Hot Spring and Reservations: 8 Steps to Enjoy Best Ryokan Experience




I love hot spring and Ryokan (旅館)!!

Ryokan is a Japanese style inn.

It is very popular among Japanese and foreign individuals.


Today I’m going to give you tips on how to enjoy Ryokan fully.





  1. Confirm Date and Check Ryokan

Use your I phone and computer. Find nice Ryokan!

Do research and check review to see what others say.

Things to check are: price, location, meals, hot spring, and special features.


(a) Price is important. Cheap doesn’t mean it is good.

Since you don’t pay tips in Japan, all the price include tax and you pay no extra money.


(b) Location is another factor you need to check.

This is especially crucial if you have no cars.

Most of the popular Ryokan have shuttle bus or minivan.

Some are close from train stations.


(c) Meals matter!

Check their menu. Usually they have special items.

For example, some Ryokan have certain fish as special items, while other Ryokan have certain meat as special items.


(d) Who doesn’t want to take hot spring when staying at Ryokan?

Depends on areas though, Ryokan usually have hot spring.

Some have indoor ones, whereas others have open-air ones.


I always check if the Ryokan has open-air hot spring.

Also I would check if there is any private hot spring.

Some charge for the private hot spring, whereas others offer you free with time restriction.


  1. Make a Reservation

After comparing different Ryokan, pick one and make a reservation.

Easiest way is to use online reservation.

You don’t have to speak Japanese, but just fill in information.

You can also call and make a reservation.





  1. Check Location and Public Transportation

After making a reservation, double check the location of Ryokan and how to get there.

If it is remote area, it is necessary to check all schedules for trains and buses, or you cannot arrive or leave on time.

Also confirm check-in and check-out time and plan your trip accordingly.


  1. Check in

When you arrive Ryokan, check-in just like you do in a regular hotel.

In some Ryokan, you might get some welcome tea and snacks.

After the employees complete the paperwork, you would be taken to your room.

They would explain all the features inside the Ryokan on the way to your room.

Don’t forget to check emergency exit.


  1. Take a Rest and Peek at Hot Spring

Take a rest in your room.

I usually take pictures before I make a mess.

Confirm size of Yukata if you are interested in wearing it.

If you have plenty of time before dinner, go enjoy hot spring.

If you want, you can also take hot spring after dinner.


  1. Have Gorgeous Dinner

Dinner at Ryokan usually have big portion.

There would be a lot of dishes and usually you would get extra rice.


  1. Drink, Go to Hot Spring or Sleep

After dinner you would probably be full.

You could enjoy alcohol or go back to hot spring.

Do whatever you want!


I would usually go to hot spring to burn calories and get ready to sleep.

If I go with friends, we would chat and drink.


  1. Enjoy Breakfast and Get Ready to Leave

Breakfast at Ryokan is usually traditional Japanese food.

It comes with rice, miso soup, grilled fish, Tsukemono such as pickled cucumber, plum, an egg, natto (fermented beans) etc…


After breakfast, get ready to leave.

If you have an extra time, you could go visit hot spring again before leaving.



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 - Hot Spring

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