A trip to Japan should be more than just another vacation – it should be an exciting and authentic adventure. One of the chief advantages of traveling is the ability to immerse oneself in the local culture and meet people from many different walks of life. Travel is as much of a learning experience as it is a form of recreation, and true travelers certainly understand the difference.
Those who are planning a visit to Japan have many choices at their disposal when it comes to lodging, but those visitors who are seeking an authentically Japanese experience may want to forgo the many chain hotels on the island in favor of a traditional Japanese inn known as a ryokan.
These traditional Japanese hotels are rich in history, style and beauty, and many travelers find these authentic accommodations to be much better than the traditional hotel experience. Even so, it is important for first time visitors to understand the differences between staying at a ryokan and booking a room at a traditional hotel. There are some important differences, and it is important for visitors to be prepared.
As visitors enter the room at the ryokan they will find the floor covered with a traditional straw mat known as a tatami, and those visitors will spend the night on a futon that has been placed directly on that straw mat. This experience can be off putting to some visitors, particularly those from Western Europe and North America, but it is all part of the authentic Japanese culture. It can take a few days to adjust to life in a ryokan, but many guests find that they are both charmed and captivated by the experience, and by the friendliness of their Japanese hosts.
Those who choose to stay in these authentic Japanese lodgings should be sure to indulge in another Japanese tradition – the hot spring bath. Many ryokan provide these soothing and therapeutic luxuries to their guests, and no visitor to Japan should miss out on this wonderful experience.
In many ways a stay at a ryokan is a microcosm of the travel experience. These unique traditional Japanese inns are a world away from the cookie cutter hotel chains that dot the landscape. While the experience can be somewhat perplexing at first due to the many differences in culture and custom, after awhile visitors can relax and enjoy the many unique amenities the ryokan has to offer. After all, traveling is all about experiences and creating memories. Authentic experiences, like staying in a traditional ryokan, are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.