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Most ryokan serve Japanese style breakfasts, which consist of multiple dishes and feature local and seasonal specialties. Only a few ryokan, especially those with a lot of foreign guests, may also offer a Western style option, while large establishments may offer buffet style breakfasts that include both Japanese and Western dishes.

The time and location of breakfast will be confirmed the night before by your attendant, but it is typically held at the same place that you were served dinner. Like with dinner, there is usually one fixed meal time or a range of times to choose from. Many people choose to wear their yukata to breakfast, but your own clothing is acceptable, as well.

Below is a list of dishes which you will typically be served during a ryokan breakfast:

Rice

Cooked rice is a standard part of most Japanese meals. Unlike at dinner, when rice is usually served at the end of the meal before desert, rice is served at the beginning of the meal during breakfast and eaten alongside the other dishes.

Miso Soup

A bowl of miso soup is another integral part of a Japanese style breakfast. It is made by dissolving miso paste in fish stock and adding additional ingredients such as wakame seaweed, green onion and tofu.

Pickles (Tsukemono)

An assortment of pickles accompanies breakfast. Among the most common varieties of pickles for breakfast are pickled daikon (takuan) and pickled plums (umeboshi).

Grilled Fish

A small piece of grilled fish, usually salted salmon, is a common element to Japanese breakfasts. Typically the fish has been seasoned before being served.

Tofu

Tofu is often served with breakfast, commonly as hiyayakko (cold tofu flavored with soy sauce, dried fish shavings, ginger and green onion) or yudofu (tofu cooked in a dashi soup).

Eggs

Eggs are usually served either fried or as onsen tamago, i.e. boiling at about 65 degrees Celcius (preferably in natural hot spring water), resulting in a creamy, partially set white and just thickening yolk. Onsen tamago are flavored with fish stock and a little bit of soy sauce.

Salad

Breakfast often includes a small salad with either a soy sauce based vinaigrettes or mayonnaise based dressing.

Vegetables

Local, seasonal vegetables often appear again at breakfast and are usually cooked in a style unique to the ryokan or its region.

Natto

Made of fermented soybeans and usually eaten on top of rice, natto has a strong smell and sticky texture. It is often flavored with Japanese mustard (karashi).

Tea

Hot tea is the standard drink served at breakfast.

Ryokan Guide

Page last updated: January 7, 2016