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Thursday, January 22, 2015

WaPo: "Why You Should Stay In A Japanese Ryokan"

Above, the Bansuitei Ikoiso Ryokan in Sendai. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Washington Post's online Travel section has posted an article on "Why You Should Stay In A Japanese Ryokan."

I have stayed at three ryokans (Japanese inns) over the years. The first being the Hotel Fukudaya in the Shibuya ward of Tokyo in 2001. The next was the Bansuitei Ikoiso Ryokan in Sendai in 2006. And the last was the Kumamoto Kajita Ryokan in Kumamoto in 2007. Each were family owned and operated and their hospitality was excellent.

Above, a room at a ryokan. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Here's a snippet from the article:
Japanese inns, called ryokans, are found all over the country, though they are typically in scenic areas and towns that feature hot springs. There are also ryokans in larger cities, but they are older and often not as pretty as those in smaller towns. Ryokans were developed in the 1600s to serve Japanese travelers journeying between Tokyo and imperial Kyoto. 
Today there are more than 60,000 ryokans, ranging from small family-run inns to larger, modern ones. The buildings are often at least 100 years old and have the traditional Japanese architecture of wooden buildings, pointed roofs, bamboo and greenery. Many have beautiful gardens. Ryokans have simple and serene guest rooms with sliding paper screen doors separating sitting and sleeping areas, tatami (reed) mats, low tables and closets to hide the bedding. Linens cover the telephone and television, lest they upset the soothing environment.
One thing I noticed about ryokans is that they are generally cheaper than hotels in Japan, especially those in more rural areas. The ryokan I stayed at in Kumamoto was under $40 a night.

To read more, go here.

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