Ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese style inn, and they are found in many cities large and small across Japan. Ryokan’s main feature can vary from one place to another, from a time-honored inn reminicent of histroy and tradition, to a large facility with over 100 guest rooms with modern amenities, or an intimate family owned inn with friendly service.
Almost all ryokans feature Japanese style architecture and room décor with tatami flooring, and offer warm hospitality to their guests. A typical Ryokan has a relatively large event-hall and communal baths. Staying in a Ryokan has become really popular among foregin visitors because a Ryokan offers a good old traditional ambience. Stay in a Ryokan to submerge in the great culture of Japan!
Guest rooms are typically decorated in traditional Japanese style. When you enter, you’ll notice a mat used as a flooring material – that is tatami. Traditionally made using rice straw to form woven surface, tatami suites the Japanese climates because tatami keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
As you may have heard or seen in a movie or a TV show, Japanese did not have a bed traditionally. Instead, a thin mat and duvet, called Futon, is used for sleeping. They are usually stored in a storage space adjacent to your guest room, and Ryokan staff usually sets up Futons prior to your bedtime while you are having dinner. A comfortably smooth mat is placed directlty onto Tatami floor, and though it may seem foreign to you, please enjoy traditional Japanese rest at night.
Onsens come in many types and shapes. Most all Ryokans on our list provide both outdoor and indoor communal bath within their facility. At these communal baths, all guests are expected to wash their bodies and rinse themselves thoroughly beofre entering a tub filled with clean hot spring water full of healthy minerals. There are usually shower stations in the communal bath area, typically equipped with pivoting shower heads, stools, faucets, buckets and toileteries such as soap and shampoo for your convenience.
Rather than having a designated men/women baths, some Ryokans offer a program to interchange baths based on a set schedule for two sexes, so you can enjoy more than one bath in one day. Communal bathing is a japanese tradition. Bathing naked with complete strangers may be a foreign concept to some people, but once you get over the initial embarrasement or uneasyness, you realize it’s reberating and relaxing experience to soak into a poolsize bath, and strech out your body without any restraint. Trust us. You’ll love it!
Many Ryokans offer Yukata as a pajama for you to wear during your stay. Yukata is a Japanese style robe, and think of it as a simplified version of Kimono. You can wear it not only inside your room, but also wear it out for breakfast/dinner in your Ryokan facility as well. It’s quite convenient attire for enjoying Onsen because Yukata is easy to dress and undress.
*Please inquiry at your Ryokan on how to wear Yukata.
Ryokans often include dinner and breakfast in its room pricing, and in some instances, you have a selection of menus, and an option to dine inside your guest room.
*For more details, please inquire prior to your stay.
Placed next to a glass window, Shoji is a sliding door, or a room divider consisting of translucent paper over a frame which holds together a lattice of wood or bamboo, which allows warmth of sunlight to come through your room. *In many of modern homes, Shoji is becoming a rareity today.
Tokonoma is one of the decor features of Japanese traditional room where a small section of the floor space is elevated to display art scrolls, flower arrangement, or fine china. *In many of modern homes, Tokonoma is becoming a rareity today.
- There is no char in traditional Japanese style living space. Instead, you will find a low table and seating cushions (Zabuton) on the floor in your Ryokan room.
- Many Ryokan offers a safety box in your room. Please secure your valuables there.
- A tea making set are offered in your room for free. Feel free to pour hotwater in a teapot, and make yourself a warm cup of tea to relax in your room.
- There is no custom in Japan to offer gratuity. However, feel free to express your gratitude for great service if you so desire.