Japanese Inns (Ryokan)

Japanese Inns (Ryokan)

Typical Ryokan room

Japanese inns or "Ryokan"

Ryokan is a Japanese style accommodation facility. While a number of buildings in Japan are Western style, ryokan still retains a special Japanese atmosphere.

Facilities and services

Ryokan feature large communal indoor baths and open-air baths (roten-buro). Some high-end ryokan also have open-air baths for each guest room. Using hot springs as baths typical and bathing is one of the greatest pleasures to stay in ryokan.

Most of guest rooms are for two or more guests per room, and some ryokan do not accept single visitors. If you want to stay by yourself, booking the room in advance is recommended. Somewhere in the room will be traditional robes for you to wear, called yukata.

Most people change into yukata for the duration of their stay. In resort towns and hot springs, they are even worn outside on the streets. Ryokan staff will greet you when you arrived at the ryokan, and again, when you entered into the room. They also serve meals in the room and lay out your futon mattress. This is quite different from hotels where guestrooms are considered a private space.

Ryokan charges includes breakfast and dinner that are served in the room by room attendants, or nakai-san. They also clear the table. Most of meals are exquisite, using local food. The charges are relatively expensive than other hotels, costing sometimes nearly 100,000 yen per night at the most luxurious ryokan.

Services are included in your accommodation charges, so you do not have to tip, or ‘kokorozuke’ to nakai-san who are in charge of your room. If you tip nakai-san, you can hand it over when nakai-san comes to you at your room, using a small envelope. Kokorozuke is an expression of your thanks for being taken care of. Around 3,000 to 5,000 yen will be appropriate.

Ryokan’s outdoor appearance lets you experience a true Japanese atmosphere.