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“To Die For”

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Yoshikawa Inn Tempra
Ranked #96 of 366 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“To Die For”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 October 2013

Staying at this inn was the highlight of our 3-week trip to Japan. Hands down. The women who work there were out-of-control sweet. We had no problem communicating even though we speak no Japanese -- they handled everything in English. Their traditional breakfasts and dinners were delicious and extensive (more than we could eat, actually) and we were allowed to sit outside in the morning on the edge of their magnificent little garden and fish pond. The room was comfortable, cool and quiet. We loved the traditional cedar bathroom suite within the suite (which is the only way to describe it). In short: GO HERE.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank BrooksBBarnes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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70 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 (17)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Thai first
  • Any
English first
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2013

I wanted to stay at the Yoshikawa Inn as I wanted the true Ryokan experience in Kyoto.
I was unable to book online as there didn't appear to be an e-mail address on the website. I ended up phoning and booking over the phone. My e-mail address was lost in translation so I got the confirmation e-mail very late after having to chase it up via some Japanese friends.

On arrival, the service was excellent. The service throughout Japan is amazing and you get very used to it. The service was no better or worse than anywhere else we stayed. The English of the staff however was worse than what we had experienced everywhere else.

The room was huge and great. The bath was just excellent and the futons were the most comfortable that we slept on.

The food was amazing. The best we had in Japan. The tempura is a must - the man is fascinating to watch and I could have sat and watched him for hours. Brilliant.

My problem with the inn was the lack of English speaking staff and understanding and added extras on the bill. We knew that there was an added 15% service charge to the bill along with a 5% tax. We were surprised that the inn had adopted a western tradition of service charge as that is unheard of everywhere else in Japan. We expected better service and English. When we were offered alcohol with the meal, we asked if it was included in the bill. We were assured it was. When I came to pay, there was an added £200 to the bill - when questioned- it was the alcohol (with added service charge). I don't understand why, if we were paying for the drink, we were not given a menu with how much we would be paying for it. We were just presented with saki and beer and water and when we finished it, more was presented. We assumed, after being told by the staff, and with no menu, that it was all included. I take this as a lesson learnt, but it left us with a bad experience and a lot of extra money spent. The staff were very apologetic - too much so as they were not going to let us leave without us paying the whole bill!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank elliecowan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore
Level Contributor
33 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 June 2013

This ryokan wasn't actually on our radar until our hotel concierge suggested it when we failed to get bookings for our initial choices - and are we glad he did.

Yoshikawa is located just off a big busy road (we even went out shopping on the first afternoon of our stay and after we checked out); yet, despite being so near to 'civilisation', once you enter the ryokan, you're in an oasis.

The reception area was lovely and immediately set the tone for our stay, and our room did not disappoint either. We got Room #3 which is at the top of a steep flight of steps but if I (at 7 months pregnant) can scale it without much issue (though I did have to be careful not to trip on my yukata), I think most people can handle it - so long as you don't require handicap access. If you do, there are rooms on the bottom floor which I'm sure can be requested for in advance.

Our room was spacious and had all the trappings of a modern hotel room but in a wonderfully traditional setting. Toiletries provided were from Mikimoto and it made us feel real special using them, imagining that they may perhaps contain pearl powder (heh). The traditional cedar wood bath was another great experience - we did not use it the first night (they prepared it for us but I only discovered that late at night) and they prepared it for us on request the next morning. Sleeping wasn't a problem at all as the futons were comfortable and cushy - definitely nothing to complain about in that regard, unlike what I've seen in some reviews for other ryokans.

We ordered the tempura kaiseki for our dinner but were somewhat disappointed that there wasn't more tempura featured in the meal (instead, it was basically a kaiseki with the main courses replaced by tempura courses). The Japanese breakfast (forget about the Western one!) the next morning, however, erased any remnant disappointment - what a feast. Both meals were served in private rooms that seat two and had views into the gardens - what better place to enjoy the gastronomic discoveries. I'm not sure if you can request for the meals to be had in your own room, as I know you can at some ryokans, but we didn't mind coming out at all. The gardens are so beautiful.

Service was commendable, while mostly non-English-speaking. If you want nothing lost in translation and can't speak a word of Japanese, you may want to reconsider staying here - but we didn't mind getting by with our meager command of the language, hand gestures and a fair bit of confusion.

One last point I should add is that there was construction going on near the ryokan at the time of my early-Jun stay (there is a note from the management apologising for it). We checked in at 4 pm on a weekday and could definitely hear construction noise from the room although it wasn't loud and didn't really disrupt the peace we felt at the ryokan.

