One of the experiences you shouldn’t miss out on when visiting Japan is renting a ryokan. A Japanese style inn that features their traditional architecture, ryokans have been around as early as the Keiun period. Today, there are over 50,000 ryokans in Japan, most of them located in Tokyo. If you want to experience a night’s stay in serene, relaxing, authentic Japanese atmosphere, staying in a ryokan is a no-brainer!
A typical night’s stay will set you back around 15,000 to 25,000 yen while the average monthly rent starts at 100,000 to 400,000 yen. It may not be as cheap an option as your capsule hotel or basic inn but it offers more than just a mat to sleep on. Aside from the authentic cultural sleeping experience, you’ll find that the add-ins make the package a sweet deal.
When you book a ryokan ahead of time, some ryokans will make it a point to arrange transportation for a hassle-free check-in. Upon arrival, a chakai or tea ceremony is commonly held where tea and snacks are served to welcome visitors. A multicourse dinner is also prepared highlighting excellent Japanese food and fresh ingredients sourced from the local market.
Part of the appeal of ryokans is the authentic cultural experience and that involves following certain rules, protocols, and traditions even for guests. Visitors are expected to treat the guest house staff with mutual respect so it pays to be aware of the basic manners commonly practiced in Japan. Removing your shoes prior to entering the living quarters is one of them. Inns will typically have a small area for guests to leave their shoes while they are provided sandals to be used inside the inn. During your stay, keep your noise to a minimum and trade your handshakes for bows.
Instead of going for the usual hotel or apartment, try booking a ryokan on your next visit! They are certainly an interesting way to spice up your next vacation.