Get the most out of your stay: traditional Japanese inns

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  • The best season for travelling and taking a vacation is coming! Next time, if you are planning to travel to Japan, you might want to experience something unique. It is not only about traveling for fun, but also about having precious original experiences or having solid cultural knowledge about the destination. If you go to Japan and eat in western fast-food chains, it can be a waste of time and loss of precious opportunities you have!

    Experience culture by staying at a ryokan

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    For example, there are many traditional Japanese hotels called “Ryokan” available, where you can easily experience Japanese culture first-hand. In Japan, there are innumerable Ryokans in every area. Have you ever stayed at a Ryokan before?

    First of all, Ryokan workers take care of visitors with a great attitude. For example, when you arrive at a ryokan, their staffs welcome you by bowing very politely, even though it is uncommon among ordinary Japanese recently. However, you do not need to feel pressured into behaving the same way. There is an expression that “customers are gods”. So, if you stay there, you will feel like you deserve to relax and enjoy the place.

    Some basic rules

    There are some rules when staying in there. If you know them, you can enjoy Ryokan stay even more!

    Here is one simple but important rule.
    First, please take off your shoes.

    It is well known that taking off your shoes before entering a house in Japan is expected. Especially at Ryokans. Many ryokan are Japanese style, for example, tatami flooring at the sides of the room, and Shoji doors that are made of Japanese papers and natural materials.

    Usually, visitors use public bath or public hot spring at ryokans. When it comes to a public hot spring, there is a bad news for those with tattoos. Because most bath places prohibit tattooed people from entering. Why? One reason is that yakuza or Japanese mafia members have tattoos and that makes ordinary people scared. Another main rule, that is to wash your body before entering a bathtub, as it is a public bath and everyone should be clean. And one lat rule, please do not swim in a bathtub!

    Wear a yukata (summer kimono)

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    Lastly, visitors can borrow Yukata as pajamas to use in the public space at ryokan.
    Each ryokan has different designs of yukata. They are provided as a part of service and are included into the price. Of course, wearing yukata in a ryokan is not mandatory. But, it might be a unique experience for people who had never wore a kimono or yukata before!

    There are many unique things that you can find at a ryokan, along with your comfortable stay. Next time you’re in Japan, make sure to try staying at a Ryokan!