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“Great service, very fun traditional experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Motonago

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Motonago
Ranked #11 of 360 Hotels / Ryokan in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
27 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Great service, very fun traditional experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2011

Two nights at Motonago was our big splurge for our two-week Japan trip... twice as expensive as the other hotels we stayed in. But it was a great experience, and I'm glad we included it!

The building itself doesn't radiate beauty or luxury in the usual ways that expensive hotels often do: the floors are simple tatami mats, the corridors are plain and undecorated, apart from communal sinks. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was a budget hotel at first glance.

But what makes this wholly different from Western hotels is the service: you're being waited on hand and foot, bowed to and attended to on a very personal level. The in-room kaiseki dinner was a big highlight: excellent food, excellent service. Every time you return they're ready with your slippers and offer you in-room tea service. A private bath is prepared for you each evening in the beautiful wooden tub. Your room is transformed and bed is prepared each evening with great comforters. The fresh wood smell permeates.

Apparently most ryokan have small rooms and windows: our room was very spacious, and had a nice pine tree outside the large window. In-room toilet was handy for late night, while we preferred the much nicer (and always empty) communal toilet across the hall.

Internet is missing here, apart from an ancient laptop available for use in the lobby, but that's a feature, not a bug: it's nice to be off the grid for a few days!

And finally, the location is amazing: right in the heart of so many beautiful temples, streets, and shops. Wandering after dinner was very memorable. We stayed in 3 different areas of Kyoto and this was the nicest, no doubt (though it's certainly full of tourists).

So for me, the uniqueness of the experience and the attentiveness of the staff really made the stay special, and a great romantic component of our honeymoon.

Room Tip: Perhaps ask for downstairs if you want garden access? Upstairs was spacious and bright.
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank gradientdescent
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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327 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (53)
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
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English first
Sydney
Level Contributor
58 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 September 2011

this is a tradtional Ryoken, Made comfortable with some mod cons in the room including aircon (great) and phone and tv (unnecessary!). Staff were extremely friendly even with no English. We missed out on dinner in the room as I didn't realize this has to be booked in advance, but had the traditional breakfast which was great.

  • Stayed September 2011
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank twoshirts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zürich
Level Contributor
58 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 2011

The Ryokan was addressed in the "Lonely Planet" to be one of the best and top addresses in Kyoto. The place is very nice and the service is exquisite but the building would require some upgrades and the promised internet access didn't work either. Be sure the test the "public" bath as it is outstanding and you are always using it alone.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled solo
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Andre K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
USA
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2011

My husband and I actually stayed at Motonago Ryokan in early March 2010. We fell in love with this place the moment that we stepped in. We actually extended our stay from 2 nights to 3 nights since we love it so much.

Environment: The surrounding Higashiyama neighborhood is very cute and feels very traditional Kyoto style environment. We walked 8 hours+ everyday from this ryokan - to the silver temple, to Kyoto Station, to Shijo Dori, etc. This ryokan is located in a strategic place. You can leisurely walk to Kiyomizu temple, Yasaka Shrine, Maruyama Park, and Choin In Temple from here.

Transportation: You could take a bus from Kyoto Station to the ryokan. It is not going to bring you to the front of the ryokan but it is very close. However, beware that the bus runs in a loop direction. Don't take the wrong direction as it will take you to unexpected "tour" of Kyoto!! :)

Food: We had Japanese breakfast and dinner everyday at this ryokan. The breakfast menu tends to be the same but they were excellent (in taste, quality, and quantity). It is enough to give us energy for our 8 hour walk. For dinner, they give us several choices since we stay there for more than 2 nights; we had 2 kaiseki dinners, 2 shabu-shabu, 1 sukiyaki.

Room: The tatami room was very neat and cute. You would think that the space is quite small but it is actually not that small considering the room is very organized. The futton bed was very comfortable. You almost did not feel that you actually sleep in a futton. It is just as comfortable as a bed.

Bath: There is a separate men and women hot bathroom to use for guests. However, you could always reserve it for personal/couple use if you would like some privacy. We always used this option for morning and afternoon bath.

Overall: We left our heart at Motonago. It was hard for us to leave this place, and we have been always thinking about going back since then. Hope you enjoy Motonago as much as we do!

  • Stayed August 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nouv3aux
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MALAYSIA
Level Contributor
142 reviews
55 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2011

We were received warmly by the staff upon arrival at 2pm, running to get us slippers ,follow by hot towel & tea, the c/in process took less than 2min, fascinating welcome service!
Most employees are very courteous & able to communicate in simple English, our meals are served on time- the Kaiseki dinner is definitely a MUST in Kyoto! Our butler basically explained every dish in detail, ingredients & method of cooking.
The room was spacious,we had a garden view with Bonsai growing on rooftops! Attached bathroom is too small for anyone, common bath need to be booked to avoid disappointment. We had fun wearing Yukata and walked down the wooden stairs to take bath…
Internet connection was fast.

  • Stayed July 2011, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank THAM38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Motonago

Property: Motonago
Address: 511 Washio-cho, Higashiyama-ku | Nene no Michi, Kyoto 605-0072, Kyoto Prefecture
Region: Japan > Kinki > Kyoto Prefecture > Kyoto
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Kyoto
Price range (per night): $280 - $451
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Motonago 3.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Motonago hospitality With Kyoto flavor a homy feeling. Motonago nestles in a quiet, nostalgic scene, completely apart from the hustle and bustle of the city. Once you step outside, you can sense the overflowing taste of Kyoto - Japan's old capital. All the charm of Kyoto is gathered here, where Motonago stands. On entering through a door with a tiled roof while seeing a tasteful earthen wall made using traditional techniques, Motonago welcomes you with a warm hospitality that only a humble inn like ours, with its 11 rooms, can offer. Guests can relax while enjoying dinner and breakfast in their rooms, and our staff wear traditional kimonos as they serve the meals. Kyoto style cuisine made with special seasonal ingredients succeeds in bringing the Kyoto taste, with our chefs' sophisticated skills and selected menu, to our guests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Motonago Hotel Kyoto

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