Ryokan [旅館] are Japanese hostels that maintain the tradition of lodging in the Edo Period. In this accommodation everything is traditional, from its structure to the customs and environment.
Among the traditional aspects of Ryokan we have its construction, garden, bedrooms, bedding, onsen, food and others. It’s like traveling back in time and experiencing the charm of ancient Japan.
This accommodation has been a great relaxation gem popular with the wealthy for hundreds of years, today there are ryokan with prices accessible to all as well as chic and traditional inns that offer countless experiences at a high price.
How are the ryokan?
There are different types of ryokan, varying greatly in terms of size, cost and style. Some are small family establishments with few rooms, while others are large, with hundreds of rooms.
Visitors sleep in rooms with flower names, in a futon no tatamiwearing the traditional yukata. Everything in ryokan it is harmonized with nature. Unfortunately, this experience can be expensive.
The daily rates include breakfast and typical dinner, served in the room. Many have collective or private hot springs, which makes it a perfect place to spend the honeymoon with your loved one.
The doors are sliding, the entrance is relatively large, with sofas and chairs for guests to sit and chat. The food served is usually a traditional kaiseki.
Yukata is one is an indispensable piece in ryokan and the Onsen, which can usually be mixed in these traditional houses. In some inns they usually offer several yukata prints.
It is very common to wear this garment after the bath in the onsen, it is also quite common to go out in this outfit in the middle of the night. These guesthouses offer a huge landscape and gardens, in addition to their beautiful architecture.
Meals are typical dishes with different colors, textures and flavors, and are served in fine china and Japanese ceramics that delight guests.
Anyway, there is a welcoming atmosphere that makes guests feel at home. It is a unique cultural experience! Each inn has its differentials, so it is difficult to describe what a ryokan can offer.
How much does a Ryokan cost?
Generally, a Ryokan can have a daily rate of up to 100,000 yen (3,000 reais). It all depends on the location, popularity and service involved. It is possible to find 10,000 yen, but they are generally in the range of 30,000;
There are hostels that are very similar to a ryokan, they even offer onsen, but that doesn't have all that charm and tradition. These places can usually be found for up to less than 5,000 yen.
You can also meet one without having to stay at it. Some are generally open to the public because of the onsen. I even went on a mixed onsen in izu, where hosting costs only 19,000 yen.
Although it seems like a hefty price, it is worth remembering that yukata, onsen, kaiseki food, and room service are involved. Generally, only the onsen in these mountains and open forests costs more than 3,000 yen.
Minshuku and Pensions - Alternative accommodation
If you don't want to spend a lot of money, but want to try traditional Japanese accommodation, we also recommend minshuku [民宿] or traditional family pensions.
They are cheap alternatives where rooms generally follow the same style as a ryokan, you can usually also find the same services offered in these places cheaper.
Pensions usually cost more than one minshuku, families who inherit or own a large Japanese-style house, often create their own accommodation. It can be an even better experience to stay in a pension.
Depending on the location, you may have direct contact with family or local residents. Perhaps it is a good option to make friends and get to know a little of Japanese culture. It is not something as formal as a ryokan.
Tokyo’s Best Ryokan
Try staying in a traditional Japanese inn (ryokan) without breaking your budget. All of these ryokans mentioned in this article receive foreign visitors and can be easily booked online.
Homeikan - An authentic ryokan located right in the center of Tokyo. The rooms have traditional furniture and there is even a Japanese garden.
Ryokan Eishinkan - This family-run ryokan underwent a total renovation in 2011. It is located right in the center of Tokyo, so there are numerous attractions within walking distance, including Akasaka Palace and Shinjuku National Garden.
Ryokan Asakusa Shigetsu - A family ryokan next to the traditional Nakamise-dori shopping arcade and the Senso-ji Temple. It has Japanese and Western style rooms, and a large public bath on the top floor.
Sukeroku-no-Yado Sadachiyo - All rooms have a traditional tatami style and a private bathroom. There are also two large public baths, one made of cypress wood and the other made of black granite. Japanese antiques are on display to recreate the atmosphere of the samurai era, and the Senso-ji Temple is just a few minutes' walk away.
Sakura Ryokan - Close to Ueno Park and Asakusa Senso-ji Temple - two of Tokyo's most popular tourist spots. It is located in a quiet residential neighborhood, which still retains much of the atmosphere of old Tokyo.
