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When you are traveling o Japan you will have various options to take shelter. There might be hotels, hostels, temple-lodging, guesthouses, private lodging and there are ryokans. A ryokan is a very traditional way of sleeping in Japan and quite a must for the dedicated traveler.

When you are traveling o Japan you will have various options to take shelter. There might be hotels, hostels, temple-lodging, guesthouses, private lodging and there are Ryokans. A Ryokan is a very traditional way of sleeping in Japan and quite a must for the dedicated traveler.

The walls of the rooms in a ryokan are mainly made of rice-paper-walls, which you can slide: The Japanese are very smart in using the little they have in space. The rooms are almost empty, only covered with tatami (reed mat). Like in every lodging in Japan you will take off your shoes at the entrance and will receive slippers. But they are only used for the way up to your room. There you will take them off again. Depending on the history, price and quality of your ryokan there might be a maid, who brings you to your room and gives you the yukata (cotton kimono) and obi (belt) and towels. Otherwise you will serve yourself.

There are top end ryokans and rather cheap ones. We took the last option and so we are freed from the formal etiquette of a ryokan, but you need to roll out your futon yourself. A bareable task, indeed. Being in a ryokan means that you should leave on your yukata almost all of the time. Cleanliness means a big deal in Japan an therefore rokans have private and shared baths. As a tradition you are asked to put washing at your top priority. The procedure would be that you clean yourself with soap and just after that step into a hot tub and enjoy yourself there.

Ryokans are famous for serving great local dishes for dinner and breakfast, but not all of the listed ryokans hold the promise. Ours for instance didn’t cook at all. The best place for discovering ryokans is Kyoto. There are also some of the most beautiful and most costly ones. The greatest ones have a spacious garden and a haute cuisine kitchen. You can book your ryokans meanwhile through the internet or you check a tourist office.

Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryokan_%28Japanese_inn%29

http://www.ryokan.or.jp/index_en.html

written by wil6ka

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