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Reviewed November 30, 2017

We stayed here for a few days in the off season (i.e. outside hanami). The hotel was nearly deserted, as was the town itself. The hotel is at the end of the town, quite some walk from the majority of shops & restaurants Our room was a huge open rectangle filled with nothing more than tatami mats & small table, the walls literally logs, comfortable futons being rolled out a night. Nice view out towards a rich green forest. Small attached toilet with sink, but no actual bathroom (shower/bath). Instead, the onsen is used for bathing. Two onsen spaces, which are interchanged daily. One quite small & would feel crowed with more guests, the other OK. We had it mostly to ourselves, which was great. Breakfasts are served in a woody cabin across the road - great views. Friendly & attentive service with just enough English to get by. Our host lent us her own child’s yukatas for our children which was appreciated, and threw some wet gear into her own dryer for a quick blast - welcome personal touches. WiFi however was problematic - an unreliable & slow connection that reaches only as far as the lobby in any case. There is an extension built at the back of the older house which has a floor-to-ceilng window, with great views of the forest, nice place to sit & relax. Kaiseki is served in a quite formal room and is both delicious and filling. Overall we quite liked this place, though like any ryokan it wasn’t especially cheap. The location could be an issue for some, or perhaps an asset (i.e. away from the thick of the action in high season). If ever in the town again, I would consider staying here again but also be open to other possibilities.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Nick J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 8, 2017

During a 9-day visit to Japan, my adult daughter and I stayed at moderately-priced hotels in Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama and at Ryokan Kato, which was considerably more expensive than the hotels. Unlike the hotels, which were bright and cheery, the ambiance of Ryokan Kato was dull. While the facilities were clean and not in need of repair, they lacked freshness despite being in the countryside. And this issue extended to the food. It was attractive in appearance, but lacked the freshness we had expected based on tripadvisor reviews. Even the onsen seemed tired. It was physically attractive, but the almost empty containers of liquid soap and shampoo of different manufacture suggested a lack of attention. I compared this with the onsen in our moderately-priced hotel (Hotel Sobial) in Osaka, which had nicely displayed standardized containers of soap, shampoo and conditioner.

The staff was generally very attentive, but there were a couple of instances in which the personal attention failed. After arriving at the Yoshino train station we went to take the ropeway up the steep hill leading to the ryokan. It was not in service. I called the ryokan to find out what we should do and was told we could wait for a bus. I had no idea how long that would take and recalled tripadvisor reviewers mentioning the ryokan had provided transport. Such transport was provided, but only after I requested it. And on departure, I was given a receipt belonging to another guest even though the ryokan had only a handful of guests.

In sum, my daughter and I agreed Ryokan Kato was not good value and while we would gladly return to the hotels in Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama, and would like to visit Yoshino again, neither of us would care to return to Ryokan Kato.

  • Stayed: October 2017, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank sturutoo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed May 4, 2017 via mobile

I highly recommend this ryokan. We stayed at a much more expensive place earlier on our trip but the service at kato ryokan was warmer and friendlier. 2 things that sets a ryokan apart from a hotel.

Lots of character and personal style has gone into the construction of this place. It really tries very hard to highlight the heritage and specialties of the local area.

By the way food was amazing considering the price.

Stayed: May 2017, travelled with family
Thank M L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 5, 2016

+ Attractive lower mountain area with lots of easy to follow walking around an attractive traditional village with a few temples, & plenty of shops & restos
+ Very good location for walking around the much larger than expected village
+ Lovely views over the hills from breakfast room
+ Very big bedroom with own toilet
+ Kindly doubled up the futons to make more comfortable (without being asked)
+ Very quiet. Slept v well
+ As usual in Japan, very clean
+ Nice indoor / outdoor onsen, separate M/F.
+ Nice evening meal and breakfast
+ Only 100m turn right from the top of the Yoshino cable car (At Nov 16: 4 / hr, last up 5-40pm). Also next to top of footpath.
- not enough clothes storage space, but thats normal. the same as most other hotels / ryokan
- friendly staff. Some seemed a little inexperienced, but they all tried hard to please
- Only aircon based heating
- Old fashioned design / furniture

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank gmbklm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 27, 2016

We have just spent 2 nights at the Ryokan Kato and I can honestly say, hand on heart, it is one of the best places I have ever stayed.
We arrived late afternoon, having caught the cable car up the mountain after getting off the train at Yoshino. We were delighted to see our names written up outside the ryokan, so we knew we were in the right place! We were then welcomed with tea and local sweets before being shown to our room. This was really spacious and extremely comfortable, with lovely mountain views. As is usually the case with ryokans, we didn't have our own bathroom, but we did have a sink in the room. The futons were extremely comfortable and I really liked the pillows (which were filled with buckwheat husks, I believe). The baths (onsen) were gorgeous, spotlessly clean and the outdoor area was articularly lovely at night, looking up at the stars while soaking in the tub.
The food was amazing, I can't really come up with enough superlatives to describe it! I have never had food like it and I'm not going to lie, to Western eyes some of it was bit unusual (but beautiful!) but we were game for trying everything and we were well rewarded for doing so - it was all delicious. The multi course japanese traditional dinner in particular was stunning, the dishes just kept on coming...! The breakfasts were excellent, too, and we loved the breakfast area with the view over the mountains. We had the Japanese breakfast one morning and the Western one the other morning - both really set us up for the day.
I loved the whole ryokan experience, from slipping into my yukata to the wonderful Japanese food to the relaxing outdoor bath (Honestly, I thought I'd be a bit freaked out by communal bathing, but really it's no big deal!)
On the final morning, it was chucking down with rain and the hostess of the ryokan actually insisted on driving us back down the hill to the station herself, rather than letting us walk back to the ropeway in the rain. She was so kind, and was absolutely lovely with our little boy.
We would love to come back to this ryokan one day and will certainly be recommending it to our friends. Yoshino is a beautiful place to visit and we are so glad we added it to our itinerary.
If you want to know what real hospitality is like, stay here! Thank you to all the staff for a wonderful weekend.

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Fierydormouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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