|Above, the Bansuitei Ikoiso Ryokan in Sendai. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
For those who are contemplating a visit to Japan, a stay at a ryokan (Japanese inn) is something that all visitors should try at least once.
There is a source for finding the right ryokan that will welcome with open arms.
According to Asia One:
For the longest time, Japan's tourism could be summed up thus: a case of more foreigners wanting to experience a distinctive culture than there were Japanese willing to share it with them.
That imbalance is less obvious now, as Japan opens its doors wider to an eager influx of tourists hungry for both its food and omotenashi - the "spirit" of Japanese hospitality and service.
If you're an onsen fan who has long shed your inhibitions about soaking in a public hot spring bath with naked strangers, there's no better way to experience omotenashi than in a traditional ryokan where personalised service is at a level not seen in any other commercial accommodation.
Usually family-run with a hospitable okami-san at the helm, your every need is taken care of - from the moment you step in and a pair of slippers magically appears, right down to the meticulously prepared kaiseki dinners made with locally sourced produce.
But finding such a ryokan has never been easy in the past. Most - if not all - catered to the domestic market and with their language and cultural barriers, few thought to explore the idea of opening up to the foreign market.That said, there is a source for finding a ryokan that has opened their doors to the foreign tourist. It is called The Ryokan Collection.
I have stayed at three ryokans and have enjoyed the experience very much.
To read more, go here.