What is a Ryokan? Like a Western-style inn, maintaining the special, atmosphere and appearance is more important than providing the latest modern conveniences. Ryokans are the best way to experience Japanese culture and enjoy the true comforts of Japanese hospitality and service.
Hot springs have a very long history in Japan, and they are an intimate part of Japanese culture. There are over 3,000 "onsen" ,or hot springs, in Japan. Many can be found at the ryokans available on Japanese Guest Houses.
Japan has eight beautiful regions rich in culture and diversity. Select a region to explore and view available ryokans.
Prepare for Your Ryokan Stay
Staying at a Ryokan is a traditional Japanese cultural experience, and it is not like staying at a Western-style hotel. Take a look at our short video to get an idea of what to expect.
Before You Reserve:
1) You will have very nice dinner at your ryokan so we suggest waiting until you have been in Japan for at least one night before heading to a ryokan. This will give your stomach a chance to recover after a long flight. On the day I arrive in Japan I like to eat udon noodles as they are simple, tasty and very Japanese.
2) Please let us know when you request availability if there are any foods you cannot eat due to allergies, life style or religious reason. We will do our very best to find a ryokan that can serve you food you can eat. Please keep in mind that katsuo dashi or fish broth is used to flavor most Japanese food and preparing meals without it is not easy.
3) Don’t contact the ryokan directly because it would just create some misunderstandings (double bookings,..).
4) Many of the ryokans we represent are traditional so there might be some bugs like spiders which appear normal in nature. Of course the ryokans do their best to keep everything clean. You are staying in a ryokan for a uniquely Japanese experience.
Once Your Reservation is Confirmed:
1) Please check in no later than 17:00. This is important as many of our ryokans are family run and operated so they have developed schedules over the years to help the run the ryokan efficiently. Often this means they have set times for service dinners and for clearing your plates. Food is also purchased and prepared fresh just for you. If you arrive late then there is a good chance that you will miss dinner but you will still be charged for the meal. Also keep in mind that your ryokan might be located in an area where they are not restaurants.
To avoid arriving late it is important to check the train schedule well in advance. You can do this using the website Jorudan or Hyperdia which give you departure and arrival times. They check your ryokan directions to see how much time it will take for you to get the ryokan from the station or bus stop.
2) Japan is a cash society and many ryokans do not accept credit cards so please make sure you understand how to pay for your stay. If you have to pay in Japanese Yen cash then make sure you have the cash available before checking out. If you are staying in a rural area there might not be a post office or bank where you can exchange money for yen or withdrawal money from your home bank. If you forget to prepare enough cash then you will need to get it. While getting the cash to pay your bill the ryokan will require that you leave your luggage in the ryokan’s lobby. If you refuse then they reserve the right to contact the police.
3) Please avoid last minute changes (dates, number of guests, meals,…). Ryokans are small businesses, it’s not easy for them to handle cancellations or changes on a short notice.
4) Remove your shoes at the entrance; no one will steal your shoes
5) Enjoy your room aesthetics
6) To make the most of your ryokan experience we highly recommend taking your bath before dinner and change into your yukata (or cotton kimono). This really gets you in the ryokan spirit. Keep in mind that Japanese bathe at night to wash off all the day’s dirt so they can sleep clean and comfortable. This also means that the hot spring baths may be closed for cleaning in the morning so if you do not bathe at night you may have to go a day without bathing and we do not want that to happen.