Shiraume Ryokan was originally built as an “Ochaya,” a place where Geiko and Maiko live, study and work, in the late Edo period (1600-1868). Famed Japanese poet Isamu Yoshida, who loved Gion, praised the beauty and elegance he found at Shiraume Ryokan in his prose. His calligraphy adorns the same room in which he stayed on numerous occasions. In 1949, the female manager of our Ochaya Oyagi turned her family business into the spectacular inn you encounter today. She named it Shiraume, or White Plum after the white and pink plum blossom trees flanking the foot bridge to the inn.
Right outside the inn are displays of natural splendor and beauty: plum blossoms announcing the arrival of spring; cherry blossoms in all their glory at springtime; fireflies lighting the summer evenings; autumn-colored trees in the fall; quiet snow in winter. The Shirakawa Stream colors the scene throughout the seasons, it's waters originate from the rivers of Mt.Hiei and run through Okazaki, northeast of Gion. A branch from this river was built in the early 17th century to transport timber to build Nijo Castle.
The clear and pristine water flowing past Shiraume is home to a diverse array of fish, birds and other animals. Our neighborhood was designated as Historical Scenery Preservation District in 1976 and remains as one of the best preserved historical areas in all of Japan.