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Reviewed 8 December 2016

From the time we crossed the little bridge next to the hotel and pulled into the front of the hotel, we knew we were in for a special experience. The staff were already in the driveway to tell me where to park to unload the car. They unloaded our large 30 kg suitcases and numerous other bags and loaded them onto a cart. Then, before check-in, a driver in a car told me to follow him to the hotel parking lot, which was about 150 m away, directly in front of the hotel down a one lane road next to the river. The driver waited for me to park, and then drove me back to the hotel. This service was crucial when we went to get the car during a torrential downpour. When you get back to the hotel from a day trip, you can stop in tront of the hotel and the front desk will see you and send the driver to the parking lot without you having to even get out of the car. This is the kind of service you can expect at Tachibanaya.

We waited in the lobby for about 10 minutes while the room was prepared. The lobby was gorgeous, with the waiting area adjacent to the lounge, all looking out into a beautiful garden. The entrance to the bath is here, downstairs and right next to the lounge.

The ofuro was beyond description, so gorgeous and peaceful. There was a rotemburo out back but it was 8 degrees and raining so we didn't even want to try it, as you have to walk outside before you get to it.

As for the food, I don't think I can put into words how wonderful everything was. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Breakfast and dinner were always served in the Tachibana restaurant on the second floor. When you check in, you are asked what time you want to eat, and your meal is all set up at a table when you arrive at your time. There is a menu describing all of the courses, all in Japanese, so most of it you will just eat without knowing what it is unless you read Japanese. The staff comes to take your drink order (there is also a menu with sake, shochu, beer, etc that you order from) and tells you about the meal (e.g. how to prepare it since you have to do some cooking, what sauces to use with what dishes, etc.). Unfortunately, no one speaks English, so hopefully you can practice your Japanese that you've been using . The bottom line is that dishes of food keep getting added, and just when you think you can't eat one more bite, dessert arrives. Unfortunately, dinner was so big that we were never hungry for breakfast, and breakfast was in a similar format. The difference was that there is also a buffet that includes yogurt, cereal, housemade curry, vegetable dishes, salad, fruit, pickled veggies, natto, miso soup, milk/apple juice/orange juice and a really nice coffee machine. The buffet alone would have been plenty but that is what you get when you get half board! We ate breakfast and left stuffed to explore the area. The ocean is close, probably 15 minutes away, and we checked out a jellyfish aquarium in Kamo, which is about 30 minutes from the hotel. The town of Tsuruoka is actually 30-45 minutes away from the hotel, which is in the Atsumi Onsen area. To get anywhere, you drive through a series of tunnels. We were content just driving down route 7 checking out the small fishing villages that have been around forever, protected by a sea wall and tsunami "jacks".

I would highly recommend this hotel and definitely would want to stay again. I wanted to book 3 nights but was only able to get 2 because the hotel was already booked up, 3 months in advance. I can see why it is so popular. Please go experience the Tachibanaya, you will not be disappointed. Side note: we did not see a non-Japanese person the entire time we were in Yamagata prefecture, so bring a phrasebook or use your Google app to try to communicate with people! BTW, the front desk had staff that spoke limited English, but no one else did.

  • Stayed: November 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Christopher K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2016 via mobile

This place is the epitome of a Japanese ryokan experience. It has the setting and the amenities to offer you the most relaxed stay. Did I also mention the food? It's civilization at its best. Hint: when staying at a ryokan like this one, always check in the closets for extra mattresses to add to your bedding. They usually only lay out one mattress, but I found enough to make tree layers. We stayed here on a cold November, and the comfortable 3 layer mattresses combined with the goose down cover made for the most comfy sleep. I opened up the window in the morning and watched the snow fall outside. I did not want to get up in the morning.

Stayed: November 2016, travelled with friends
Thank wvzjxq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 November 2016

We must preface our remarks that we are decidedly not “typical” foreign visitors to a ryokan. Although we were visiting Tachibanaya on a trip from our home in the United States, in the past, we (a married couple) both have lived many years in Japan, and have stayed dozens of times in various ryokan. This was, however, our first visit to Yamagata, which has been on our “bucket list” for years.

*Typically* the plan of stay at a traditional ryokan includes two meals per day. We made a late booking at Tachibanaya (about two weeks before our stay) through booking.com, the agent that TripAdvisor engages through its website. At the time that we booked, we were offered the option to forego *breakfast* at Tachibanaya for a lower tariff per night’s stay, and — as we planned to stay there within 24 hours of a trans-Pacific flight, with our body clocks not yet adjusted to Japan Standard Time — we contemplated sleeping late in the mornings; so saving a bit on the bill by not having to arise early, and bleary-eyed, for breakfast sounded like a good bet, and we accepted that offer when we booked.

Imagine our surprise, therefore, when we arrived by train at Atsumi Onsen, the small village in which Tachibanaya is located, and checked into Tachibanaya in the late afternoon, only to discover that our reservation was _kara-domari_, that is, NO meal plan at all, NO supper ... and that the ryokan already was fully booked for all the seats for supper, with no possibility that we could get dinner on the premises. We do NOT ascribe this as a fault of Tachibanaya, but it was a very gross fault of booking.com. In a Japanese ryokan, included supper served by the host facility is as much the norm as, in an American hotel, reservation of a room includes use of sheets and towels supplied by the hotel. Without our own transportation and in a tiny village that we had selected primarily for its secluded quality, we faced the possibility of going without real food until the next day.

