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Reviewed 1 December 2013

If you are on your first trip to Japan and were not keen about it because it wasn't the place of choice to go, and yet still want to get away from everything at home country (that included the lovely kids) to just chill out with your wife, then you were like me! So, to reduce the torture, the next best thing for me to find was another "home" abroad as well to just chill - and Sakura Ryokan simply fitted that "role" for us.

We visited Kyoto nearer the end of autumn simply to just enjoy the much said beautiful foliage that the city could offer. After a quick 1 day in Tokyo, we took the Shinkansen and arrived Kyoto around 2.40pm. When we walked out from the train station, we were kind of lost our direction as the Shinkansen exit was on the south side of Kyoto station. I kept thinking we would be on the "right" side of the train station. After orientating ourselves, we took chances and tried going to the other side of the train station and soon after got outside of the building to verify our location and bearings and there it stood, the tall Kyoto Tower right in front of us. Still a bit unsure which direction, we just tried our luck and walked towards where Nishi Honganji temple was. We walked along 1 main road westerly and then northerly to another (East - West type) main road looking for the temple. Once we found this temple (mind you, it was already starting to get dark fast at 4pm ish and drizzling), it was already half hour of walking with the bags and we still simply couldn't find the place. It wasn't opposite this temple like how it looked on the map. Remembering what I read before, I tried one of the lanes (without my wife) and voila - Sakura Ryokan stood beautifully there. Reminded us of the tea houses we saw in the cartoon "Spirited Away". I went back to "retrieve" my wife, and quickly moved towards the Ryokan, and when the doors opened to welcome us, we stepped into an enchanting quaint establishment - exactly like the many reviews about this place. Warm and toasty, we were checked in, and were directed to our room. Western styled beds, with windows overlooking a small Japanese Garden at the side of the Ryokan. We were in Room 213 and the lifts were only for our luggage and we had to walk up the stairs to the room. It is 3 (or 4 - not sure) storey, so that was no sweat for us.

Anyways, for future travelers, the Ryokan is directly behind on a small lane opposite of the Temple. Refer to a photo of the Gate Way which is situated on the opposite side of the Temple, and there are some shops on Japanese Buddhism. When you walk towards the back lane, at the junction, there is a building with Western Architecture (might be Turkish) which looked empty, quiet and deserted. Otherwise, also attached are the front and back of the Ryokan's business card - if you want to get a cab.

Now what is special about this place.
1) The staff spoke very good English, in fact German accented to some extend. They were also very polite, courteous and very empathetic with our initial situation of being lost in Kyoto.
2) Demographic of patrons were mostly Westerners, families and couples.
3) No WI-FI in the rooms, but available in the lobby and that creates this really really homely feel about the place. The kitchen was closed when we got there, but in the mornings, it was almost like waking up to your mom's cooking. So after a long day outside, and when you return home, you would somehow eventually strike conversations with other travelers on how the day went. So you could share stories, chit chat almost through the night whilst enjoying nice warm/cold sake available for sale in the Ryokan (almost like a youth hostel concept and yes, main doors do get locked at 11pm but you could still get in using the side door somehow - that I will let the Ryokan explain to you if you are going). So that was what I really appreciated most and having people coming down to the lobby to use the WI-FI encouraged conversations to happen.
4) There were workshops - and when we were there, they were doing Japanese Calligraphy.
5) The staff were ambassadors of Kyoto City. They could recommend places to go, how to get there, they even sell Day Passes for buses and even could contact and arrange an English speaking personal driver on hire, to get the most out Kyoto in the shortest amount of time.
We did not engage that service though, as after the initial fiasco and understanding the city a little bit, it actually only took us 15 minutes by foot to get to the nearby Kyoto Train Station and city bus station (only if we were not so distracted by the interesting vendor machines along the way). The walks were just breath taking. On our last day, we took a cab to the train station (south side) and that costed us approximately USD9. Even in Malaysia, a short trip like would cost slightly more than that, so that was a very good price.
6) Breakfast - Japanese breakfast served was awesome. I understand only 12 sets (I may be wrong) would be made each day, so please just make your reservation with the front desk. I have overhead while having my breakfast of the staff turning down guests' requests as they have gotten the quota for the next day. My wife, after the 1st day, changed her breakfast to Japanese, so that said a lot on how sumptuous the sticky rice, taste buds tingling misou soup, pan fried salmon fish etc ... gosh! How mouth watering!!!!
7) Point to note - The Ryokan is about 5 minutes away from a hospital (that's good to know if you have your health to monitor), a couple of pharmacies near the hospital, and a Seven-11 Convenient Store. There were also recommended eating places by the staff and their locations started to make sense after we got the Kyoto City Map from the Ryokan. So be sure to get a couple of copies from them!

I would always ask myself this question after writing a review. Will I go back to stay at this Ryokan again? I would say "Absolutely YES YES YES!" Well done to this Tripadvisor Award Winning establishment. It was a joy, indeed!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank zcemp13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

I chose Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura when I attended my Japanese friend's wedding in Kyoto recently because I would like to experience staying in Ryokan. This Ryokan is cozy and beautiful! You can choose a traditional style or a Western style room. It has great service, all staff are very friendly, helpful and they can speak English. The Sakura Ryokan can help arrange activities for its guests too. My friend & I tried the Tea Ceremony and Maiko Experience! We enjoyed it very much! Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura is located near Kyoto Train Station & bus terminal. For those who enjoy walking, you can walk from the train station or you can take a bus (just 3 stops from the bus terminal)!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Badariyah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 October 2013

Really nice staff that were super helpful. They had lots of information on events and local sights. We stayed in the Japanese style room with tatami mats and futons which were actually really comfortable. It was very small but had everything you need. It was also really clean. Private shower and toilet. Was fairly close to Kyoto station. Bus stop near by.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
Thank Sarah A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2013

We only had one night here but we enjoyed the experience of sleeping in a genuine Japanese style room. We had a room which opened onto the small garden and this was lovely.
We literally only slept in the room as we spent the rest of the time exploring the amazing district.
The Japanese breakfast was delicious and the staff were very courteous and helpful.

  • Stayed: October 2013
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Thank Linesboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 September 2013

We stayed there for four nights in Sep 2013. Ann Lina and her colleagues have made our stay very enjoyable. The rooms are clean and the beds are comfortable. Staff spoke good English and helped us planning our day trips.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Yaoique
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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