When traveling to a new country, one of the first things you’ll want to do is find a place to stay. In Japan, there are several options to choose from. You could stay in a normal hotel, a hostel, an Air bnb, capsule hotel, or, for those looking for a uniquely Japanese experience, a traditional Ryokan. For those of you who want to brush up on the differences between your options, you can check this video.
For now, though, let’s focus on the Ryokan.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term; Ryokan is a traditional Japanese style inn found throughout the country. They tend to be especially common in or around hot spring resorts . A Ryokan is the perfect choice if you are a tourist who wishes to experience traditional Japanese hospitality, such as sleeping on futon (Japanese style bedding) laid across tatami floors, bathing in Japanese style baths (Onsen) and dining on local cuisine!
Ryokans are not just for tourists though. They’re enjoyed by locals and visitors alike! Some foreign tourists might feel intimidated by the unfamiliar procedures, etiquette, and the sometimes rigid impression of Ryokan, but don't let that stop you! Ryokans are a special place to relax, and an experience that everyone should try.
Let’s check out some common features found in these traditional Japanese inns.
Do you have some doubts about sleeping on the floor? With a futon, you don't have to worry as it will be a comfortable and pleasant experience! You won’t find them when you first arrive in your room, but when the night comes the hotelier will make the futon for you! Usually, the futons are stored in cabinets until it’s time to sleep.
2. Tatami Floors
Tatami is a traditional flooring used in Japan. It is a rectangular mat of about 1.8mx 0.9m with the core made of compressed rice straws and Tatami-omote, made of igusa (a kind of grass), wrapped around the core. Tatami mats are softer than hardwood flooring, making it pleasant to step on, and add a nice feel to the overall atmosphere.
Japanese hot springs, known as onsen (温泉), are often attached to ryokan. Some will have private baths, but more commonly the onsen is public, which is very common throughout Japan. You could check more unique onsen here!
4. Local Cuisine
A ryokan is the perfect place to experience Kaiseki (a traditional multi-course dinner). The meal typically includes an appetizer, sake, sashimi, a small dish, a soup, simmered vegetables, grilled fish, hot pot, white rice, miso soup, and dessert! Not a bad deal, huh? By the way, we almost forgot to mention that you will get to wear a comfy yukata just like in the picture above.
Are you ready to try a Ryokan on your next trip to Japan? We can guarantee your trip will be full of magical experiences if you do! After getting some relaxation, why not experience a Japan Matsuri and really feel the excitement of Japan?
Have you ever stayed at a ryokan? Let us know what your experience was like in the comments below!