A Ryokan is Japanese-style accommodation. It is often fine old Japanese wooden buildings with tatami mats, futons, deep bath tubs (Onsen), gardens, traditional service and kitchens that turn out classic Japanese cuisine.
We were fortunate to experience this style of accommodation for two nights while we were staying in Kyoto, called Ryokan Hokkaikan Ohanabo.
We were welcomed with grand smiles and friendly faces – which I have decided is the Japanese nature (have not met an unfriendly being yet!).
Shoes are left in the genkan (foyer area) and then stepped into the reception area to sign in. From here we were shown around and then to our room where we were served a cup of green tea and sweets.
There is no bed out but a serving table in the centre of the room. There is a tokonoma (sacred alcove) which will usually contain flowers or a hanging scroll. Our room had flowers with a beautiful Japanese fan. Bags are not allowed to be placed near this area.
We changed into our yukata (cotton Japanese robes or kimono) and were served dinner in our room. It was a multicourse feast (often not sure what we were eating).
After dinner, we took a bath in the onsen (Japanese bath). There was a time slot in which we could use the onsen – it closed at 10pm.
- Place sleepers and yukata in a basket that is provided.
- Once in the bathing area, find a place around the wall to place your toiletries near the taps and wash your body or least rinse.
- Then walk over to the hot tub and walk in – it’s there to relax in, not wash in.
- Afterwards, walk back into the bathing area and rinse your body again (if you wish), then dry yourself.
- Dress back into your yukata and sleepers and walk back to your room relaxed.
- Then close to bed time – our dining table was moved and our futon beds were laid out.
In the morning, we were served a traditional Japanese-style breakfast (again not sure about some food items).
Well today is our last day in Japan. Hope you have enjoyed reading about our experiences here in Japan. We fly out tonight and I look forward to returning home and getting back into my kitchen. See you soon back in Oz.