AIUEO － Ryo – Ryokan
If you enjoy traveling in Japan, you simply cannot miss out on the traditional Japanese ryokan!
Ryokan vs. hotels
What makes a ryokan different from a hotel? I’ll be delving into details about three main points below.
1. Sleep experience (Futon on Tatami)
According to a survey in 2014, 50.7% of people in Japan prefer sleeping on Western-style beds to futons. The bed has just overtaken the futon by a slight margin, the main reason being because it’s troublesome to set up and fold away the futon. But this is something you don’t have to worry about at a ryokan. Someone will set up the futon for you while you’re having dinner in a different room. Once you return to your room after your meal, you’ll find a perfectly made futon bed waiting for you. It’s one of the best parts of staying at a ryokan.
2. Breakfast & Dinner included
One student from Spain mentioned that having dinner at 6:30 p.m is way to early if someone wants to spend the day sightseeing. But we must note that a ryokan is not just a place you stay overnightー it’s an experience in itself.
3. Hot springs
This is one of the best parts of the ryokan experience. It’s common to first take a bath after you’ve changed into your yukata. Don’t forget to indulge in some tea and sweets before your bath. You’ll find them set up on the table in your room and they’re free. The tea and sweets are not only a sign of hospitality, but they also ensure to prevent people from entering the hot spring on an empty stomach. There are cases where people fall ill after taking a hot spring bath on an empty stomach. I just found out about this recently!
Ryokans embody the essentials of Japanese hospitality. There are people who either love them or hate them, but if you have a chance, you should definitely give it a try. Let me know what your recommended spots are!
About this week’s blog author:
Yasuko Hidari received her Masters of Literature at graduate school in Scotland and studied about rock music as a commodity, after which, she worked for a culture related think tank. She has a very extensive knowledge of music and movies.
Co-author of the Japanese beginner textbook, “Nihongo Fun & Easy”.