Do you want to stay in a Japanese Ryokan? Whenever we talk about Ryokan we first think of its customs and manners. Before you take your final decision whether you would stay in a Ryokan or hotel you have to know the following ten (10) most important customs, please keep them in your mind. After reading all these, If you think all is well fine for you then you are welcome to stay in a Ryokan!

Inside View of A Beautiful Japanese Ryokan. Photo credit: littledebbie11 at Flickr through Creative Commons licensing.

Typically, Ryokan are traditional Japanese inns and available most of the Japanese cities especially in hot springs resorts where tourists often arrive for a long and short vacation. There are numbers of Ryokan can be found in my home town as well. It is true staying in a Ryokan is expensive. I tell you not to leave Japan without staying a night in Ryokan.

Ryokan are not like hotels but they are similar to a hotel. A lot of difference I can tell right at this moment but my topic is about the things you must remember when you are in a Ryokan. Let’s go look at those 10 things you should keep them in your mind.

1) Take your shoe off at the entrance – this is the first thing you must do. Don’t worry of losing your shoes, they will be kept in a safe place and you surly will be provided slippers. Though, you can’t walk on the Tatami (straw mats).

2) Give your bags/luggage to the maid who will greet you and take you to your room.

3) Say “thank you” in Japanese, bow and be polite. This is the third important custom you have to keep in your mind.

4) You are supposed to eat Japanese traditional foods that they serve you. Usually, you will be eaten a dish called Kaiseki Ryori at dinner time. It consists of many small dishes. Only two meals will be served, breakfast and dinner. Sorry there is no lunch for you! Please bear in mind that after the end of your meal, the maid will clean the room.

5) During your stay, you will be provided yukata. They are very easy to wear as it was used as a bathing suit in ancient time.

6) In most cases private baths are not provided! But in recent days, some ryokan provide this service. I think this is great for those who refuse to share baths with others.

7) You can inform a maid if you want a morning wake up call before you go to sleep. So, if you have to wake up very earl morning then don’t forget to inform it.

8) You would have to sleep on a futon spread out on tatami mats. This is not a weird way to sleep at night rather it will increase your ryokan experience and fill your mind with joy.

9) After taking your dinner you can go out for a walk wearing Yukata. It will be a great idea to get to know nearest atmosphere around the ryokan.

10) When it comes to checking out you will have to leave the Ryokan right after taking your breakfast. Say “Thank you” and Bow your head again. That’s it! You are done successfully.

If you are willing to take a real taste of Japanese traditional accommodation and hospitality then I highly suggest you to stay at least a night in a traditional Japanese Ryokan. My own experience says, Kyoto is the ideal place to find awesome ryokan though they are everywhere across Japan. I do hope you have a great ryokan experience. Thanks a lot.