Ryokan Sawanoya: Stylish and Affordable Lodging in the Heart of Tokyo
Sitting at the heart of Tokyo's historical and artistic Yanesen district and just a few minutes' walk from Ueno Park, Ryokan Sawanoya welcomes visitors from around the world with warm, simple Japanese hospitality.
At the Intersection of Art and Culture in Tokyo
Next to the sleek modern skyline and busy streets of Ueno is Tokyo's Yanesen district. Named for its three neighborhoods, Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi, Yanesen is a calm oasis of temples, parks, and galleries hidden in the city center.
Ryokan Sawanoya, surrounded by the art and culture of historical Tokyo, is the perfect place to dive into a lesser-known side of Japan's largest city.
The quiet, residential streets and temple parks give guests the authentic experience of living in Japan. Even better, this traditional Japanese inn is only a 20 to 25 minute walk from Ueno Station, giving guests easy access to all of Tokyo.
Welcoming Travelers from Around the World
When Sawanoya opened in 1949, the inn catered to students and businessmen visiting Tokyo from northern Japan. In the 1980's, after a full renovation and remodeling, the family owners began welcoming visitors from abroad.
One of the first Japanese inns in Tokyo to open their doors to guests from overseas, Sawanoya has played a key role in introducing traditional Japanese culture to their visitors for nearly 50 years.
This tradition continues today in the large variety of English language guides, pamphlets, and maps available in the lobby. You'll find information on everything from local attractions to day-trip destinations!
Traditional Rooms with Modern Convenience
Sawanoya has 12 guest rooms, all furnished in beautiful traditional style with tatami mat floors. Each room has a sink, and larger guest rooms for parties of threes also include private baths.
On the first floor, you'll find Sawanoya's two public guest baths; each offers a garden view. On the fourth floor, a coin laundry and dryer, as well as roof space for hanging are incredibly convenient for guests planning longer stays in Tokyo.
The ryokan offers western-style breakfast as an option for overnight guests, and also allows visitors to bring outside food to enjoy in their rooms.
Recently, Sawanoya launched a "day-use" program for guests looking to work or relax in the traditional atmosphere of a tatami room. Day use guests can enjoy a specially prepared room from 9:00 until 19:00, and even make use of the inn baths.
The fee for a "day-use" room is only 3,300 yen after tax! No wonder that even residents from the same neighborhood are using this program.
The Passion of a Family Business
One of Sawanoya's most striking qualities is the warmth and welcoming attitude of the inn's staff. Because the ryokan has been family-owned and operated since its establishment, the staff's passion for introducing visitors to the Yanesen district is sure to leave an impression.
Traditional events and festivals from the traditional Japanese calendar are celebrated at Sawanoya for the guests' enjoyment. Visit in March and you'll be welcomed by an impressive Hina doll display. In May, gorgeous traditional Children's Day decorations will steal your heart. In summer, the owners arrange that guests get the chance to participate in shrine festivals along with the local community.
The New Year, an extremely important celebration in Japan, is celebrated with splendid decorations throughout the ryokan and even a lion dance performed by the owner himself.
For all the guests seeking an authentic experience of Japan, Sawanoya Ryokan is a true gateway to Japanese culture.
Moreover, the staff aren't the only ones passionate about Sawanoya! Recently, visitors have started a tradition of bringing their favorite stuffed animal friends with them to the ryokan; plush toys and figures can enjoy a photo shoot, and even get tucked into their own miniature futon.
Experience Authentic Japanese Culture at Sawanoya Ryokan in Tokyo
Walking around the Yanesen area is the perfect way to experience the peaceful atmosphere and traditional feel of historical Tokyo.
Nezu Shrine, famous for its hill of azaleas that attracts thousands of visitors in early May, is a 5-minute walk away from Sawanoya. The Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park can be reached in about 10 minutes by foot. The Tokyo National Museum, a must-visit for history lovers, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, a leading art facility in the city, can also be reached in less than 20 minutes by foot.
The Yanesen and Ueno areas are dotted with local eateries that give you the chance to enjoy the best of what Tokyo has to offer in terms of food.
In spite of its central location in Tokyo, the rooms at Sawanoya are very affordable: a single room is just 5,830 yen/night, a twin room with a bathroom is 12,100 yen/night, and a room for three guests with a bathroom is 17,490 yen/night.
Whether you want to stroll through a temple garden, gaze at an ancient cedar tree, or just enjoy a meal at a local restaurant, Ryokan Sawanoya is a great place to start exploring.
Written by Chris
Sponsored by the Japan Ryokan and Hotel Association Tokyo Branch