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Matsui Honkan Ryokan 3.5

Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Kinki

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • In downtown Kyoto, near temples and a 15-minute walk to Gion
  • Good transport links, a five-minute walk to the subway
  • Attractive Japanese and Western rooms with minimalist decor
  • Some rooms have gardens or separate seating areas
  • Three public baths (onsen) with shower rooms and products  
  • In-room dining options, including sushi 
  • Conference and event rooms available 
  • Spa treatments available in-room (for a fee)
  • Souvenir shop with selection of gifts
  • Free Wi-Fi available throughout the property

Cons

  • Japanese Western Rooms have twin, not double beds
  • Limited features -- no full-service restaurant on-site

Bottom Line

The 27-room, three-and-a-half-pearl Matsui Honkan Ryokan is surrounded by the buzz of Kyoto's city center, and a 15-minute walk from Gion. With attractive interiors and a good range of Western and Japanese rooms, this hotel has broad appeal. Rooms are decorated in a modernized traditional Japanese style. Clever additions like outdoor gardens in premium rooms and separate lounge areas in others set the hotel apart from its competition. Attracting couples and families on sightseeing holidays, this hotel has a good selection of facilities including a souvenir shop and an onsen, offering a relaxing alternative to city sightseeing. While there is no on-site restaurant, daytime meals can be ordered via room service. Travelers looking for a four-pearl hotel with varied dining options might try the Kyoto Hotel Okura. 

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Scene

Traditional ryokan with a mix of tranquil private areas and bustling public ones

Guests enter this sharp and central ryokan hotel through a wooden archway decorated with pretty floral drapes, leading along a pleasant stone path to the main reception area. Once inside, the spacious lobby is decorated with a warm, neutral palette with high ceilings that make it feel a little roomier than some of the smaller ryokan we've visited. Wooden sliding doors separate the main hallway from a comfortable seating area that overlooks an attractive Japanese garden. Japanese artwork of women in colorful kimonos brighten the walls above a newspaper and magazine stand. Unfortunately, limited on-site dining options mean that visitors might eat elsewhere, rather than socializing with other guests. This busy hotel is ideal for couples or families traveling with older children, and draws a mix of domestic and international tourists.

Location

In central Kyoto near the subway, a 15-minute walk to Gion District

This traditional hotel sits in the middle of Kyoto, amid the buzzing city center that might not fit the picture guests have of this temple-filled town. Still, its central location near a busy street means the hotel is perfect for travelers who enjoy wandering around local shops. Since there’s no restaurant at the hotel, guests might explore the large selection of food at Nishiki Market known as ‘Kyoto’s Kitchen,’ which is a three-minute walk away. It's also only a 15-minute walk to the fringes of the Gion District, which is known for its historic ambience and geisha culture. The hotel has good public transport links, with stops on the Hankyu and Toazi Subway lines only a five-minute walk away. Otherwise, it's a five-minute drive to Kawaramachi Train Station or Shijo Station. The hotel is at least a 60-minute drive from Osaka International Airport, depending on traffic. It takes just a bit longer to reach the airport by train and subway.

Rooms

Minimalist rooms in Japanese or Western configurations, with tea-ceremony furniture 

The authentic rooms at Matsui Honkan Ryokan are traditionally decorated in a Japanese-style, with some offering a fusion of international and Japanese features. Japanese Western Rooms have twin beds covered with red-and-black printed bedding. These rooms are traditionally decorated with low tables and chairs in the center of the room, which are surrounded by series of fitted cupboards. Concealed inside is extra bedding, wardrobe space, a safe, and a mini-fridge. Floors are lined with tiled carpets and walls have a neutral color scheme, with the occasional burst of color from panels of patterned wall paper. Guests might wish to try a traditional tea ceremony using trays of pretty teapots and cups. 

Special Japanese Rooms might be the nicest, and have two main living areas separated by sliding doors, with additional seating throughout and decorative details including a series of paved stone pathways. Long corridors lead to smaller rooms with sinks and tea-making facilities. Some rooms have pretty outdoor gardens with water features, benches, and stone sculptures. Sleeping in the Japanese rooms takes place in fold-out futon mattresses on the floor. 

Standard features include an LCD television, air-conditioning, and free Wi-Fi. All rooms include an en-suite bathroom with sliding doors, shower/tub combos, and toiletries. They're done in attractive dark colors. Some rooms have double sinks and a television screen above the bath. Fresh towels and slippers are provided. A basket of traditional Japanese clothing is available for guests to use during their stay. 

Features

Public baths and in-room dining, but no fitness center

Like many ryokan in central Kyoto, features here are slim. While there is no official restaurant on-site, a selection of sushi boxes can be prepared to order via room service. An in-room Japanese breakfast is included in some rates. There are three public bath areas (onsen), one with a decorative water feature, another with a floral tiled wall, and a third with back-lit window panels. The baths are separated into gender-specific areas, each with a large shower room with wooden seating, and washing basins. A large changing room has sinks, vanity mirrors, hairdryers, a selection of hand washes, and beauty products. Baskets are provided for clothing and small lockers for valuables. In-room spa treatments are available including dry head massages. The hotel has conference and event facilities, and an on-site souvenir shop sells a small selection of Japanese sweets and gifts. Wi-Fi is free throughout the hotel.

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Address

405 Izutsuyacho Nakagyo-ku, (Yanagino Banba Rokkaku Sagaru), Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 604-8113, Japan

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