What are Ryokan?

Ryokan are traditional Japanese style inns.

Featuring tatami rooms, communal baths, futon beds, and traditional cuisine.

They’re a fantastic experience for foreigners seeking the authentic, traditional Japanese lifestyle.

They’re usually wooden structures using old-world architecture — located near onsen (natural hot springs).

Most ryokan offer breakfast & dinner

Serving authentic Japanese cuisine, usually with a fixed menu (some ryokan offer a couple of choices though).

Plus a tea service brought to your room upon request.

Inside the room you’ll often find fresh yukata for you to wear. Feel free to explore the ryokan while wearing it.

And many ryokan are in “onsen towns” so you can explore outside wearing the yukata as well.

Communal baths are typically segregated. 

Undress in the locker room, shower, then enter the bath.

The Japanese never enter the bath dirty.

A ryokan is an excellent way to retreat from the hustle and bustle of big city life. 

To relax, recover, and relieve stress — the old Japan way. 

Staying at a real ryokan is absolutely worth it!

It’s definitely not just “sleeping on a futon instead of a bed.”

You’ll be in old-Japan style architecture. Japanese furniture, style of bedding, seating… clothing even.

Real ryokan are often next to nature. Right outside the window usually.

It is nothing like staying at a hotel. It’s an experience unto itself.

RECOMMENDATION: Stay at a Traditional Ryokan to Experience Real Tatami

And of course, an amazing traditional Japanese experience.

Spend the night in a cozy Japanese tatami room at Komatsu Ryokan and explore the local neighborhood. Enjoy a sumo show, including a traditional chankonabe lunch, or experience traditional Japanese culture through authentic Aizome fabric dyeing.


  • Experience a traditional ryokan in central Tokyo
  • Explore the local neighborhood in Ueno
  • Visit nearby Ryogoku or Asakusa to watch a sumo show and eat chankonabe
  • Visit nearby Asakusa to experience traditional fabric dyeing

Unlike hotel rooms, traditional Japanese-style ryokan rooms have very little furniture. In fact, when you walk in chances are that all you will see is a low central table, and some traditional zaisu (chairs without legs). The flooring is tatami matting, which is both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to walk, sit or lay on. But you may be wondering: where are the beds? —BoutiqueJapan

While extremes exist, the average cost of a ryokan stay is between 15,000 and 25,000 yen per person, per night. While this may be too expensive to stay at everyday, it is well worth indulging on one special night during your travels. —JapanGuide

The primary difference between onsen and ryokan relates to whether or not you can sleep there. Not all onsens have their own accommodations or are situated particularly close to them. … On the other hand, while Dogo Onsen in Shikoku has many hotels nearby, including some ryokans, it is not itself a ryokan. —LeaveYourDailyHell

I highly recommend that you stay at least one night in a ryokan during your trip to Japan. In fact, one night is probably enough for most people, especially for those who do not like Japanese food, or have difficulty getting down and up from the floor. —SavoryJapan

Watch this fantastic private onsen tour

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