Updated: November 30, 2016
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How To Stay In An Authentic Ryokan Inn In Japan

A ryokan is a type of Japanese traditional inn. Although the number of the ryokan is decreasing year by year, they are amazing! It's worth experiencing these traditional accommodations in Japan.


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A ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn that originated in the Edo period (1603–1868).
Ryokan have old Japanese style rooms which have a certain space with tatami mats and no beds. You're not allowed to go inside with shoes on.

There are some different types of ryokan, and the number of authentic ryokan is decreasing because of the current diversity of accommodations. People have more choices than before, and people like new things.

On the other hand, business ryokan, which are not authentic ones, are becoming popular. The difference is that business ryokan have smaller rooms, the quality of service is not as good as authentic ones, and of course business ones are cheaper.

Unlike hotels, ryokan charge the fee per person, not per room. Authentic ones cost approximately $300-500 in USD per person for a night.


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A typical ryokan room looks like the picture above. It has to be more than 49㎡ at least.

Most ryokan have very long history and have kept the traditional room style.

Many modern houses in Japan used to but no longer have these kind of rooms.


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If you stay at an authentic ryokan, you will get a lot of service.

In general, women serve customers in ryokan. They carry food to your room, and they prepare your futon and yukata(sleeping wear).

At some ryokan in Kyoto, you can even call geisha when you eat dinner. It costs an insane amount, though.


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Basically, a stay contains breakfast and dinner. That's one of the reasons for the price.

As previously mentioned, nakai bring meals to your room. Before they serve you, they ask what kind of food you can't eat and what you dislike.

Ryokan usually serve specialties of their region, so you can enjoy a local meal in your ryokan.


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Many ryokan are located in famous onsen areas, and some ryokan have onsen in their rooms.

Most ryokan have one or two big shared baths. You have to get out of your personal room and take a bath with strangers, just like sento.

Famous Ryokan in Japan

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Try staying at a ryokan when you visit Japan!

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