Ryokan – The Inn Tradition

Ryokan – The Inn Tradition

A guide to Ryokan – traditional Japanese Inns

We have shared with you interesting places to sleep over at night in Japan like the Capsule Hotels and Internet Cafés, (See links below) but there is another interesting accommodation in Japan – the ryokan. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn and its origins lie in the Edo period of Japan (1603 – 1868) when these inns catered to travellers along the Japanese highways. The ryokan usually features tatami-matted rooms; communal baths and patrons usually wear yukata garments.

Finding these inns are difficult in large cities and they are very pricey compared to hotels. Also, hotels are more practical for urban tourism. Not to worry, though, as you can get some reasonably priced ryokan in the cities if you look hard enough. These enchanting inns you usually find in scenic areas like by the sea or by mountains or by hot spring resorts.

The more traditional ryokan has a huge entrance hall, furnished with chairs and couches where guests can relax and chat while the modernised versions may include a television as well. Guest rooms are usually floored with tatami and have sliding doors. Bedding is usually a futon spread out on the tatami floor. The rooms may have tea making supplies and a table where guests can sit and eat their meals.

Meals are usually included in the price for the room. These meals are usually traditional Japanese cuisine, specifically kaiseki (which features seasonal as well as regional specialties). Some ryokan may have a communal dining area and may also serve some Western food to non-Japanese guests as well. It is also common that the ofuro (bathing areas) are gender specific using water from a nearby onsen (hot spring). Your more expensive ryokan may have private bathing facilities as well. At many ryokan there are recreational facilities like table tennis.

These charming Japanese-style inns give us the opportunity to experience the traditional Japanese lifestyle and hospitality. You get the full experience with the tatami floors, ofuro, futon beds and local cuisine and they are highly popular among Westerners and Japanese tourists alike. Some ryokan is small, family-run inns with just a few rooms; others are large hotel-like structures with a lot of rooms. While the price may be steep it in good to remember that it include an elaborate evening dinner and a breakfast in the morning, and the chance of a lifetime to feel a little of that traditional Japanese charm.

Here is a nice video that shows how enjoyable a ryokan can be at the Wakura Onsen, please follow our link: http://bit.ly/How-to-enjoy-a-ryokan

Here is a guide to some of the subjects mentioned in this article, to explore more of Japanese culture, please follow these links:

Capsule Hotels – http://bit.ly/Capsule-Hotels
Net Cafés – http://bit.ly/Net-Cafes
Onsen – http://bit.ly/Onsen-springs
Tatami Mats – http://bit.ly/tatami-mats
Yukata – http://bit.ly/Yukata-garments

For any suggestions, opinions or requests please mail us at bentobox@animefanatika.co.za