Overall, I would highly recommend trying a ryokan stay in Kyoto if resources permit and Yoshikawa is definitely high up on my list.

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank diamantesky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
127 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 June 2013

My second trip to Kyoto, and it is my second stay at this Ryokan. Besides the best tempura in Japan in the restaurant, besides the surgically manicured trees in the garden, besides the epic Koi pond with the most beautiful specimens i have ever seen, the service in this hotel continues
to bow me over. Traditional service and decor make the Ryokan experience an unforgettable one.
I will continue to stay here.
they also set up a lovely driver that was very knowledgeable of the sights in Kyoto, highly recomend him.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jeanluc1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
77 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 April 2013

If you can face the expense then a ryokan stay is really worth it and the yoshikawa will give you an amazing and very comfortable traditional Japanese experience. Our rooms were very spacious with views over little traditional gardens, beautiful tatami mats and rice paper windows. Comfortable puffy futons and duvets laid out I the evening. Wooden baths filled with piping hot water, kimono clad ladies bringing green tea and hot towels. All the things you could want in a ryokan while being easy for westerners. The staff are friendly but only a couple speak English (and then only flatteringly) so we had a few confusions and giggles. Western breakfast could be had overlooking the immaculate garden and was a feast, we could have done with out the scary salad at 8.30 though. We had an amazing dinner included one evening, it was extremely expensive but the tempura was the lightest I have ever had. Cherry tea very salty though. All good fun and a once in a lifetime experience.

Room Tip: Our boys had an upstairs room which was much nicer.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank sriv60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
103 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 April 2013

This ryokan is luxuriously comfortable with excellent service and fine dining. It is known for its tempura and we enjoyed 3 dinners there-- one kaiseki, one tempura and one shabu-shabu. The tempura was indeed delicious and it was featured in two of the dinners. Each dinner was as delicious, beautiful and extravagant as the next, served in traditional Japanese dining rooms, some with Western and some with Japanese seating. The dining areas and bedrooms all had beautiful flower arrangements and scrolls. The pottery the meals were served on was exquisite as well. The breakfasts were also incredible. Everyone should try the Japanese breakfast at least once-- pickled plums dipped in sugar, whole fish, delicious tofu soup, and about half a dozen other dishes. We felt like we were living like kings. The traditional futons were incredibly comfortable, and there is nothing like soaking in a traditional Japanese oak hot tub after a long day of walking around a city. Although expensive, we felt it was worthwhile for the novelty of the experience. However as noted elsewhere on this site, there were hidden costs. Despite the high price of the dinners (dinner and breakfast were included in the room fees), no drinks were included (not even soda-- and there were no free refills on the soda!). Also, for a Westerner, living with the complicated Japanese manners for 3 days without respite was challenging. They are so lovely, but one always feels one has done the wrong thing despite best efforts-- and at an intimate ryokan such as this one, there is little reprise from that. I nonetheless highly recommend the experience. It opened our eyes to other ways of living and traditions in a very deep way and gave us an even more profound appreciation for Japanese culture. I think it was a great experience for my son to have.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank lpo1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
142 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 April 2013

I knew I was in for a special experience from the moment we were welcomed at the Inn. We were tired from a long day of travel from Tokyo and a bit chilly (Kyoto is decidedly cooler than Tokyo) from the walk from the subway station, so it was like a slice of heaven to be greeted into the warm lobby by a team of welcoming attendants, sat by a steaming fire, and handed a delicious cup of tea. The next three days were filled with experiences like this...the staff anticipates your every need and then exceeds your expectations. It's like having 6 doting mothers care for you in every possible way. For example - I became sick with a respiratory infection and let them know... they found an English-speaking doctor for me within a few blocks, and when I returned, they knew I would want to rest so my bed was laid out for me, the room lights were dimmed, the room temperature adjusted warmed, and a robe and slippers were set out for me. The rest of the time spent there was just as special - tea and snacks brought to your room, wonderful meals prepared for you, etc. The Inn itself is sparse and beautiful. It is a wonderful mixture of traditional elements and modern/luxury appointments. Certainly the cost is very high, but again - this is a once in a lifetime experience. Fair warning - we did not realize that the alcohol would be charged separately and only discovered this when we received our final bill.

  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rich M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Yoshikawa Inn Tempra

Property: Yoshikawa Inn Tempra
Address: 135 Matsushitacho, Tomikojidori, Oike Sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8093, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > City Center , Kawaramachi / Karasuma / Shijo Omiya
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Room Service
Hotel Style:
#27 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Yoshikawa Hotel Kyoto

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