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“Great place to stay, not sure if it was worth the cost”
Review of Sakoya

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Sakoya
Sapporo, Japan
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Great place to stay, not sure if it was worth the cost”
Reviewed 10 November 2011

I know that any half decent ryokan in Japan is going to cost you an arm and a leg. But for the price we payed (over $600 per night for three people) we expected a bit more from the facilities.

The service however was really good. The women running the place were extremely helpful, though only spoke a little English. They really did try to make you feel at home. Every concern I had was met with prompt attention. They went out of thier way for us several times. For example, as we were being driven to the train station to leave, the staff member asked us if we had seen the temple. We hadn't, so he turned the car around and drove us back up the mountain so we could see it. He even paid our entrance fee! Then he gave us a little tour and history of the place and waited patiently while we explored and took pictures. They couldn't have been more accommodating!

I thought the baths were really nice, although they did start to get too hot towards the end of the evening. I tried to get in one more time before bed and couldn't even get my foot in. The free sake in a barrel in the baths was a nice touch. I think I enjoyed a little too much of that.

The food however was ok. The dinner was nice but the breakfast was not good at all. I ate almost none of it. If I had called ahead though we could have gotten a western style breakfast. So that is partially my fault since I know I don't enjoy Japanese style breakfast.

The room was where they lost most of thier points. The bathroom was not clean. I would not have used that shower even if there wasn't a public bath. The water that came out of the faucet was a rusty brown and the whole thing smelled of sewage. I used bottled water to brush my teeth. It was pretty unpleasant.

All in all, I did like Sakoya. Especially since it was a last minute booking, as I visited shortly after the March earthquake and had to quickly change my travel plans. The staff was great and the location is beautiful. But I don't think I liked it enough to go back, especially for that much money. The condition of the room being the major deterrent. But I do wish them all the best.

Room Tip: Call ahead if you don't want Japanese style breakfast!!
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank thegreatpumpkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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42 reviews from our community

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English first
Nagoya, Japan
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 March 2011

Having lived in Japan for 13 years, expected it to be reasonably good (as the price suggested). Wrong. As we arrived, we were attacked by a team of middle-aged Japanese women. They shouted continuously those few words in English that they knew and kept pushing us around as if we were kids. We told them that we could understand and speak Japanese and had an extensive experience of staying at Japanese inns. They ignored our plea and continued treating us as imbeciles. Taking a bath was the worst part (we were really looking forward to that after a day of driving in the cold weather). We were not told about the bathing options, but instead, shoved into a private bath where the shower didn't work properly and the water in the bath was unbelievably hot. Completely unaware of the problem, I tried to enter the bath and scolded my leg. We returned to the room and, when dinner was being served, complained to the ladies. They said that there was a problem with the boiler, but the other baths - those for common use - were probably OK, but they were sure we wouldn't want to use those. Nobody bothered to ask us what we would prefer.
By the time we were leaving next morning, we had really enough of the "service" and looked forward to our next destination, where things were normal and we managed to have a good trip after all.
The cost of bathing was duly included in our bill, however. We certainly could have spent 33,000 yen much better elsewhere. The food was mediocre: mostly cheap vegetables cooked in a variety of ways.
My advice: if you know what Japanese inns, hot springs, and Japanese service are like, stay away from Sakoya. They think that foreigners are a source of easy money because they have no idea.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
20 Thank Softone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Osaka
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 December 2010

I stayed for one night in Sakoya with my mother and my girlfriend in the charming but sleepy Yoshino. I have stayed in many Ryokan`s over the years, so the novelty factor has kind of worn off. To really enjoy a stay in a nice Ryokan is easy though. Whats not to like? They are clean, the foods nearly always excellent, the rooms are usually beautiful and spacious and they nearly always have nice public baths, or if your lucky, an Onsen. However, they are expensive. So once the novelty wears off, personally speaking, they have to tick more than just the above boxes to keep me satisfied that my yen is well spent.
Thankfully, Sakoya does just that. From the moment we entered the reception I knew we were going to enjoy it. The place is stunning! It sits on the side of a hill looking down a small valley. I could only imagine how pretty it must be during Cherry Blossom. Were were put in room 1 which consisted of a western style toilet, very spacious main room and a second small room with the view down the valley. We also had two wooden baths, one inside with a shower and the other on the balcony. Despite the cold weather, I used the one outside and it was brilliant. The Onsen here are also excellent, the mens consisted of two main baths one indoor and one outdoor. They even had free sake in a barrel next to the outdoor bath. The food was superb, but what separated it from other Ryokans was the effort the chef went to accomadate a vegetarian (my girlfriend) he had even used an alternative to fish broth in her main dish. We were also served plum wine with our meal that they make on site and it was awsome. I did ask to buy a bottle but unfortunaltly they dont sell it. When we checked out in the morning, we were thouroughly relaxed and ready to face the world, and the long train ride to Osaka. The manager Tsu and some of the staff came to see us off and my mother couldnt believe that they were all here just to say goodbuy to there guests. A wonderfull way to finish the stay. Make no mistake, if you want the Authentic Ryokan experience, then look no further. Its traditional, beautiful, has friendly staff, excellent food and has a great atmosphere.
Yoshino is like sleepy hollow when its not Cherry Blossom but that should be why you come to Yoshino not why you shouldnt come. I you want to chill out for a night and just forget the real world for a day, then I would thouroughly recomend Sakoya.

