Shiobara Hot Springs Village
Shiobara Hot Springs Village

What's a Ryokan?

Ryokan is called a Japanese-style hotel but is actually quite different from the usual hotel. Ryokan dates back to the seventh century, when private homes were set up as rest houses for people traveling from one section of the country to another on business trips or religious pilgrimages. Ryokan, then, has gradually evolved and improved to meet the demands of these travellers.

There are several marked differences between Ryokan and hotels that you will want to note. Unlike a hotel, for exanple, where there is a room charge, in a Ryokan each person is charged individually. Breakfast and dinner are included. The decor of a Ryokan also differs from a hotel and you will be able to perceive more of a typical Japanese setting by staying in one.

Each room ok Kyakushitsu(guest room) is divided by Fusuma or Shoji(sliding paper doors). In the daytime and early evening the room is used for your private dining and living room, and at night for your bedroom. Furo(Japanese bath) is slightly different from the bath in western countries. One washes and rinses the body outside the tub first, then enters the warm tub to melt away the day's fatigue. Rokan serves mainly Japanese-style food such as Tempura and other dishes, but if you order Western-style food they will gladly prepare it for you. Reservations can be made directly at a Ryokan or through a travel agency.

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