Ryokan (Japanese inn)

A ryokan (Japanese旅馆, literally, travel inn) is a traditionally decorated Japanese hotel.

Prices and Terms

In ryokans, which are designed for tourism, breakfast and dinner are usually included in the price, in the short term, however, it is only possible under certain circumstances, a night without meals (素泊まりsudomari ) to get. The prices are generally between 8,000 yen and 20,000 yen per night and person in a night without meals costs from 4,000 yen per person per night. Usually there is no single room; there is room for sleeping on futons, but the occupancy of the rooms is flexible. There are also ryokans, which are mainly used by craftsmen and business travelers and also offer less service at lower prices.


The rooms are typically Japanese: The floors are covered with tatami mats, sliding doors ( shoji ) covered with Washi and in the room, a small, slightly elevated area that Tokonoma (床の間) is called and in which are a floral arrangement or a can hang calligraphy. Often there is also a porch that can be separated by sliding doors from the room and that is often glazed to the exterior.

In a ryokan there is usually a generous shared (onsen or Sentō ) and common areas, that can be used by all guests. The shoes must be removed at the hotel entrance, where an employee usually receives this and returned to her. In Ryokan the slippers provided by the hotel are worn. It is also possible to wear the yukata provided in the home and outside.

When referring a room in a Ryokan, in the room is usually only an approximately 30 -cm-high table, ready to receive on the most green tea and for the region typical pastry or a corresponding candy. Also the dinner and the breakfast is often served here, but in some cases also the onsite restaurant or dining room. The meals are traditional Japanese and usually very abundant, but often also correspondingly expensive.

After the meal, the table of staff is provided in a side room and laid out the futons on the tatami mats as the night. In the morning they are removed.

History and statutory provisions

Since the Edo period, high-quality hostels Ryokan be called, the term itself is borrowed from the Chinese language. In common parlance, however, he was common until the middle of the 20th century.

The 1948 adopted Japanese Herberg Act (旅馆 业 法Ryokan Gyoho ) divides accommodation establishments in western style hotels, furnished Japanese ryokans, simple accommodation facilities and other accommodations, where many ryokans also carry the word hotel in the name. Ryokan is also the generic term for all types of accommodation establishments in Japan due to the same law.

In 1995 there were 72,600 ryokans in Japan and 7,174 hotels, the hotels, with an average of 75 rooms showed that ryokans, however, only 14 present, the number of ryokans decreases, while the hotel will increase. In many cases, it is for aging owner of ryokans that are normally run as a family, now difficult to find successors.

A well-known Ryokan and one of the most exclusive hotels in the world is 300 years and 12 generations traditionally operated Tawaraya Ryokan in Kyoto. It has 18 rooms, where a night costs the equivalent of about 350 euros. Here already stayed famous personalities such as Jean -Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, Karl Gustav and Silvia of Sweden, Leonard Bernstein, Marlon Brando or Barbra Streisand. The oldest ryokan are founded 705 Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan in Hayakawa and founded 718 Hōshi in Awazu Onsen, Komatsu ( Ishikawa ).