Our Ryokan Experience
the ryokan staff greeted us as the door placed our shoes on the rack and then gave us a pair of slippers
Each guest at our ryokan was provided with a pair of slippers upon checking in
Once we checked in, a host (not a bellboy) guided us to our room. This room had a table in the middle with a tea pot and snacks neatly placed on top of it. The host asked us to sit down while she poured us tea. While we were drinking, she explained in a very thorough manner the features of the room.
She told us that when we are ready to sleep, we could call attendants to prepare our beds for the night. This is what makes Ryokans unique – guests are expected to sleep on thin futons that are laid out on the floor.
Our ryokan room had a nice low hardwood-table for the freshly made tea
Our freshly served ryokan tea
Our bathroom was spotless
Our ryokan room had all the amenities we needed
Ready for Bedtime
After a day of sightseeing, we called the front desk to let them know that we were ready to go to bed. After a few minutes, two attendants came in to lay out the futon (mattress) for us. They did it very systematically, so systematically that they appeared like soldiers trying to accomplish their mission in the most efficient manner. It was fascinating to see them in action because each movement was so calculated, and so precise. We really wanted to get a video, but we were afraid that we would come across as being rude.
By now you might be thinking that sleeping on a futon sounds not too comfortable. I had the same initial thought too. But to tell you the truth, it went surprisingly well for us. We had a good night’s sleep and didn’t feel that we were sleeping on a hard floor. The futon was thick enough to provide cushion against the floor.
Overall, I absolutely loved my stay at this Ryokan. It is one of my most enduring memories of my trip to Japan. I definitely recommend that you try one too (just as long as you don’t have any back issues of some sort). Sure, it may be more expensive than your ordinary hotel room, but it is the experience that makes it worthwhile. Experiencing how the Japanese sleep traditionally, is an excellent way to immerse yourself in this truly fascinating culture.