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“With the right expectations, staying here is a truly memorable experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hiiragiya

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Hiiragiya
Ranked #18 of 360 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
158 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“With the right expectations, staying here is a truly memorable experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 May 2014

Don't expect the facilities and style of the Four Seasons or the Sheraton as you will be sorely disappointed if that's what you are looking for. But if you want to experience an authentic Japanese Ryokan, this place is sensational. This is not somewhere simply to wash up, brush up, refuel and rest your head. It is a cultural experience from the moment you leave your shoes at the door. And it is not designed for the tourist. 2/3 of the guests are Japanese.

The bedroom: We chose a room in the original 200 year old building (of the Ryokan's 28 rooms, some are in a sympathetically constructed "new wing"). Our large room was straight out of Japanese inn central casting: sliding screens, tatami mats, low tables and futons, with the windows on two sides overlooking the Japanese-style garden. During the day - from breakfast until dinner, the centre of the room is take up by a low table and two chairs. Once you have had dinner, the table and chairs are replaced by a futon...so there is not much of a chance of an afternoon nap if that is your style. BTW, the futon was surprisingly comfortable.

Bath time: Although our room had its own bathroom, we chose to use one of the inn's two family bathrooms. Before you panic, it is not open house. You pick a time and make a reservation. Both nights we stayed at Hiiragiya, we bathed for 30 minutes before dinner. Tthe bathing convention is to wash thoroughly (sitting on small stools and using a combination of the showers and large bowls to throw water over yourself) before easing yourself into the large plunge pool full of soporifically warm water. After drying yourself, you put on a yukata (Japanese cotton robe) and head up to your room for dinner.

Food: Breakfast and dinner are served in your room, although I believe you could choose to eat in a public space. Our meals were served by an impeccably courteous and solicitous lady beautifully turned out in her kimono. Our 12 course dinners were both outstanding. Small, marvellously presented courses served in a bewildering array of porcelain and lacquerware - proving that how food looks can be as important as how it tastes. Just one of the twelve dishes on our first night was rice dumpling with sea bream wrapped in bamboo leaves sushi, Japanese yam and okra with sea urchin, simmered tiger prawn and lily bulb and deep fried lotus root. Simply astonishing attention to detail. And while youy are at it, try the Japanese breakfast.

Service: outstanding and friendly. Always willing to explain the customs and help more broadly.

It is quite expensive. It is worth every penny. You'd be mad to miss it

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 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?
7 Thank D j R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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284 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (53)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
122 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 182 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 April 2014

Named one of the top Ryokan's in Kyoto by several publications, we did expect a little bit more (especially if you consider the very steep price, which was double the price of the Shangri-la in Tokyo, where we stayed before). They clame to have original furniture in the guest rooms, well, at least in our room there was no antique furniture. Run down furniture - yes. They are very unflexible regarding dinner/breakfast times. The bathroom bascially has a separate toilet and a washing basin, but no real shower (but they offered my to use the public, bigger bathroom - no, thank you. If I wanted that, I could as well stay at a youth hostel.) After dinner (which is served in your room - for us it was only 2 of us travelling together, it was fine - i do not know how they do it if you travel with a big family or friends...) they prepare your beds, which looked fine - but they are hard like stones. The biggest disappointment was that our room faced a big street, and it was very noisy!!! I expected a Ryokan to be a sanctuary heaven, especially in the TOP one, but it was so loud and noisy, even with my earplugs I could hardly sleep! To summarize - it is definitely an experience to spent a night in a Ryokan, but my guess is the "average" Ryokan is a lot cheaper and does offer the same experience.

Room Tip: Not sure if they have any, but if you really want to stay here - ask for a QUIET room, as far away a...
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank ALHongKong
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
339 reviews
122 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 223 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 April 2014 via mobile

Staying at the Hiiragiya isn't just spending a comfortable night in a ryokan - it encompasses historical, cultural, culinary aspects that one has to take in slowly to appreciate the thought, care & love that goes into making this experience one of a kind! Doing a little research & reading up a little on this place gives one a better understanding of the place & its illustrious guest list.

We made reservations a year in advance to ensure we obtained Rm 14 (Nobel laureate Kawabata's favourite room) in the old wing & Rm 51 (in new wing, the only room with an outdoor balcony). Both rooms were divine - 14 is a classic tatami room (approx 55 sqm) with enough space to contain several private corners for serious contemplation & has been updated to include the modern conveniences we expect today. The room comes with a large outdoor garden that is soothing, calm, peaceful yet lush & dense with green moss & character. Its no wonder that the poet Kawabata was inspired to write! While a couple of rooms may overlook the garden, only Rm 14 has direct access to the garden. Room 51 on the other hand is done up in a lighter modern feel - a beautiful update of the old classic style. The large glass sliding panels open out to a private balcony that has a small garden which is very charming.

