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Guest room at the Hiiragiya, Kyoto

Ryokan rooms vary greatly depending on the size, style, price level and tastes of the specific ryokan. The following is an example of what can typically be expected at an average priced, traditional ryokan.

Rooms are typically designed for two to four occupants, although larger groups can sometimes be accommodated as well. They are almost always covered by tatami flooring, with a low table at the center of the room. There is often an adjacent smaller sitting room separated from the main room by sliding doors. This area is typically carpeted, with a Western style table and chairs.

Japanese beds consist of futon (Japanese mattresses) laid directly on the tatami floor. The futon will not be laid out when you first enter the room. Instead, they are kept in the closet during the day to be set out in the evening and put away again in the morning by the ryokan staff. A separate closet offers space for clothing, luggage and your yukata.

Guest room at the Kagaya, Wakura Onsen

Typical elements of the traditional style ryokan room

Besides tatami floors, low tables and futon beds, there are a few elements of Japanese architecture and decor that help to enhance the room's beauty:

Tokonoma

Most rooms feature a small raised alcove with a piece of pottery or flower arrangement and a small painting or scroll. This alcove is called the tokonoma and its decorations are frequently changed to reflect the season. Traditionally, the most important person in the room sits in front of the tokonoma, particularly during mealtimes.

Fusuma

Fusuma are sliding doors covered in heavy opaque paper that are used as doors to closets and to separate rooms. Fusuma may be painted or otherwise simply decorated.

Shoji

Another type of sliding doors or partition are Shoji, which are made up of wooden lattices covered in paper. Shoji differ from fusuma in that the paper used is somewhat transparent, which allows light to filter into a room.

Typical amenities in ryokan rooms

Ryokan rooms are usually equipped with a sink, bathroom and Western style toilet; however, older or budget ryokan may only provide shared toilets and sinks in common areas outside of your room. Ryokan also typically provide a television, mini fridge and a safe in each room, along with complementary amenities such as small washcloths for the bath, toothbrushes and tea for every guest.

Towels and yukata are provided as well, but are not meant to be taken home. Yukata can be worn during your entire stay at the ryokan including to meals, to the bath and to bed.

futon
yukata and towel sets
toilet
sitting room

Ryokan Guide

Page last updated: January 7, 2016