all, or at least most, of the International brands of hotels claim to
offer unique experiences, one has to be honest and say that at most of
these hotels once you close the curtain in your room you could be
anywhere, in any city, anywhere in the world.
Ryokan however are one of the few types of accommodation that really
does offer you something unique, something that no matter what you do,
makes sure you know you are in Japan, and in an entirely different
culture. In fact, this is what makes Ryokan's so very special, as they not only
offer travellers a comfortable place to stay but also a very good look
at Japanese Culture and to some extent Japanese Daily life.
can be found all over Japan, and most are small offering only a few
rooms that generally face on to a nice Japanese style garden. There are
over 70,000 Ryokan in Japan, but only around 1,600 are members of the
Japan Ryokan Association. There are a few extremely exclusive Ryokan's
in Japan but generally most of the quality Ryokan's will charge
somewhere between 12/20,000 Yen per person per night which should
include two meals.
are not quite as simple as a regular hotel, they do have rules and
regulations that need to be respected. For this reason Ryokan's are
better suited to those that understand a little and respect Japanese
culture, or those wanting to learn, rather than perhaps a business
traveller on a very tight schedule.
a Ryokan guests are obliged to remove their shoes at the entrance, just
as they would be at any type of Japanese home. Slippers are worn inside, except on
the tatami matting, so bring thick socks if the weather is cold.
A room in a
Ryokan is usually a single large, undivided room floored with traditional tatami, with the only piece of furniture being a single low
table. Doors are shoji (sliding screens), and decoration will usually be one or two simple ink brush drawings or scrolls. Seating in the room is on cushions, called
zabuton, arranged around the low table.
Guests sleep on futon (Japanese style bedding) laid out in the evening by maids after the evening meal. It ordinarily consists of a mattress, sheets, thick coverlet,
and extra blankets if needed.
The typical lounging wear of a
Ryokan is a blue and white-patterned yukata (cotton robe) which is also
provided. In cold weather it is supplemented by a tanzen gown which is worn over
may pose the largest problem for some travellers as they are not
normally a fancy new high-tech Japanese toilet but a traditional squat
style. If you feel uncomfortable with this, it may be worth contacting a
few of the higher quality Ryokan's to see if they have a more modern
variety of toilet available for guests.
in Japan is a ritual with a lot of traditions. Most Ryokan will have a
separate sex communal bath. Before going into the communal bath, you disrobe in
a small room, then drape a small towel over your midriff. This towel is also used for scrubbing and drying. To
take a bath, first sit on a low stool in front of the shower
heads, shower yourself while seated on the stool, never standing up,
soap and rinse off thoroughly. Only once you have completed washing in
this way are you ready, and acceptable, to get into the bath for a good soak.
This is exactly how the Japanese bathe at home, showering and washing
first before using the bathtub as a means of a relaxing soak.
covering Japan: Japan
Climate - When to Travel,
National Holidays 2012, Japan
Visa Requirements, Japan
Safety Considerations, Toilets
in Japan, Electronics
in Japan, Hotels
in Japan, Ryokan
from JATA Travel and Tourism Forum 2012. Travel News about
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