Service is as one expects - attentive, professional, discreet & the Hiirgiya ups it all by making you feel this is your home. A personal female butler attends to you & all your needs. Whilst both rooms have private soaking tubs - there are several "family" hot tubs which can be reserved for communal baths. A Japanese ritual I have come to appreciate (nothing better than a hot soak to soothe those aching muscles after a day's adventures).

A kaiseiki dinner here is a must. You can have it in the dining room ( a large tatami room surrounded all round by glass through which you can appreciate greenery). The meal is about 12 courses, each exquisite in taste, style, colour - a feast of all the senses. Breakfast is also a visual & culinary spectacle - both Japanese & western options available.

Staying at the Hiiragiya comes at a hefty price - but worth every cent. Its an experience one has to try. Each time you leave the ryokan, you are sent off to the door by a staff member & on your final departure, the lady of the house bids you farewell and stands at the doorway till she loses sight of you. Only then does she go back in. Hospitality at its finest.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank scorpioshanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dallas, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 April 2014

We just spent three nights with the wonderful folks at Hiiragiya and can report that if you are looking for the best possible Japanese experience with the old traditions accompanied by modern convenience (wifi,...) this is your spot. We were there for Cherry Blossoms and it was perfect. This is one of those indulgences that require some bucks but go for it if you can. Room 25 has all you need. Garden out the window, birds chirping at sunrise, lots of space. While you are having your bath the room girl (sweet as can be!) changes your living room into a tatami bedroom. All perfect.

Room Tip: Room 25 has the space and garden.
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Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Steve G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
honolulu
Level Contributor
79 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 March 2014

We enjoyed our one night stay at this ryokan. It was our last night in Japan so it was a nice way to relax and say goodbye after a vacation filled with so much touring every day. We stayed in the main ,older part of the ryokan. We wanted a more traditional feel so chose that. Our room(s) were large and very relaxing with a sitting room that looked on to a private garden. The bathroom facilities are very modern..so no worries there. The traditional furo so,ing bath was waiting and ready when we checked in...so relaxing to have a long hot soak before changing in to the traditional yukata robes for dinner. Kaiser I cuisine is not my favorite...but the ryokan does ask you when you make bookings if you have any dietary restrictions..so you can tell them what you will NOT eat. The futons for sleeping were very comfortable ...and there IS wifi and TV if you want to use them. Our attendant took good care of us...always tea and cold water available. We Jose Japanese breakfast...figured "why not?" It's japan! Breakfast was much more to my liking than dinner...lots of good little dishes...egg, soft tofu,rice,miso soup,grilled fish,vegetables,pickles ..a feast that took up our whole table. Overall very expensive to have a ryokan experience,but worthwhile to do once. I think one night is enough....it's a small adventure

  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank hongo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco
Level Contributor
176 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2014

This was an incredible experience. And for the price, it should be. The common areas were lovely and the service exemplary.The 200-year-old building was constructed of all natural materials (wood, sand and clay walls, paper panels and straw mats) and seemed very authentic. Our room was breath-taking and was authentically decorated with scrolls, ceramics and flower (albeit artificial) arrangements.The floors had heated mats to keep your feet warm. But the most impressive feature was the sitting room alcove which overlooked a lovely Japanese garden. Absolutely perfect for sipping sake and relaxing. We took advantage of a pre-dinner soaking bath for two in the hotel's two-person private wooden tub (which we used instead of the single-person cedar soaking tub in our room). Pure luxury.

We returned to our room wearing the ryokan-supplied traditional lounging and sleeping dress. In our absence, the staff had set up our room for dining. They then began to bring in course after wonderful course of the traditional kaiseki dinner. (a few of our favorite dishes including snow crab with citrus sudachi, dashi soup,tiger prawn, most of the sashimi, mashed sweet potato with sweetened black bean, turnip in white miso, rice seasoned with crab and ginger, and especially tatsuta-fried abalone). The beauty of the meal was as impressive as the food and service.

The staff then comes in to remove the dining table and replace it with a "bed", Very comfortable in spite of being on the floor. Breakfast was served the next morning in our room. We only wish that we had asked for a later breakfast as lounging around in our room was so pleasant.

Do not go to this place looking for just a place to sleep. This is an experience. Yes it is a splurge. But one well worth taking.

Room Tip: We stayed in the room where the Nobel prize winning author Kawabata Yasunari frequented. The garden...
See more room tips
  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 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?
2 Thank activeboomertravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
69 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2014

this was such an amazing experience of the cultural aspect of japanese hospitality.. very expensive but you have a personal maid that is there for looks after your needs.. the japanese tub was a new experience but once you got in it was great fun.. the degustation meal was amazing and truly a once in a lifetime experience... beds were uncomfortable but it goes with the experience I suppose. An experience that I won't forget in a hurry

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Sandra L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hiiragiya

Property: Hiiragiya
Address: 277 Nakahakusancho Huyacho Anekoji-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8094, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > City Center
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#5 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:3 star — Hiiragiya 3*
Number of rooms: 28
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Hiiragiya Hotel Kyoto

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