What is Ryokan? Is it worth it?

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You may have heard a lot about Ryokan or Japanese Inn, what is the different with a common hotel? And is it worth the price? These are the things you need to know about Ryokan below.


Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Inn. They typically feature tatami-matted rooms, public baths, and public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner.


Characteristic of a Ryokan

Some modern ryokan may have a western type of bed. But to really get the Japanese inn experience, you should try the futon mattress. The futon will be laid on top of the tatami-mat. So the room will be a living room during the day and become a bedroom at night.


Most ryokan have Japanese garden where you can stroll around and taking your time enjoying the view.


Good ryokans are located in nature, far away from the crowded polluted city and usually with mountain views. Some of the best ryokans cannot be accessed without a car. Note that most areas with ryokan are close at night time. So you will need to spend the night to really get the full experience of a ryokan.

Hot Spring

Hot spring bath is one of the main reason of a ryokan. But some ryokan or places such as Oedo Onsen Monogatari (Tokyo) or Spa World (Osaka) offer just the hot spring bath experience without the need to spend the night. They don’t have good outdoor views, though. So make sure if you’re going to visit a ryokan, get one with a good view.

Although the common baths are public but there are also some ryokans which provide private baths with a higher cost. Choose an open bath rather than a closed one since a closed one is basically just a hot bathtub…


Kaiseki Cuisine

Kaiseki is another main reasons why you should try a Ryokan. Although the price will be quite high, try to at least get them once if you visit a ryokan. Kaiseki is a multi-course Japanese dinner. The food will be served in small quantity in a lot of separate bowls. All menu usually will be made with the freshest ingredient available on that day.


If you are interested just in the Kaiseki and onsen experience, you can search for places that provide hot spring bath experience combined with kaiseki. Kaiseki cuisine can also be ordered in a high-end restaurant. Note that to get a kaiseki lunch/dinner, you will need to do reservation before hand.


• Get a ryokan with a good view
• Experience the kaiseki cuisine

• Good ryokan experience will cost a minimum of 20.000 yen per person per night

So, is it worth it?

Please note that if you try to get ryokan experience under 10.000 yen per person per night, it might not worth it… A good ryokan experience cost a minimum of 20.000 yen/person/night. It’s a bit expensive, but a good ryokan with a great outdoor view and a kaiseki cuisine experience will be worth the price.

First time going to Japan on your own?

Be sure to prepare yourself well before you go to Japan. Check out this article to help you plan what you need to have in Japan.

Language can be an obstacle since many people in Japan couldn’t speak English. You could either try to learn a bit of basic Japanese or you could also use free apps like Japan Travel Phrasebook to help you.

This app provide a lot of practical phrase you will need to travel such as “I want to go to …” or “Where is the toilet?”. You can imitate the phrases until you memorize them or you can simply bookmark the phrases and show it up to local so they can immediately understand what you need.

Hope it helps and have a wonderful trip! °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°