Yuzuya Ryokan

Yuzuya Ryokan

What kind of accommodation is Yuzuya Ryokan?

This is a small authentic ryokan in the Gion area. Once you pass through the gates of Yuzuya Ryokan, the scent of yuzu wafts through the air. The bustling atmosphere of Gion is replaced by a dignified and quiet atmosphere. The old wooden doors and storehouses used throughout the building are full of flavor. It’s a modest, cozy entrance right next to Yasaka Shrine.

The scent of yuzu was pleasant the moment I entered, and I was surprised at how quiet it was when I stepped into the inn. To have such a place in the middle of Gion town, that’s what “Kyoto” is all about.

After opening the gate and walking up the stone steps, you will find the entrance to the ryokan. It’s hard to walk up these stairs with a suitcase.

As you enter, you will see that the design is reminiscent of an old-fashioned kitchen, with Okudosan called kamado and many yuzus *Japanese citron decorations here and there, just like the name of the ryokan.

Then the staff’s mompe-designed uniforms are quite quaint and perfect for this ryokan. I was impressed by the young part-time staff who were cleaning the building in the morning, wearing mompe and rolling up their arms. The casual warmth of the staff was exquisite, and I felt very comfortable.

There are many inns in Kyoto that are more luxurious and sophisticated than this one. However, what makes Yuzuya Ryokan so outstanding is the original elements and hospitality that can only be found here, as well as the wonderful local cuisine that uses yuzu.

Then the location is perfect, in the Gion area. Even though it was located in the middle of the city, it was very quiet and I felt like time was slowly passing by.

If I had to give one drawback, it would be that the overall facilities are old. Most rooms are small and dark, and there are no rooms with beds. It may not be suitable for people who have never experienced a ryokan before.

Then some of the rooms face the intersection in front of Yasaka Shrine, so they may be noisy. This can’t be helped as it is a traditional building. It’s a great location to see the Gion Festival in July from them, though.

Yuzuya Ryokan would be great for couples, business persons, small groups, or solo travelers, but not families with small children.  *A minimum age requirement of 13 applies.

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Is the location easy to access?

Yes, it’s easy if you take a taxi.   It takes 10min from Kyoto station and costs around 1,000JPY.  Alternatively, it takes 15min walk from Gion-Shijo Station or Kawaramachi Station.  The location is not great access to public transportation, but there are many attractive spots near the property with walking distance. You wouldn’t need to take a train or bus while staying here.

Most of the cab drivers know about this ryokan, but just to be sure, show the address and TEL No. in the below Japanese as they can enter the phone number into the car navigation system to confirm the destination.

〒605-0074 京都府京都市東山区祇園町南側545
電話番号 075 533 6369

There is no parking lot, so if you are driving, you will have to use a coin-operated parking lot about 5 minutes walk away.

Rooms I would recommend?

If you are going to stay here, I would recommend a room with a Japanese cypress wooden bathtub.  We took a wooden bath filled with yuzus to fully relax after a long day.  Some rooms don’t have wooden bathtubs. Most of the rooms tend to be cramped and dark.  Also, there is no nice view. The location is perfect, though.

Then there is no room with western beds on tatami mats.  If you don’t want to sleep on Japanese mattresses called futons in tatami rooms, you may want to find other properties in the Higashiyama area.

Then it seems that the traditional wooden building has no soundproofing.  Also, some rooms are facing the busy street.  If you are a light sleeper, you may want to request a quiet room.  Since it is right in front of a street with many tourists, the noise from outside during the day and in the evening can be annoying, but by bedtime, it is not so annoying.

How about toiletries & in-room amenities?

All of the amenities are taken care of including minimum toiletries, yukatas, and a Japanese tea set, etc.  Room service is not available.  Then there is a yuzu soap in the bathroom. The soap is specially made by Yuzuya Ryokan and contains yuzu essential oil, which is very gentle to the skin. The smooth feeling after washing is wonderful. Also, there are some yuzus available in the bathroom, so you can put them in the bathtub and enjoy the scent while you relax.
The yuzu bath in our room warmed us to the core and the aroma was so good that it made us happy.
There are some convenience stores nearby.   The free wifi reception was good in our room.

How about In-house Facilities?

The ryokan has a courtyard full of ambiance, and each season has its own charm: spring, summer, autumn, and winter. The best time to visit is in May, when the lovely white yuzu flowers bloom, and in June and July when the green yuzu trees grow.

Then This is not a universal design.  There are some steep steps and no lift.  If you bring someone with weak legs, I wouldn’t recommend it.  All rooms are located on the second floor and there are 8 rooms in total.

Also, the entrance to the ryokan is a narrow stone staircase, which may be a little difficult for the elderly. Since the building is over 100 years old, the stairs are steep and the ambiance of the rooms is just as it was in the Meiji era. It’s a retro ambiance that takes you back in time.

Then there are communal yuzu baths.  They are not big baths, but the effect of the yuzu floating in the cypress bathtubs will keep you warm from the core, just like a hot spring. They are open between 15:00 and 24:00.  *If you have tattoos, you may not be permitted to use the public bathing area.
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How about meals?

This is one of the famous auberge-style ryokans in Kyoto. The food was impeccable, from the creative ideas to the order, timing, appearance, presentation, and taste of the food. The seasonal ingredients were used with plenty of yuzu, the inn’s signature citron, and the presentation and seasoning never let you get bored. I was impressed by the chef’s passion for using yuzu to create such Kyoto-like dishes.

Then the breakfast was also excellent, with a variety of side dishes, all of which were very tasty. The rice that is cooked in each room according to the mealtime is so delicious that I had to have another bowl.

All meals are served in a dining area.  Dinner starts between 17:00 and 19:00.  Breakfast starts between 7:00 and 8:30.  *Please note that inform the staff when you book a room with meals if you have any food allergies or dietary needs.  They probably wouldn’t be able to prepare alternative food if you request on that day.

Then you can go out for meals as there are many restaurants near the property, but if you love Japanese cuisine, you may want to book a room with meals. It’s well worth it. There are many guests who stay here for the primary purpose of enjoying the food here.

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My impressions

In the past few years, Kyoto has seen an increase in the number of new and sophisticated ryokans, but Yuzuya Ryokan has its own unique style, with many elements that have remained unchanged since the old days. This is exactly the charm of Yuzuya Ryokan.

Lastly, if you stay at this hotel, don’t forget to do some early morning sightseeing around Kiyomizu Temple. It is about a 10-minute walk from the property. Kiyomizu Temple is open from 6:00 in the morning. As you know, Kiyomizu Temple is always crowded in the daytime, but before 8:00 AM, there are hardly any people there. You can see “True Kyoto”. It’s worth a visit.

Have a nice trip!  Welcome to receive any questions about Yuzuya Ryokan from the below space.   If you check-in after 19:00, you need to inform the staff of it in advance.  Check Availability and Pricing for the property on Booking.com or Agoda

Info about Yuzuya Ryokan

Style Traditional Ryokan
Check-in and out times 15:00/11:00
Estimated Price 52,634 JPY for 2 adults per room 
 Contact E-mail
 Fill the form in or yuzuya@yuzuyaryokan.com
Internet Connection  Free wifi in the ryokan
Facility Information Wheelchairs are not available
Pets are not allowed
The parking lot is not available
Location Yuzuya Ryokan’s MAP
Access approx.15min TAXI  from Kyoto Station
Address and TEL 545 Gionmachi Minamigawa, Higashiyama-Ku,
Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 605-0074  Tel +81 75-533-6369
Official Homepage Yuzuya Ryokan’s HP

*All information is as of the date that I posted on my blog.

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