor
79 reviews
78 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 185 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2011

In Kyoto for two nights, tried the Ryokans near the train station first but they were all fully booked, so went for Inn Kawashima. We finalized the booking by email, which went quite smoothly.

Location is almost perfect, tucked away in a small street very close to the center. There is a lovely (tiny) Japanese garden, our room was huge, and the Japanese breakfast was really wonderful. Staff was friendly and helpful. I'm not an expert, but the place looked quite authentic to me, except that the owner spoke perfect English and had a somewhat businesslike manner, both of which seemed a bit out of character.

At $200 plus per night, it's hard to compare to a Western-style hotel – the overall experience is more challenging, sleeping and sitting on the floor, narrow stairs, shared bathroom, etc, even more so in our case as we travelled with our 3 year old girl. However we weren't sure when we would visit Kyoto again, so were happy with our choice and we can certainly recommend Inn Kawashima to anyone who is looking for a traditional Japanese experience.

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank bg007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Inn Kawashima

Property: Inn Kawashima
Address: 207-2 Ayazaimoku-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8072, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Shimogyo-ku , Kawaramachi / Karasuma / Shijo Omiya
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
#72 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:3 star — Inn Kawashima 3*
Number of rooms: 5
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Also Known As:
Inn Kawashima Hotel Kyoto

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