We stayed here for a week in April, when the cherry blossoms were just past their peak, but still lovely - and the crowds in the Gion were quite significant. Many people were dressed in traditional clothes or rented geisha costumes which, with the floating petals, added to the festive atmosphere. People taking selfies everywhere. One morning we emerged from our front door and startled one of the pretend geishas posing outside. It was however quiet on this largely residential street (especially at night), despite being just round the corner from Kenninji Temple (definitely worth a visit) and Gion Corner, both popular destinations. This is our fourth visit to Kyoto but previously we have stayed in hotels, and eaten in restaurants all the time. Staying in Gion House gave us the chance to buy some of the tempting food available in the basements of department stores like Daimaru and Takashimaya or in Nishiki Market. Our meals were more a re-heating exercise (what a great microwave in the apartment, by the way), but had we wished to cook seriously, the kitchen was well supplied with everything needed. We also ate at a few low-key local restaurants like Hanamichi, a small okonomiyaki and teppanyaki restaurant just around the corner towards the Temple entrance. For a change of place and another simple meal try Creperie Garcon, near the Fresco supermarket on Higashi Oji Dori and enthusiatically endorsed by our French fellow diners.
The apartment was clean and comfortable, and had everything we could think of. The owner (Curtis) provided a very interesting small collection of books about Kyoto and these old wooden houses (machiya). Reading something of their history enhanced our stay. Do be aware that there is a flight of wooden stairs from street level to the apartment, if climbing stairs is an issue. The stairs to the roof terrace are likewise steep.
Curtis was easy to communicate with beforehand and both Junko and Saki were very helpful too when we were there. We again used the luggage forwarding service (takuhaibin) as we have done on past trips to Japan - because we love it and it means we are unemcumbered on the trains. Junko and Saki took charge of the case we sent from Tokyo, and helped with forwarding it back again. They supplied a very detailed map with directions in Japanese, but it seemed to puzzle some taxi drivers. So we used Kenninji Temple as a point of reference and that worked well. The main entrance is on Hanamikoji Street, a popular destination for tourists. There are geisha (geiko) performances at Gion Corner in the same street. (We did not go there but booked online for Miyako Odori, the spring dance performances by geiko and maiko (apprentice geishas). Highly recommend doing likewise if in Kyoto in April.
There is much to see within walking distance of Gion House, and even the department stores on Shijo Dori and nearby Nishiki Market are within walking distance (15 -20 mins). Don't miss the interesting Yasui Konpiragu shrine not far from Gion House. We also did several day trips out of the city to get maximum value from our JR Pass. Mostly used cabs to get to Kyoto Station and elsewhere, and could easily hail one on Higashi Oji Dori. One very interesting day trip out of Kyoto was to Okayama and Kurashiki. The ancient water town of Kurashiki has old merchants' houses, canals where you can don a pointy hat and go for a boat ride - and the most amazing art museum (Ohara Museum) you have maybe never heard of (we hadn't). Nearby Okayama has the famous Korakuen Garden, but we never made it there as Kurashiki was too interesting. Next time!
I haven't written a Trip Advisor review for a few years - although we have by no means stopped travelling. Because our experience at Gion House was so positive I came out of retirement to endorse the other complimentary reviews here. It would be nice to think we could return, but in the meantime we are recommending it to friends.
We stayed here one week and hated to leave. Everything was perfect. We really loved the tiny deck, the tub looking out into the courtyard, the feeling of so much privacy. We would definitely book this again.
My husband, a friend and I stayed at the Upper Gion House during cherry blossom season for 2 weeks. The location was amazing! It was located on a quiet small street in the Gion District. Fresco and Lawson's convenient stores is about a 4-5 minute walk. The condo (machiya) was very clean and spacious with a large living room, fully equipped kitchen, Western and Japanese-style bedrooms and a lovely bathroom with a large shower head, bathtub and heated tile floors! Even the wood hallway floors were heated! A nice feature since the weather was on the cool side. Junko and Saki were wonderful if we needed any additional information. There was also a detailed guest book full of information and recommended restaurants. We enjoyed Zero Cafe which was right next door. We would definitely stay here again the next time we visit Kyoto! We have already recommended this place to our friends!
Stayed here for 6 nights - booked directly thru owner Curtis (via e~mail) who was so easy to communicate with. Location is really good - 2 mn walk to Hanamikoji Dori- one of the most beautiful streets in Kyoto (especially at dusk) - kitchen in apartment is easy to use - if you want to make breakfast yourself or have some dinner (if you're too tired after a day of sightseeing).
Shower and huge bath are great, heated floors are so nice when you wake up <in Winter> can split up 2 bedrooms with sliding screen.
Can walk to subway in 5 mns to go South (Fushimi) or North (Kibune/Kurama) or across river (about 7mns walk) is Hankyu station - can go anywhere in Kyoto + express train to Osaka(Umeda) leaves from there. Two 24hr Supermarkets are only 5 mns walk away.
Local staff - Junko-san & Saki-san are close by & willing to help with anything & can help with some goos local advice too.
We had the best time staying @ The Gion House.
Only trouble we had was people staying upstairs had TV on really loud one night - don't think they realised the sound carried downstairs- asked them to turn it down ~ No Problem
We loved our stay at the Gion House, upper level. It was in a perfect location and we were able to walk and taxi to amazing places everyday. There were loads of local restaurants to choose from too with the help of Junko, all reservations were made effortlessly. Curtis, Junko and Saki were are lovely to deal with. We had no issues with anything! We would highly recommend this as a place to stay in Kyoto.