Uno House




(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "Uno House" at Higashi Sawaragi-cho 108.)


Higashi Sawaragi-cho 108, Nakagyo-ku, 京都市, 京都府, 日本
35.016845, 135.768074 (accuracy not guaranteed)
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New owners & building, "better" than before but not as great socially
I stayed at the original Ono House numerous times between 2002 and 2006, often for 2 months at a time, yes it was rundown and the owners were "quaint" with some idiosyncratic atypical ideas about what constituted good hospitality in Japan but it was not without its charm and a great place to socialise and meet like minded backpacker travelers. Sometime between 2009 and 2013 the old building was demolished and the modern building next door (which was previously a university student dorm, called Imperial Uni House, run by the same owners) became the new "Ono House." While it lacks the quirky charm of the old venue it's probably more suited to the average budget traveler not used to the boiling hot in summer, freezing cold in winter, no privacy type of machiya (Japanese town house) buildings. I had a short stay (2 nights) there late 2014, the staff said it had new owners but I never saw them (and I kind of miss being told off by the old owners for using their laundry soap). While still basic, it is much cleaner, the private rooms are larger and the stairs don't feel like they are about to give way on you (not that the old ones ever did). Thanks to airBnB there's now cheaper to be found in Kyoto but it's hard to find any cheap accommodation other than Uno house so central to Kyoto's temple district (which Uno House is slap bang in the middle of). As such I'd recommend the new Ono House if you're looking for cheap accommodation and easy access to transport and major tourist attractions such as Nijo castle and the Imperial Palace Gardens.
Mark Zed
Age 48, Australian
it's not that bad if you're an experienced budget backpacker
fair's fair, this place is rundown and you're not going to get the famed Japanese guest house hospitality from the owners (who can be quite cranky at times) and staff (who are usually heads down in collage homework). There are rules posted up left, right and centre, but it's far more casual and fun than that suggests and there's a night entrance so no night curfew for when you want to hit Pontocho. And while it may be the most rundown guest house in Kyoto it's still better than any of the travelers hostels I've stayed at in India, Vietnam and Laos, and even better than some in Sydney (Australia). But no security at all, no locks at all in dorms or commons, and a lot of sketchy gaijin dudes just coming and going all hours so not a place for the flash packer, leave your expensive camera and laptop kit at home or only bring what you are willing to take with you each day (or stash it up in a locker at Kyoto station). Great for a few days/a week and getting to meet and share destinations with other travelers, but if you're hanging out in Kyoto longer than that use that time to find somewhere else. I've stayed there more than 5 or so times over 15 years and will probably stay there again in a few weeks time but I travel ultra light (just a day pack or shoulder bag) and just need a place to crash so Uno House is ideal for me.
My brother and an English traveler were robbed in their room at night. They lost everything except their clothes. The staff did absolutely nothing and couldn't care less. Avoid this place. They are only after your money, they don't care for your welfare.
Nice and Homey
This place brings back some of my funniest and most enjoyable memories from my worldwide travels. It has a quaint eccentric feel to it. I found the staff friendly and helpful. Also the other travelers were great value. I did not feel it was particularly dirty, a bit shambolic maybe but not overly dirty. For me, Uno house will always remain one of the best places I have stayed. Long live Uno House!
(New Zealand)
Cheap, neat
Cheap is the key word. If cheap is what you are looking for and you care mostly about a roof over your head. This place is as good as any. A friend and I stayed here for three nights in 2003, the year Iraq got invaded. Shame. Just because we had a good time traveling does not mean it was not on our minds. It is a really neat place. If adventure is on your mind, this place is great. Can you find another place like it? The host at the time had this to say if you had questions -- Ask a native. Five stars for being cheap.
Hilarious? Yes. Creepy? Better believe it. All, in all, its not bad. I slept in a room with beds and AC, so that was cool. Navigating you way through the house is hysterical, and somewhat reminiscent of Pee Wee's Playhouse. If I ever find myself in Japan again, and i'm broke, then yes i would stay here. Otherwise, i would find something a little nicer.
Mike Swingles
Rundown and Dangerous
Our room was large enough for the five of us, air conditioned, and dry. It also smelled like the inside of a dirty fish tank. The wiring and plumbing jobs were haphazard. I think Uno House was the dirtiest place I visited in Japan. Perhaps the most worrying thing about Uno House is the winding, constricted path one must take to reach a fair number of the rooms. If there was (heaven forbid) a fire, half of the guests would have no exit and would most likely burn alive.
(United States)
The staff were great, they even guided us through Kyoto by night and took us to a local really great concert. The atmosphere of the place depends mostly on the travelers staying there at that time -- when I was there, the people were fun and nice to spend time with. I slept on a tatami. It was not exactly clean, that is true, but not a mess either. Cockroaches are everywhere in Japan, even in five-star hotels.
(Czech Republic)

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