Monday, January 11, 2010

Japanese Ryokans and Onsens

This trip, we got to stay at 2 Japanese ryokans for 2 nights. Actually, because of the huge size of the place, they are more like hotels or resorts than ryokans. But the experience was still very typical of a ryokan so I shall call them that.

I like staying at ryokans very much. It's like the perfect kind of holidays.

In the typical ryokan experience, you would check in to a Japanese traditional room at about 3pm, go about wondering in the small town nearby, come back for a wondering Traditional Japanese dinner, go for a dip in the onsen (hot spring), go back to your room with your futon (bedding set) all set up properly, have a bit of green tea and okashi (Japanese sweet dessert, usually provided in the room) and then retire early.

In the morning you'd wake up to a traditional Japanese breakfast. And if you like you can take a dip in the onsen before breakfast. After breakfast, you can take a leisurely walk around the ryokan and then check out before 12pm.

Of course in this trip, we didn't have the full "ryokan experience" because we arrived rather late each day at the ryokan and checked out pretty early the next day. But it was still a pretty nice experience. Both ryokans were very good and had good onsens. One of them in particular was very special.

Hotel Urashima is a large ryokan hotel located on a little island near the JR Kii-Katsura Station, in the south of the Wakayama Prefecture. You have to travel to the by boat (5 minutes). The hotel is huge and has about 7 different onsens. It has 2 caveran onsens that overlook the sea. The larger and more famous one is called Bokido, or "Forget Home Cave" (忘归洞). It's a rather special experience, taking a hot bath in a large natural cave and watching the cold waves slap onto the rocks just outside.

As I couldn't possibly take a photo in the onsen, the image is from 
http://www.tristar.com.tw/

Inside our ryokan room - the low tables and chairs on the 
tatami mats would be moved aside for the futon at night..

2 comments:

lucy said...

this place sounds interesting... i shall try it if i make another trip to japan

Open Kitchen Concept said...

Oh.. Lucy you should.. if you go around April, you can also go to Kyoto and Nara where cherry blossoms and the traditional Japanese architecture blend very well together.

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