  • Stayed December 2010
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Helpful?
1 Thank super6oneOsaka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wisconsin USA
Level Contributor
24 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 November 2010

We spent three nights at the Sakoya, and couldn't have been more pleased! From our greeting upon arrival to our departure, everything was perfect. The staff was totally committed to making guests happy and satisfied.
While we were checking in, we were presented with a sort of ginger pudding which hit the spot (four train changes had really made us tired). We were escorted up to our suite, which included two spacious rooms, and a private bath including a cypress wood tub. We learned later that the suite was 150 years old (perfectly maintained) and had sheltered such guests as early prime minister Ito Hirobumi, the empress Masako, and Admiral Togo, the Russo-Japanese war hero. Being a history buff, this was icing on the cake.
Then came the meals. Kaiseki at it's finest. Even though I am not a big fan of Japanese food, there was more than I could eat of what I could eat. My wife, who is Japanese, pronounced the food about the best she had experienced. It was all served with a great deal of attention and friendliness.
The inn was quiet at night, and we both enjoyed good sleep.
The Okame-san, the owner of the inn, was as helpful as possible, as were her staff. When we needed to do laundry, she had one of the staff drive us to the next town to a laundromat. Our stay was one of the high points of our trip and I would recommend Sakoya in the highest terms to anyone visiting the Yoshino area.
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  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Tay1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
91 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2010

Yoshino is a beautiful part of Japan and if there for sakura season in early April I highly recommend a visit. Sakoya was not a cheap hotel by any means and the most expensive we had for the trip, but it was really nice. The location was good and central although we walked from the top of the cable car with bags up the hill and I wouldn't recommend this for older people.

The staff were friendly and one even spoke excellent English as he had lived in England for a few years. It was quite big and very clean. There were public onsen but we used our own outdoor bath so not sure what they were like, but I imagine very nice. The room was huge and really nice with seat and table by the window and a place to store bags out of the main room. It was 2 storey and the bottom floor was where the bathroom was. It had a western toilet and a Japanese indoor wooden bath and shower and also our own private oudoor hot spring bath which was really nice and a fantastic expereince. It was great to have a relaxing hot bath, hop into the robes and go and have dinner.

The dinner was included and in their main restaurant area (not in-room). It was really nice, but we'd actually had better at other ryokans. The restaurant could of had more atmosphere but I guess this is why its a modern ryokan, not a traditional one. Still, we had a lovely meal that will be long remembered and a great experience.

Conclusion: Great location (Loved Yoshino's nature in Sakura season), nice and clean ryokan, big rooms, amazing outdoor private balcony hot spring, friendly staff. I would highly recommend this ryokan. The only downside would be price. It was a bit expensive, but I guess thats what the prices are during peak season in April.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank sadpanda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 June 2010

Couldn't get any accomodation in Nara in Cherry Blossom season so tried "Japanese Guesthouses' who found this Ryokan on Yoshino. The building is very old, beautiful and our room was stunning. Huge beautifully furnished (Japanese style) and with the most stunning views of the cherry blossom and mountains. The food was outstanding - meals all inclusive. Our waitress was delightful; she could not speak English but we managed with sign language and laughter. The service was wonderful. Staff have little english apart from Tsu who was very attentive. Nothing was too much trouble and he organised a very complex set of train tickets for us, even going to the station to purchase then for us.
There is both communal and private (indoor and outdoor) natural hot springs.
The accomodation was expensive as tourism has a short season in this beautiful town - but well worth the splurge. Would love to go back.

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank HeatherAngelo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 September 2009

I wanted to try a ryokan whilst in Japan but was nervous about straying from the comfort of western style hotels where I know how things operate. The trip to Yoshino took us to the very end of the train line deep into the countryside, so we were understandably releived the taxi driver knew the Sakoya (we had printed out the name and address in Japanese) when we arrived as beinng stranded was not part of the plan.
We were immediately struck by the beauty of the area, Yoshino has many world heritage listed sites of historical importance amidst the beautiful mountains. We were told that in April when the cherry blossoms bloom the entire mountain turns pink, the photos looked pretty, if we ever get to return it will be at that time of year. However as it was we had the entire town to ourselves. Walking the thin and winding roads, licking cherry blossum ice cream, looking at local wares and amazed by the temples and shrines we were passing, we were so grateful to be in a quiet shady part of Japan, having just come from Osaka we were pleased to see how different this place was from the city.
The Sakoya Ryokan made us so welcome. We paid what we initially thought was a lot for our stay, now I understand that for what we got the price was in fact very cheap. Our room was a suite, we had a powder room, bathroom, sleeping room and living room. We also had a private baclony overlooking the breathtaking mountains with a Japanese bath on it filled with water pumped from the hot springs.
The price includes breakfast and dinner each day, and this was a major highlight. I chose the western style breafast whilst hubby had the Japanese. We were both very happy and full for the day. The dinner cannot be raved about enough. We had fresh sushi, sushimi, fish from the local river, hotpot, soups, bbq beef, plum wine, sake...you name it, it was there. I don't eat fish myself and even so there was more than enough that I loved, we were never able to finish a meal. It was amazing.
The staff are so very friendly, the area was so extremely beautiful and everything was perfect. HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended.

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sannia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Sakoya

Property: Sakoya
Address: 2620 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-gun, Yoshino-cho 639-3115, Nara Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Nara Prefecture > Yoshino-gun > Yoshino-cho
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 19 Hotels / Ryokan in Yoshino-cho
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Sakoya 3*
Number of rooms: 3
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