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  • Writer's pictureKristin

Japan | Traditional Ryokan Hotel Stay

During our time in Japan we wanted to experience staying in a traditional Ryokan, so we headed back to Kyoto for the experience as there are more Ryokans located there. Although it was a bit out of our backpacker budget, we treated ourselves to it as part of our Anniversary, Birthday and Christmas presents for the year - ha ha! It also worked well to come back, as our previous days in Kyoto were filled with rain and this gave us the opportunity to explore the outdoor spaces - like Maruyama Park and Kiyomizudera Temple.

Kyoto Traditional Ryokan Hotel Experience

The following day we headed back to Kyoto to spend the night at a Ryokan, which is a traditional Japanese hotel. The ryokan we stayed in was a traditional Japanese ryokan and it was by far our most expensive accommodation on the trip, however, dinner and breakfast were included. The best part of the experience was participating in the traditional Japanese culture firsthand.

When we arrived we were taken to our room, which only included a floor covered with bamboo mats and a low table and cushions to sit on for meals. The walls were made of wood and the glass door to the garden outside seemed pretty thin. Inside the building and in the middle of all the surrounding rooms, there was a Japanese garden as well. We were served a welcoming tea and then spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and taking baths, as there was rain and small snowflakes floating down outside! However, a Japanese bath is unique in that you actually have to take a shower first before going into the tub. The tub is like a hot tub, but just without the bubbles. It is very bad to get any soap inside the bath. For the rest of our stay we relaxed in our kimonos, which made us feel even more "Japanese."

Our dinner was a wonderful experience. We were served 5 courses throughout the dinner and had everything from sashimi, to soup and rice to the most wonderful tasting tempura we have ever had!

Dinner lasted for almost two hours and then afterward the manager came inside our room to put down our mats, blankets and rice-filled pillows that we'd sleep on for the night. We went to bed pretty early after watching a couple of Japanese game shows on TV (that were in Japanese).

Breakfast was a traditional Japanese breakfast and consisted of fish meat, rice and various pickled items. Both meals were served on small Japanese dishes.

Gion District & Maruyama Park - No Rain!!

After we had breakfast we headed out to walk around Kyoto in the sunny weather, which was a welcomed relief as our previous time in Kyoto was all filled with rain. We walked up to the Gion District and around the Kiyomizudera Temple that had many cherry blossoms in full bloom. This famous temple was founded in 780 and provided great views of the city, but the cherry blossoms made it magical.

Maruyama Park was full of people enjoying the weather and the cherry blossoms while having picnics on the lawn.

While we were in the park, I tried some green tea ice cream. It seemed odd at first but the taste slowly started to grow on me.

We then caught an afternoon train to Nagoya.

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