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Ryokan (Japanese Inn)

Ryokan is more than just a place to sleep. It is a place to experience the traditional Japanese lifestyle and hospitality. There are many different types of Ryokan, and they can vary greatly in size, cost and style. Ryokan may appear intimidating to the first timer and those unfamiliar, however, staying at one is a relaxing experience that everyone should try.

Ryokan is a type of Japanese inn, which began in the Edo period. Modern Ryokan are more typically located in scenic areas, by the mountains or by the sea. A typical Ryokan has a large entrance hall, along with couches and chairs. The guest rooms are constructed using traditional Japanese methods; flooring is tatami, and all doors are sliding doors. Many rooms include a porch or balcony. When a guest first enters their room there is usually a table and supplies for making tea. While the guests are out the staff will move the table and set out the bedding. Typically bedding is a futon spread on the tatami floor.

Common bathing areas are not unusual at Ryokan, they are usually segregated by gender and use the water from a hot spring if there is on near. Usually yukata are provided for guests to wear. They may also have games like table tennis available. Most Ryokan include dinner and breakfast, the meals consist of traditional Japanese cuisine known as kaiseki, this features seasonal and regional specialties. Some Ryokan have communal dining areas but most serve meals in guest rooms.