Ryokan Asaksua Mikawaya Honten - Just a 1-minute walk from the Senso-ji Temple in Asakusa, and right next to the historic Nakamise-dori shopping street, this ryokan is a great base for sightseeing. It has traditional tatami-matami rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa - Located in the center of Asakusa, it is just a 30-minute walk from Nakamise-dori, where you can buy traditional Japanese souvernirs, and a 5-minute walk from the Senso-ji Temple.
Chiyoda Inn - This modern ryokan has Japanese and Western style rooms. It is located north of downtown Tokyo, which makes it a good base for exploring the city.
Shin-Okubo Sekitei - All rooms in this elegant modern hotel are Japanese-style and en-suite. It is very close to Shinjuku.
Hotel Fukudaya - Just a 15-minute walk from Shibuya Station, this ryokan is perfectly situated for Tokyo's fashion, nightlife and youth scene. Harajuku, Daikanyama and Ebisu are just a 15-minute walk away.
Ryokan Maizuru - Located north of downtown Tokyo, all rooms have futons and tatami mats, and there is a small Japanese garden. A Japanese-style bath is available for private use.
Ryokan Fuji - A friendly family ryokan, conveniently located for central and east Tokyo. The spacious rooms have traditional tatami rugs and are en-suite. Western and Japanese-style breakfast is available.
Kyoto's Best Ryokan
Now let's see the Ryokan most accessible to foreigners in the Kyoto region:
Nagomi Ryokan Yuu - This ryokan is a great choice if you want to experience Japanese culture. You can try on an old kimono and attend a tea ceremony. The rooms are Japanese-style with futons in an 80-year-old place.
Ryokan Hirashin - A modern ryokan located in the center. Nijo Castle and the Gion Geisha district are both a 20-minute walk away. The traditional rooms have en suite bathrooms, and there are also large public bathrooms available.
Uoiwa Ryokan - Located directly in front of the Nishi Honganji Temple, a world heritage site, this ryokan features authentic Japanese cuisine. It has en suite rooms and a large public bath.
Kyoto Watazen Ryokan - The districts of Pontocho and Gion geisha are both a 15-minute walk away. Some of the Japanese-style rooms are en suite, but all guests have access to the large traditional baths.
Guest Inn Chita - This ryokan is located in front of the Higashi Honganji temple. The owners offer a service where you can experience a Yukata and take pictures.
Ryokan Wajimaya - A cozy and welcoming ryokan run by a family. It is just a 3-minute walk from the Higashi Honganji Temple and close to other important sights. The rooms are spacious, and there is a Japanese-style bath.
Daiya Ryokan - Located in the heart of Kyoto, Higashi Honganji Temple and Nishi Honganji Temple are just a 3-minute walk away. The surrounding area comprises streets built in the Taisho and Showa eras, and is full of gift shops and interesting places.
Ryokan Capsule - The two most exclusive styles of Japanese accommodation are capsule hotels and ryokans, and you can experience both at the same time in the only one ryokan capsule of the world.
Ryokan Seiki Station - A friendly family ryokan, with en-suite Japanese-style rooms. It is in a very convenient location, really close to Kyoto Station.
Ryokan Sanki - Ryokan Sanki is over 100 years old, and is built in the traditional Kyoto style. A stay in one of its Japanese-style rooms gives you the opportunity to taste the atmosphere of ancient Kyoto.
Gion Maifukan - Located in Gion which is famous for its geishas, this ryokan is just two minutes walk from the Yasaka Shrine and is surrounded by temples. It has Western and Japanese-style rooms, and a roof terrace.
Ryokan Sakanoue - A luxurious traditional ryokan just a minute's walk from the Yasaka Shrine and four minutes from the Kodaiji Temple. It has an attractive garden and serves traditional Kaiseki cuisine. The rooms have Japanese style wooden futons and baths.
Seikoro Ryokan - A luxurious ryokan with exquisite kaiseki cuisine that is served in your room. The traditional rooms have futons and Japanese-style wooden bathtubs. Higashi Honganji and Sanjusangendo temples are both a 15-minute walk away.
Hotel Honnoji - This ryokan is just a few minutes walk from the Geisha Gion district, and is close to Nijo Castle and the Imperial Palace. It features Japanese-style rooms with futons and huge public bathrooms.
Guest House Itoya Kyoto - A guest house in a traditional wooden house with shared dormitories (only for women) and double rooms. This is the place to come and experience the atmosphere of ancient Kyoto first hand.
Videos about Ryokan
To finish the article, we will leave some videos about this traditional Japanese hosting for you to take a look. We appreciate comments and sharing.
Video Showing the beauty of this traditional accommodation:
Video of a tourist, Juliana Goes