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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?
Isn't it expensive?

If you look up accommodation costs in a magazine or on the internet, you may find the average cost for one person to stay in a Ryokan is about 25,000 Yen and a hotel is 20,000 Yen, at first glance, yes. It is more expensive to stay in a Ryokan. However, if you think of it this way; The expenses for a hotel only include the room accommodation fee, but a Ryokan services include two meals which is worth 10,000 Yen already, which means the accommodation fee itself is an affordable 15,000 Yen. Less expensive than a hotel. Why do most Ryokan offer accommodation plans inclusive with 2 meals?
That is a question that must be answered by looking back into the customs of old Japan and its tradition.


●Accommodation in a traditional atmosphere of Kyoto, the old capital of Japan.

Ryokan are traditional Japanese accommodation facilities much different from hotels. On average, a Ryokan will have from about 10 to 30 guestrooms. In the Edo period they were called Hatago (hostels that offered beds and served meals for the average traveler and Samurai). Today, you can find old traditional Ryokan in the city and near famous temples and shrines. These old buildings are what preserves the now and then of Kyoto. A convenient place to stay for sightseeing in Kyoto. The tasteful atmosphere of relaxing hot springs are also popular.

●Guests can expect warm hospitality from their guestroom attendant.

Large hotels and accommodation facilities can offer good service at a reasonable cost, because the abundant number of staff can be separated into their designated areas. Small scaled inns have difficulty doing the same.

On the contrary, the customer service in a Ryokan guestroom is taken care of by one person; the Nakai-san (Guestroom attendant). She will take care of you from checking in, guiding you to your room, carrying baggage, preparing snacks and tea, explanation of the room facilities, working out a time for dinner according to the guests schedule and so forth. A common hospitality custom of the Japanese. You may find yourself a little shy at first, but the time spent chatting with the Nakai-san is all part of the traditional service of a Ryokan.

In large scale hotels where there are no Nakai-sans, you can only find this kind of service offered in public areas of the facility. Hotels will display general information on walls of hallways or at the counters. Hotels are universal accommodation services and efficiency is smart but you can't help to feel that it is a little impersonal. In recent years, the hotel industry has become more conscious of location and hospitality. You can find many hotels with established ‘Club floors' to offer customer service that is usually only seen in smaller scale hotels or Ryokan.

●Experience authentic Kyoto cuisine and hospitality at a reasonable price.

The main event of good hospitality in a Ryokan is enjoying Kyoto cuisine dinner served in the guestrooms. The Nakai-san will carefully deliver each dish to your table. The food served in a Ryokan is carefully prepared by the hand of the Shokunin (Chef or Craftsman) using fresh fish, meat and seasonal vegetables planned out 2, 3 days in advance based on the number of guests and time of the season. As it takes much time and effort to prepare meals and services is why advanced reservations are necessary.

What you can get out of staying in a Ryokan in Kyoto, is the traditional hospitality and understand the deeper meaning behind food, shelter and clothing in Japan.

*The above text was made on behalf of all the average services offered in Ryokans in Kyoto, but depending on the facilities, services and meal preparations may differ.