Today I would like to talk about Hotels in Japan. In Japan, we have basically three styles of Hotels.
One is the western style hotel and others are traditional Japanese style inn called Ryokan and Minshuku
Let me mention another types of inn called Pension later.
“What is Ryokan?”
You can find Ryokan all over the country but only few in Tokyo and other large cities,
because many are expensive compared to hotels and Japanese people increasingly use hotels
for urban tourism.
Ryokan originated in Edo period (1603-1868), when such inns served travelers along
Japan’s public roads. They typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths,
and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner.
Now, Ryokan are typically located in scenic areas, such as in the mountains or by the sea,
and in recent years many ryokan have been redeveloped to their original style.
“Features of Ryokan”
You can find most of Ryokan have a relatively large entrance hall,
with couches and chairs where guests can sit.
A modernized Ryokan often have a television in the hall was well.
Guest rooms are constructed using traditional Japanese methods: tatami floor,
and sliding doors. Even if the inn uses hinged doors for security, it usually
opens into a small entranceway where guests can take off their shoes before
stepping onto the tatami floor, which would be separated by a sliding door.
Many Ryokan rooms also feature a porch or balcony, also set off with a sliding door.
Almost all Ryokan feature common bathing areas or ofuro, usually segregated by gender,
using the water from a hot spring (Onsen) if any are nearby.
Areas with natural hot springs tend to attract high concentration of Ryokan.
High-end Ryokan may provide private bathing facilities as well.
Typically Ryokan provide guests with a yukata to wear; they might also have games
such as table tennis, and possibly geta that visitors can borrow for strolls outside.
Bedding is a futon spread out on the tatami floor. When guests first enter their room,
they usually find a table and some supplies for making tea. The table is also used for
meals when guests take them in their room. While guests are out, staff called Nakai-san,
will move the table aside and se out the futon.
“Meals at Ryokan”
Most Ryokan offer dinner and breakfast, which are often included in the price of the room.
Most visitors take their meals at the Ryokan, which usually promote themselves on the quality of their food.
Meals consist of traditional Japanese cuisine known as Kaiseki, which features seasonal and regional specialties.
In order for each dish to be enjoyed at the proper temperature,
Ryokan stress that guests should be punctual for their meals. For this reason,
most Ryokan ask guests to confirm the time they want to take their meals.
Some Ryokan have a communal dining area, but most serve meals in the guests’ rooms.
Ryokan which are likely to serve non-Japanese guests may also have a selection of Western food.
“What is Minshuku?”
Minshuku are a budget version of ryokan, roughly equivalent to a British boarding house
or a bed and breakfast. The facilities are similar to a hotel
or may simply consist of spare rooms in a family home.
Minshuku often serve as the only type of accommodation in towns
or villages too small to warrant a dedicated hotel or ryokan.
The overall experience is much the same, but the food is simpler,
dining may be optional and is often communal, rooms do not usually have a private toilet,
and guests may have to lay out their own bedding.
Pension I mentioned before means small hotels serve meals in French and I can explain
that Pension in Japan is Minshuku which are made in French style
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