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“What a cultural experience!” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Watazen

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Watazen
Ranked #53 of 363 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“What a cultural experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 September 2010

Good location with 5 mins walk from train station and 2 mins to the market. The building was old but comfortable. Arrived early for check-in and the receptionist organised the tea ceremony instead of the maid. Didn't try the public bath as our room is ensuite. The 10 courses traditional dinner were amazing...... the highlight of our trip..... with super service by the maid. The bed was comfortable and had a good sleep with the strong air-cond on. The traditional Japanese breakfast was good but complicated......have to follow what to do by the female boss with a funny character...... always telling everyone that there was a coffer machine available with her broken English. A cultural experience of our lifetime!

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank TravelLover317
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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269 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
    150
    88
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Plymouth, Vermont
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 August 2010

If you have never been to a Japanese style hotel you must try this one. The experience was totally unreal, one of the most exciting stays I have ever had. The service and food was to die for. From the moment we walked into the lobby, everything was first class and more than we ever imagined. The staff was informative and personable. A must see.

Stayed August 2010, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Susan R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
171 reviews
99 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 218 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2010

We ended up here after having to change our travel dates and not being able to rebook our first choice. The staff were very friendly and we managed to get a four `bed` room with its own bathroom. We didn`t have any meals there.

The location is great for the market, shops and eateries, and close to Gion and transportation.

The building is not a traditional wooden ryokan, but a 1960s (?) one and so didn`t have the real quaintness that comes with that. However, the rooms did give a real taste of a ryokan stay, which our kids enjoyed. The staff were attentive and along with the location it made this a safe bet and a good, if not spectacular choice.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank jonben
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 July 2010

traditional and old but lovely. superb service, breakfast, and nice onsen hot spring.
I look forward to returning.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled solo
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank CleanAirEnjoyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2010

In the 1.5 weeks prior to staying at this ryokan, I was gradually weaning myself into more Japanese accomodations, going from a nice western-style hotel and a capsule hotel (mainly for the experience) in Tokyo to a tiny 3-tatami-mat business hotel in Osaka. For my 3 nights in Kyoto, I chose to stay at various ryokans for that traditional Japanese guest house experience; each night was spent at a different ryokan, though this was due to my time in Kyoto coinciding with a heavy tourist period in April.

So, Watazen Ryokan was my accomodation for the first night in Kyoto. I arrived in Kyoto in the late morning, but wouldn't actually look for the ryokan until around 7 at night; instead, I stuffed my bags into a locker and did some touring during the day. So, when I did start looking for the ryokan, it was quite dark. I had a map of the area, but somehow I ended up getting lost trying to find the hotel; luckilly, my iPhone pointed me in the right direction. After finding the ryokan, I understood why I missed it in the first place. The entrance to the ryokan is in a narrow road, not a main road like I thought. Once you're on the correct street, it is not too difficult to find the ryokan, as it did have a sign in english. Once familiarized with the area, it was about a 5-10 minute walk from Shijo station; by the way, if you're carrying heavy luggage, you're going to HATE Shijo station (lots of stairs). I didn't get to explore the surrounding area much, but I felt safe walking around at night. Closer to the station, there's a shopping area, as well as a Starbucks (a reflief for a coffee addict like myself).

Upon entering the building, I was greeted by very polite staff. The front desk staff spoke english very well; I had no trouble whatsoever understanding them. Once all the paperwork was filled out, the front desk clerk, handling my luggage, took me to my room. Once settled in the room, the room maid made me feel right at home. She, too, spoke english - not as well as the front desk staff, but well enough to converse as she prepared the in-room meal (more on that in a bit), took away the dishes, and prepared the futon. She was quite witty, very polite, and also very helpful; she even took the time to grab me a map and offer some sightseeing advice. To top things off with the great service, the owner of the ryokan even stopped by to welcome me, which was quite a surprise. She was exactly what I pictured a ryokan owner to be like - a woman of respectable age, very polite, and warm. You could tell she definitely cared about her guests, as she asked me about the room, tatami mats, and food.

This ryokan was more of a ryokan hotel, as there were many rooms on multiple floors. Once in the room, though, I pretty much forgot about that fact. Of all the hotels I've stayed at during my entire stay in japan, I'd have to say this ryokan had the largest room size - 8 tatami mats with an anteroom!!! It could have easily housed a group of 4 with room to spare. As a solo traveller, I honestly felt guilty being given such a spacious room; then again, they could have easily rejected my reservation request (I booked through the Welcome Inn Reservation Center website). Anyway, the room was spotless, and the room smelled nice and clean. There were tatami mats in this room, so you had to put away the shoes at the entrance (cubby holes and slippers for walking around the building were provided). In the room, a small table sat in the center of the room with 4 seat things intended for sitting Japanese-style; I did my best, but eventually ended up sitting w/ my legs to one side. A large flat-screen TV was provided in the room, which I used to watch the usual variety shows while eating. The ante-room housed a couple of chairs and small table beside the window, but I never used the room; the view wasn't that great, either. The room had a small closet with hangars; yukatas were provided for you to wear around the ryokan. For those with valuables, a safe was provided in the room, though not large enough to house a 13" laptop.

