Great accommodations to experience an authentic Japanese atmosphere and hospitality
If you plan on visiting Japan, there is no doubt you’d like to experience an authentic Japanese stay to fully enjoy your trip. For those who are looking for typical Japanese accommodation in Japan, here are my recommendations: Ryokan (traditional Japanese-style inn), Minshuku (family inn), Kominka Pension (old Japanese-style house like a B&B including dinner) or Short term rental house. Here, I will introduce each of these and explain what makes them special.
|Ryokan: a typical Japanese accommodation||Minshuku: a homely stay at a reasonable price|
|Kominka Pension: an unconventional stay that will make you nostalgic||Short Term Rentals: Rent someone else’s house for a short time|
“Ryokan” refers to a typical Japanese-style inn. The focus is on Japanese-style guest rooms that are often tatami rooms with floor seating, and most ryokan have onsen (hot spring baths), often a key feature. With a female head called Okami-san, a ryokan has several maids who help Okami-san to make sure you have a great stay. They lay out and fold the futon beds, take care of your meals, and assist in any other needs. In some ryokan, meals are served in your room. In others, you can have meals at the restaurant or dining area inside the inn. Often Okami-san come to your room personally or greet you in the restaurant to welcome you. When you see her, you can thank her by saying “Arigato gozaimasu.” Although some ryokan have a bath inside the room, there are hotels that only provide a communal hot spring bath. In some special hotels, on the other hand, there are private rotenburo (open-air bath) attached to the room-these are very popular, as you can imagine. In ryokan, simplified kimono, yukata or samue (monk’s working clothes) are available for you to wear indoors or as pajama. It would be a great experience to wear Japanese traditional clothes in a Japanese-style guest room. Some ryokan also provide a service for renting a proper yukata (summer light kimono) that you can wear outside the hotel. You can truly feel like you are in Japan when you walk around the old city in a beautiful yukata. It will be a memorable experience!
Advantages of a ryokan
You can experience the essence of omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality, including an onsen, delightful cuisine, and excellent service in a ryokan.
Important points to keep in mind about a ryokan
Since ryokan provide meticulous services, it’s important that you arrive on time. When you arrive late for check-in or are late for a meal, make sure to inform beforehand.
A “minshuku” often refers to small, individual or family-owned accommodations. Just like a ryokan, a minshuku also mainly has Japanese-style guest rooms. As a result, many people are appealed by the homely atmosphere and close contact that one feels with local communities here. You can also enjoy meals made using famous, local ingredients and hear stories about the past from the host. You will feel like a part of the community when you stay in a minshuku. Most minshuku have communal baths and toilets that you share with other guests. It has a warm and homelike atmosphere that makes you feel like you actually live in Japan. In fact, quite a few hosts have converted or renovated their own homes into minshuku, which explains the homey atmosphere.
Advantages of a minshuku
You will experience a homelike atmosphere, feel connected with the community and enjoy exceptional hospitality in a minshuku.
Important points to keep in mind about a minshuku
Since you will have meals and share the bath and toilets with other guests, it’s important to respect the rules in order to have a pleasant stay together.
Kominka Pension is a type of minshuku and has gained popularity recently. “Kominka” refers to the old Japanese houses built before World War II. As a result, you can see a house that is characteristic of a folk architectural style as well as experience the manners and customs of the old Japanese lifestyle. Although some houses have been kept exactly as they were, most have been renovated inside in order to provide a comfortable stay without any inconvenience. Some kominka offer original folk activities such as playing Japanese traditional games or creating Japanese handicrafts.
Advantages of a kominka pension
You can take a look at how Japanese people used to live in the olden days, including their house, furniture and tools.
Important points to keep in mind about a kominka pension
Just like in a minshuku, you will share the facilities with other guests in a kominka pension. Therefore, you should respect the rules. Furthermore, most houses are historically valuable, so you should avoid damaging anything.
There are many short term rentals with Japanese-style rooms that you can rent for your stay. Nowadays, some people rent their house or apartment during their absence. As you might have heard of the popular site “Airbnb,” you can actually rent a house or an apartment during certain period of time. Even though you won’t experience Japanese hospitality like in a ryokan or minshuku, renting houses or rooms is becoming a very popular choice for those who love to keep their privacy and independence and save money on accommodation at the same time. When choosing a place, I strongly recommend that you choose one with Japanese-style rooms. You can get a glimpse into how Japanese people live today.
Advantages of a rental house
You can have a valuable experience of how Japanese people actually live at a reasonable price.
Important points to keep in mind about a rental house
Since you will sign a contract with the host, you should check the contract particulars and rules beforehand.
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