A Ryokan is a Japanese traditional style or accommodation. It is very different from staying in a Western-style hotel.

When staying at a traditional style ryokan your quarters will be a large single room covered with traditional rice-straw matting, known as Tatami.

Furniture is generally scarce with just a low table and perhaps a few zaisu which are traditional Japanese legless seats that make your time sitting on the floor a  smidgen more comfortable.


Japanese Ryokan - Onsen Town

Where Do You Sleep At A Ryokan?

As a guest, you will generally sleep on a futon mattress that is laid on a Tatami floor. After dinner, the room maid spreads the futon and puts them away in the morning.

Are Meals Included At A Ryokan?

The room charge usually includes two meals. The meals are Japanese style.

Do Japanese Inns Have Private Bathrooms?

Most Japanese traditional-style inns have natural hot springs. The Japanese baths are an ideal place for a warm, relaxed stay.

What Rules Are There When Staying At A Ryokan?

Japanese Ryokan Rules

  • Remember to take off your shoes at the entrance and change into the slippers provided. You aren’t supposed to wear shoes inside the inn.
  • Don’t forget to take off your slippers before stepping on the Tami in your room.
  • You should soap up and rinse outside of the large tub in the hot spring public bath because the Japanese baths are for soaking, not scrubbing. After the bath, you can change into a summer kimono – yukata robe ( provided by the Japanese inn if you want).

For reservations, try the Japanese Ryokan Association.

Japanese Ryokan - Onsen Town Road


Tokyo Trip Checklist

  • To make sure you have all the important things covered see my first-time-in-Tokyo guide
  • Get your 1,2 or 3-day Tokyo Unlimited Subway Pass to easily get around Tokyo
  • If you want to travel on bullet trains you can save big with a Japan Rail Pass. Here’s why is worth it.
  • You’ll need a prepaid sim or Portable WIFI to stay connected in Tokyo.
  • Check out my detailed Tokyo packing list to make sure you’re prepared.
  • The best site to book hotels in Tokyo is almost always Booking.com. And remember to book early, especially during busy times.
  • For travel insurance (which you need) Word Nomads offer great coverage in Japan and are highly recommended.

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