Ryokan Hotels (Japanese Traditional Inn)
Why settle for the banality of a modern hotel when you can stay at an authentic Japanese inn? Complete with rice mat floors, slippers, yukata, and others, the only other place you’ll find an experience paralleling this would be at an Onsen.
Your room at the Ryokan will be typically quite small, about half the size of typical hotel rooms. The floor will be made of tatami (finely weaved bamboo flooring. Its comfortable, don’t worry), there will usually be a TV on a low table which you can watch if you can figure out how the controls work.
One thing that foreigners may find disappointing and a chief drawback to the Ryokan experience is the lack of a bed… typically a ryokan room will have a futon which you roll out. They are rather comfortable, however not every one is comfortable with sleeping on the floor.
There is good news however, some Ryokan offer a ‘western’ room complete with a queen-sized bed, dressers, table and chairs.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of the Ryokan is the complimentary pair of Yukata folded in a neat wooden box. These are ‘casual’ kimono, and are a cinch to put on. At last you can dress up and pretend you’re the last samurai. Bokken however is not included. (wooden Japanese practice sword)
Breakfast is included in your stay, patrons will gather early in the morning to be served breakfast by the staff, however whether or not you can eat it remains uncertain. The typical fare will be something along the lines of: rice, miso soup, grilled fish, tofu dish, egg dish, nori (dried seaweed), and tsukudani (small fish and shellfish boiled down in soysauce and sugar). Not able to stomach that? No problem! You’re under no obligation to partake.
Don’t expect your Ryokan to have Wifi, at the most there will be an office center with a computer, where you can probably plug into a hard line if you brought your cat-5 cable with you. Or if you’re lucky they’ll have a spare cable for you.
Aside from the rich cultural experience the best part about staying at the Ryokan is the affordability! Expect to pay anywhere between 40-60 USD per night.