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What is a Ryokan
What is a Ryokan Ryokan and Japanese culture Why stay at a Ryokan when in Kyoto? The Ryokan experience How is it different from a hotel? Isn't it expensive?
How is it different from a hotel?

It just is.
The easiest distinctions that you may notice are the fact that Ryokan have Tatami mat floors, futons and public baths. Depending on the place of stay, you may find a difference of maid services and Kaiseki cuisine offered. These are just a few of the cultural differences between the east and west.

In a western style hotel, the services and facilities are well equipped. You can expect full satisfaction anywhere in the world. Hotel reputation is based on a system of stars rating the facility from 0 to 5. The more stars, the more luxurious the hotel is supposed to be. A hotel should be ranked based on the facility's efficiency, sophistication and services.


In the case of a Ryokan, most of which are privately owned, the quality of systems, atmosphere and such differ greatly depending on which Ryokan you stay at. What you can be certain to see are the Tatami mat floors, futons and public baths. Depending on the owner's personal preferences, the Ryokan may be one of which that preserves the old ways and views of Japan as it was in the past, or in other cases, it may be modernized into a hybrid Ryokan/hotel. Each Ryokan has been framed by the values of its owner so that their customers can relax and enjoy their time spent in Kyoto to its fullest. No star ranking system can put a rate on that.

A Ryokan and its traditions can only be seen in Japanese culture, but even native Japanese sometimes have difficulty deciding whether to stay in a Ryokan or a hotel. A Ryokan best suited for your needs and mood of that time is out there for you.