Still weaning myself into the traditional experience, I opted that night for a room with a private bath, so I didn't bother to see the shared bath on the basement level. Like the main room, the bath room was nice and clean. For me, this was the first private bath room that had enough space to fit an area for sitting on the plastic stool to do the pre-wash before one entered the bath. It was also the first place that housed the toilet in a separate room, across from the bath room (hence my usage of bath room vs. bathroom); separate toilet-room slippers were provided. In case you're wondering, the toilet was the heated type w/ bidet, something I missed, as the previous hotel had a cold bidet-less toilet. The bath was large and deep enough for me to comfortably rest in. The sink, which was in the hallway between the bath room and the toilet room, was stocked with the same standard toiletries my other hotels had: toothbrush, toothpaste, cotton tip, etc.

The food. OMG the food. This ryokan served dinner, with an optional breakfast; I opted for the breakfast as well. The dinner at this ryokan was one of the best prepared feasts I had during my entire Japan trip (most of the time I lived off of convenience store food). My maid stopped by around 3-4 times, each time bringing another meal. There was sushi, grilled fish, tempura, clear soup, pickled vegetables, meat, and more. To make things more interesting, I'm also inclined to believe that my meal also included some fugu. After my meal, my maid asked if I liked fugu, to which I replied that I never had it before; she then mentioned that I just ate it. I'm not sure if I misunderstood her, but I'm sticking with the claim that I had fugu at this ryokan. Everything about this meal seemed to be carefully planned; the maid even had a supervising maid direct her as to how to position everything on the table! Everything tasted wonderful. The sushi tasted fresh. The tempura wasn't oily. The vegetables were crisp. I truly felt that I was served a traditional Japanese dinner. With breakfast, one had to choose between Japanese-style and western-style. I chose Japanese-style to stick with the theme. Unlike dinner, breakfast was served downstairs in a common dining area. Fortunately (for me), the dining area had tables and chairs. For breakfast, there was miso soup, fish, a pickled dish, egg, and much more. It wasn't too heavy, but just enough to get me started on my day.

In my opinion, this ryokan was the best way to start off the Kyoto segment of my Japan trip. The english-speaking staff made it easy to speak to, and the the environment eased me into traditional Japanese-style living. If given the opportunity to stay in Kyoto again, I wouldn't hesitate to stay here!

  • Stayed April 2010, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 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 inferno10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
all over the place
Level Contributor
28 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 May 2010

After a looong search we chose this ryokan for our one night japanese experience and i must say it was totally worth it ! Be sure to book the room with bathroom and shower if you don't want to use the communal bath. ( which by the way was impeccably clean) The staff was amazing, so polite and helpful, we had dinner server in our room by a such a nice lady and we had breakfast served in the main restaurant. We didn't recognize 90% of what we ate, but it all tasted amazing. The futons were actually more comfortable that we expected and the room was quiet. I would recommend this place to all visiting Kyoto. Was very very happy with this choice !

  • Stayed May 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 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?
3 Thank rabbitbun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
20 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2010

Watazen was a comfortable and clean hotel. Our room was spacious and the hotel had helpful amenities like free Internet. The "lucky dip" prize draw was a nice touch when we arrived. We didn't realize that the rooms did not have ensuite showers, so those who aren't keen to use a communal onsen and shower room should avoid this hotel - we were fine with it. Staff were very helpful. Good location near Nishiki market. Decor was a bit clinical and 70s looking, but not important to us. There are cheaper, nicer options in Kyoto but Watazen is a decent base for sightseeing.

Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank happyphantom7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Watazen

Property: Watazen
Address: 413 Izutsuyacho, Rokkaku Sagaru, Yanaginobaba, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8113 , Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto > Shinkyogoku Shopping District , Kawaramachi / Karasuma / Shijo Omiya
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Watazen 3.5*
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
WATAZEN is a Classical Japanese Inn with modern amenities, located in the center of Kyoto. It has been a familiar inn for many travelers to Kyoto since [Tenpo Gannen](1830). Today, many people enjoy our traditional harmonious atmosphere in central Kyoto. We are confident that our excellent service and cuisine will make your visit to Kyoto a memorable one. Please enjoy Kyoto and relax at WATAZEN. The cost is from 6300JPY - per person. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Watazen Hotel Kyoto

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