Each person of Tachibnaya’s staff was exceptionally polite and helpful, and they found us a reservation at what could have been the only restaurant (total capacity probably fewer than 15-20 patrons) in the village that was in operation on the evening of our arrival; and everyone whom we dealt with throughout our stay at Tachibanaya went out of his or her way to make our stay at the ryokan as pleasant and pampered as possible while we were there. We were able to make reservations for supper at Tachibanaya itself on the second day of our stay, and the food was excellent.

The (gender-segregated) communal baths in Tachibanaya — a prime consideration for Japanese guests — are spacious and scrupulously clean (but it appears that the kidney-shaped _rotemburo_ that is featured in some of the management photos is open by special reservation only, and we did not see it). The outdoor baths adjacent to the main communal baths are gorgeous, but they lack handrails to assist in descending into the water, and so we merely admired the architecture and setting, but did not soak, there. The in-room private baths are made from _hinoki_ wood and are very luxurious. We can recommend Tachibanaya without reservation as a place to lodge and to soak and to relax in a beautiful, secluded setting.

Part of the charm of Tachibanaya is the delightful little village of Atsumi Onsen in which it is situated. We have traveled extensively in Europe, in North America, and in Japan, and — based on our experience in Atsumi Onsen — we think that a fair case could be made that the residents of southwestern Yamagata Prefecture are the nicest, most open, friendliest people we have met anywhere in the world. We took a morning stroll up the crystal clear river that flows in front of Tachibanaya, and on our way back to the ryokan, we stopped into a small shop specializing in sales of _sake_ along the street that parallels the river. (The _sake_ from Yamagata Prefecture, especially that made from the local rice varietal called “Dewa33" — a pun, is widely regarded as the most delicious _sake_ in the world.) As soon as we entered the door, the proprietor ran up to us and said, “I saw you walking upstream an hour ago, and I HOPED that you would come back this way! Did you see the _sake_?" Now that may seem like a strange question coming from a woman whose livelihood is selling _sake_ in bottles, but her reference was to salmon: _sake_ in Japanese, a homonym. She pulled us out of her shop, across the little street, to a place overlooking the river, where salmon below us were engaged in raucous sex, spawning in plain sight in the clear and shallow water. She stayed with us, chatting as delightedly as a young child about the wonders of nature in that little slice of heaven, for 15 or 20 minutes. (You bet, we bought a bottle of the other kind of _sake_ from her.)

Earlier in the day, at the daily farmers’ market in town, another salesperson had waxed rhapsodic about a special small, round, red turnip, unique to the locality and very seasonal, and insisted that we take more of them than we had paid for, so that we could take them as gifts to our relatives in the Tokyo area, and spread the word of how very special southwest Yamagata vegetables are. We already had had a chance to sample _tsukemono_ made from those same small red turnips in the restaurant the night before, excitedly placed before us, unordered and free, by the cooks there, to show us how delicious Yamagata vegetables are.) Atsumi Onsen residents are VERY proud of their locality, and truly delighted to share it.

Tachibanaya is a wonderful place to stay and to be pampered, but you will miss the very best part of it if you fail to mingle with the local residents.

  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank tonarinokyaku
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2016

I stayed in similar hotels (ryokans) but this one was probably the best. Here, you will experience lots of the traditional japanese things: onsen, food, tatami-matted rooms, ...

The staff is very helpful and make the effort to fulfill your requests even though the language barrier could be a problem.

Rooms, toilets, onsen, and in general all the facilities are very clean and well maintained.

It is located not far from the main shops from the village. You can eat on site or discover some places around the hotel. Food at the hotel is amazing!

Do not forget that in area the best rice is produced, so you will get delicious stuff made of rice (e.g. sake).

  • Stayed: June 2016, travelled on business
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Nomade_On_Earth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sajiemon, オーナー at Tachibanaya, responded to this reviewResponded 11 July 2016
Google Translation

ご来館、誠にありがとうございました。
当館の歴史は古く、366年前の資料に、初めて名前が出てきますが、時代の変化に対応しながら旅館という宿泊形態を守ってまいりました。
旅館には、大浴場、畳、着物、庭園、日本料理等、日本の文化が集約されております。

当館のある山形県庄内地方は、美味しいお米の産地で夕食には山形県を代表する「つや姫」朝食には「はえぬき」を使用してご好評いただいております。
美味しいお米と水にも恵まれて、古くからおいしい日本酒の産地としても有名です。

旅館をご堪能いただけて、嬉しく思っております。
またのお越しをお待ち申し上げております。
ありがとうござました。 館主 佐藤佐次右衛門

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 June 2016

Very clean hotel with superb amenities. The onsen is quite nice and the facilities are dated but clean. Stayed at a Japanese-styled room and it was superbly comfortable. The separate toilet from the shower was quite a treat. The only issue we had is that most of the staff does not speak (or understand) English, so we had to communicate via hand gestures or the 'translating' robot in the reception.

Stayed: June 2016
Thank bandazagorath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
sajiemon, オーナー at Tachibanaya, responded to this reviewResponded 11 July 2016
Google Translation

ご来館、誠にありがとうございました。
ご滞在中、快適にお過ごしいただけたようで、何よりでございます。
言葉の問題ではご不便をおかけし、申し訳ありませんでした。
これからの課題として取り組むんでゆこうと話し合ったところでございます。
また機会がござましたら、お越し下さいますよう、皆でお待ち申し上げております。
ありがとうございました。 館主 佐藤佐次右衛門

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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