how to stay at a ryokan

1. Find a traditional Japanese inn that accepts foreign guests. The Nunoya Ryokan in Matsumoto came highly recommended.image

2. Find your ryokan and check in. Mine was right on the cute shopping street. Pay in cash, like almost everywhere else in Japan. Ask about the curfew (11:30pm), and shower facilities (close at 11, open again from 6 to 9am).image

3. Discover your room has sliding doors with views over the city, fresh towels and yukata, a comfortable clean futon, and a pot of hot water and green tea waiting. Like a typical ryokan, the bathroom and shower facilities are shared. image

4. Explore the city! Matsumoto is quite beautiful and the downtown area is pedestrian friendly. In some ryokans, meals are included. This one didn’t offer meals so I headed out to a nearby (and very inexpensive) restaurant.

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5. Spend a comfortable night! Check out the next day. If you’re lucky, the owner will let you keep your giant backpack there until your train leaves. This was my last night traveling before heading back to Fujino to stay at the farmhouse one night and collect my things. This was a great way to end my solo journey.

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