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7 ryokans to stay in Japan

The accommodations offer an authentic Japanese experience with tatami rooms, futons and hot spring baths

More than simple accommodations, ryokans are a real immersion in the culture of Japan. Originating in the Edo period, in the 17th century, these structures have always served to welcome travelers (including, at the time, samurai). Even today its main characteristic is minimalism, with rooms covered with tatami mats, futons placed directly on the floor, onsens for bathing in hot springs and kaiseki cuisine, which consists of meals consisting of multiple dishes made with seasonal and local ingredients. Quickly Travel, a travel agency specializing in Japanrecommends seven ryokans to remain in the country:

1. Hoshinoya, Tokyo

Located in the Otemachi neighborhood of Tokyoor Hoshinoya It looks more like a sophisticated urban hotel from the outside. The interior, however, reveals the modern version of a ryokan: its 84 rooms are equipped with tatami mats, but have contemporary decorations and beds slightly raised from the floor. The spa features an onsen, located under an opening in the ceiling, and organizes activities such as kenjutsu (sword fighting) lessons, gagaku (a type of Japanese classical music) performances and a tea ceremony. In 2023, it ranked 39th on the list The 50 best hotels in the world.

two. Yoshida-Sanso, Kyoto

OR Yoshida Sanso is housed in a former imperial residence of Kyoto: Built in the 1930s, the house mixes classical Japanese architecture with touches of art deco that were popular at the time. After World War II it was transformed into a ryokan with four rooms (equipped with tatami mats and mattresses on the floor), as well as a separate guest house. There is also a kaiseki restaurant.

3. Onsen Konanso, Fujikawaguchiko

In the city of Fujikawaguchikowhich is at the foot of the Mount Fuji and on the edge of Lake Kawaguchior Onsen Konanso It stands out for its natural spas: there are outdoor and indoor solutions. The spacious rooms are in traditional Japanese style with tatami mats. Some categories have a bathtub on the balcony and local postcard views. Book your accommodation here.

4. Asaba ryokan, Izu

OR Asaba ryokan It has a history dating back more than 500 years, with the arrival of the Buddhist monk Yakuro Yukitada Asaba. The man went to the city of Izu to found a temple and, next to it, built accommodation for the monks, which will eventually become the current ryokan. Guests can stroll the temple gardens, set around a lake. The 17 rooms are in traditional Japanese style: there is a central table and cushions for relaxing during the day, which at night are replaced by thick futons placed on the tatami. The property is a member of Relais & Chateaux, an association of luxury hotels that are mostly located in historic properties.

5. Syukubo Ekoin Temple, Koyasan

The ryokan is located inside a more than a thousand year old Buddhist temple, still in operation in the city of Koyasan. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the building features traditional Japanese-style rooms and others with Western beds. The stay includes meditation experiences and gives access to a bath equipped with natural thermal waters. Book your accommodation.

6. Houshi, Komatsu

OR Houshi It is considered one of the oldest family businesses still in operation in the world: the ryokan has been run by the same family for more than 40 generations and has welcomed guests for 1,300 years. Accommodation a Komatsu It stands out for its onsen, with mixed and separate hot spring pools for men and women. Guests can also choose from rooms with futons or Western beds, all with tatami floors. Kaiseki dinners are based on fish. Book your accommodation.

7. Notoya, Yamagata

On the outskirts of Yamagata is the Ginzan Onsenone of the most fascinating villages in Japan There, among many picturesque buildings, the imposing facade of the ryokan attracts attention Notoya, which has more than 700 years of history. Newly renovated rooms can be Western or Japanese in style, and some have an open-air bathtub. The property also features an onsen, a kaiseki seafood restaurant and a bar.

Source: Terra

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