Sawanoya Ryokan – Home Away from Home

I called Sawanoya Ryokan ‘home’ when I stayed there in 2010 from the 5th to the 13th of June.

How did I end up choosing this local inn over many others? The reviews I read were – and still are – pretty consistent: it’s budget-friendly; it’s located in a quiet and safe neighborhood; the surrounding areas are steeped in culture.

My personal take-away is that even though Sawanoya Ryokan is tucked in a quiet neighborhood, what with downtown proper at least 30 minutes away by train, its location abounds with little surprises. I lost count the number of times I stumbled into a stationery shop, a plant gallery, a coffee shop, a pet shop, and so on. Believe it or not, I even caught a glimpse of the royal princess one night when I was out for my walk! The street I was on was lined with people, with necks craning as if waiting for someone. It turned out they heard the royal convoy was passing through so they decided to wait. Their efforts were rewarded.

Pulling myself away from the ryokan’s dining area is a challenge in itself because it’s so comfortable there! Once your co-travelers are gone for the day, silence descends on the room, and it’s tempting to just sit around and read a book. But I didn’t. And your host, Isao Sawa, won’t let you, especially if he sees it’s a beautiful day outside. If you can’t decide where to go, he’ll gently make suggestions, tell you how to get there, and even say how much it’ll cost.

So, are you planning to visit Tokyo in the near future? I’m excited for you! Book a few nights at Sawanoya Ryokan, make your next trip unforgettable, and let us know how it goes!

Note: Photos were taken using the Moto Razr’s camera feature. Some images may appear sharp, but dark because the phone doesn’t have an automatic flash.

Sawanoya Ryokan - Entrance

Sawanoya Ryokan – Entrance

The ryokan owners: Isao Sawa and his wife. Isao-san is holding a copy of the book I bought from him.

The ryokan owners: Isao Sawa and his wife. Isao-san is holding a copy of the book I bought from him.

The small foyer includes the front desk, an internet corner, a stationery corner, and shelves filled with travel books and walking tour maps.

The small foyer includes the front desk, an internet corner, a stationery corner, and shelves filled with travel books and walking tour maps.

Sawanoya Ryokan - Dining area

Sawanoya Ryokan – Dining area

Close up of the menu board during my visit in 2010.

Close up of the menu board during my visit in 2010.

A shelf filled with many Japanese toys. I always had breakfast at the table in front of this shelf so I can start my morning on a ‘fun’ and colorful note.

A shelf filled with many Japanese toys. I always had breakfast at the table in front of this shelf so I can start my morning on a ‘fun’ and colorful note.

Close up of the Japanese wooden dolls

Close up of the Japanese wooden dolls

Close up of the rest of the toys, which include three Daruma dolls. They're the ones with the egg-shaped heads and considered lucky to have around.

Close up of the rest of the toys, which include three Daruma dolls. They’re the ones with the egg-shaped heads and considered lucky to have around.

Entrance to the bathing area

Entrance to the bathing area

Inside the bathing area

Inside the bathing area

The water in this bath is very warm, hot even. Slipping into one feels like being in an onsen. Do it gradually, and then let your worries slip away.

The water in this bath is very warm, hot even. Slipping into one feels like being in an onsen. Do it gradually, and then let your worries slip away.

Enjoy your bath and the serenity of the pocket garden beyond.

Enjoy your bath and the serenity of the pocket garden beyond.

The hallway on the second floor. My room at the time is the last door on the left. That’s an ironing board at the far end of the hallway in case you need it.

The hallway on the second floor. My room at the time is the last door on the left. That’s an ironing board at the far end of the hallway in case you need it.

The futon is very comfortable. You *have* to try it.

The futon is very comfortable. You *have* to try it.

There's even serenity in the way the hangers are arranged in the closet.

There’s even serenity in the way the hangers are arranged in the closet.

Advertisements

7 responses

  1. Thanks for this lovely unexpected trip and tip! It is my dream to visit Japan and Tokyo in particular. I am waiting till my boys are older so that I can really enjoy the visit.

    Like

    1. Hi! I highly recommend this ryokan (local inn) which is geared towards singles, couples, AND families. The neighborhood is very safe. I used to walk home at 9 or 10 in the evening. Just walking around the area is a delightful experience. The air seems to smell cleaner in this part of the city. 😉 Enjoy!

      Like

  2. Thanks for sharing the nice photos of your trip. My husband and I spent a few days in Kyoto at a little Inn, this reminded me of our trip. It is a wonderful experience to be in a place where there are very few tourists…you get a feel for the real local culture. I can see why you like this place.
    Hope you enjoy your day!
    ~ Vickie

    Like

    1. I’m glad you like the post, Vickie. Japan’s charm remains with its visitors long after they’ve left the country. That’s what makes us remember her years down the road. Have a great Thursday! 🙂

      Like

  3. Japan is such an awesome place..I would really love to go there.. btw, I also have my own wooden dolls.. their so cute..

    Like

    1. Hi! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂 In addition to what you said, Japan seems to offer something new all the time. It is traditional and yet it’s constantly evolving. I guess that’s what makes it fascinating to visitors and locals alike. You have the wooden dolls? Good for you! How did you get hold of them?

      Thank you for stopping by!

      Like

  4. I found why you love there. It’s fun to see the foreigner’s view.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: