A Night in a Japanese Ryokan Onsen
Our visit to Japan wouldn't be complete without a stay in a ryokan, a Japanese style hotel inn. We stayed at Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou.
Ryokans are much more than just a place to stay and offers a traditional experience with a room with tatami mat covered floors, zaisu chairs and futon beds made before your eyes. They're a great way to experience Japanese hospitality. Some of them have hot spring baths called onsens located in the hotel. The water from nearby hot springs are pumped directly into the hotel.
Traditionally public baths are not co-ed. You will need to shower and enter the baths nude. If you're not comfortable or want to share the experience with your other half, try to get a room with a private bath. Some ryokans also have an option to reserve a time slot for a private onsen.
Cute Japanese yukatas are usually provided in your rooms along with slippers. Don't worry these are unisex and there's no right way to tie that sash! We asked!
Our favourite part of our stay was enjoying a kaiseki which is a multi course traditional Japanese meal. Staying at a ryokan, the meal is usually served in your room in the comfort of your yukatas. Kaiseki can also be enjoyed at various restaurants.
At our ryokan, we enjoyed our meal where the rice was boiled right in front of us on top of a perfectly timed flame. From beautiful appetizer dishes to a delicious sweet beef sukiyaki, everything was flawlessly executed and explain by our server.
After our meal, hotel staff came to our room to set up the futon bed and rearranging the furniture to do so. Surprisingly sleeping on the floor is not as bad as it sounds. There are western style beds available, if you prefer, but they are limited.
Don't forget to use the bathroom slippers provided. Yes there are special designated slippers for the bathroom. One of the few interesting customs we found in Japan, read about the other customs here.
Overall we loved our experience at Fuji Kawaguchiko Onsen Konansou. It's definitely worth the splurge! We specifically chose to stay in Kawaguchiko in hopes of seeing Mount Fiji but instead was blown away by our time at the ryokan.
It was cloudy while we were there, so we 'settled' for a delicious meal and relaxing hot spring baths. They also had foot baths on the roof tops overlooking the lake. It was particularly beautiful with the unexpected snow fall.
There are so many ryokans to choose from in Japan. Share your experience with us!
Have you stayed at a ryokan in Japan? If not, is it on your bucket list?
Ryokan: Japanese style hotel inn.
Yukata: Casual Japanese garment.
Kaiseki: Traditional Japanese multi course dinner.
Onsen: Japanese hot spring and the bathing facilities that are stand alone & available in ryokans near natural hot springs.
Tatami: Traditional floor covering woven from rice straw. Sizes of ryokan rooms are often expressed in the number of tatami mats.
Zaisu: Japanese chair that have no legs and a normal chair back.
Sukiyaki: Japanese dish served hot pot style, slowly simmered at the table and usually on the sweeter side.