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A unique accommodation experience

Just as hotels come in all shapes and sizes, so do ryokan, traditional Japanese inns. A widely held misconception is that ryokan are always prohibitively expensive and only available to the traveller with a bottomless wallet. This is simply not the case; if you fancy some nights traditional style (and in our opinion a trip to Japan is not complete without this experience) then we are sure to have something to suit your budget.

Ryokan are a throw back to how most Japanese houses used to be. The interiors are nearly always of wood and the rooms feature sliding screens and are floored with tatami mats of woven reeds. These act as great insulators in the winter whilst keeping rooms cool in summer. Guests sleep on futon mattresses laid out on the floor of the rooms by the ryokan staff. Usually these will be put out at night and then returned to their cupboard in the morning before breakfast although at the more budget establishments they may well be left out. The traditional rooms are something all ryokan have in common but it is there that the similarities stop. Ryokan can be as luxurious as the finest hotels or as budget and basic as youth hostels!

The main attraction of a top class ryokan is the incredibly high levels of service coupled with an attention to detail perhaps only found in Japan. You will feel like you are the only guests even though every room may be taken and at meals times you will be served food of the highest quality. Ryokan meals are beautifully prepared and exquisitely presented; a feast not only for the palette but also for the eyes. Served in your room, often by a kimono-clad waitress this is a chance to experience the best that Japan has to offer.

Lower cost ryokan and Minshuku (People's Inns) give you the chance to have the Japanese experience without the high expense. Admittedly the finer aspects are sacrificed but the attraction of living for a while as the Japanese do still makes this a very appealing option. Minshuku are a great option for travellers on a budget; similar in style to ryokan minshuku are always family run and the name reflects this origin of people turning their homes into inns. Rooms are basic traditional style and bathing facilties are almost always shared. The food is a major attraction with rates usually including a delicious home-cooked dinner (very different to the more formal style ryokan meals) and breakfast.

For details on the many different traditional style accommodation options please get in touch and we will be happy to assist, whatever it is you're looking for.

Left - Iwaso Ryokan, Miyajima; Right - Dinner, Tenryukaku Ryokan Sendai