What is a “ryokan”? What is the difference between a “ryokan” and a “hotel”? Many think that “hotel” translated into Japanese is “ryokan”
but it is not that simple. There is a similarity between “ryokan” and “hotel” in that they both provide a private space of relief for a night
to weary travelers traveling through foreign cultures but there are also striking differences. By far the biggest difference is the methods
through which the guests experience the Japanese-style hospitality or “Omotenashi”.
At a “ryokan”, a dedicated guest attendant displays her expertise on “Omotenashi” culture by serving a full-course dinner either in the room
or the private dining space. Even if your place of lodging is made of traditional Japanese wood construction, if your stay comes with only
breakfast then such an accommodation facility, although wooden in its structure, is a “hotel” and not a “ryokan”. For without the evening
meal, there is no need for the guest attendant to introduce herself by serving welcome green tea to the guests soon after the check in.
Furthermore, there will be no travel enrichening communication between the guests and the guest attendants over ryokan’s specialty dishes
served dish by dish. In other words, what makes a stay at an authentic ryokan so valuable is that the guests are lavished with centuries-old
"Omtenashi" techniqueit by the guest-attending specialists. Lastly, modern Japanese lifestyle has become thoroughly Westernized to a point
where a "ryokan" is one of the few places visitors to Japan may experience truly authentic Japanese tradition and culture.
Please keep in mind that when you are making a reservation through the Online Travel Agent you may think you are reserving a room but
you are in fact reserving a meal plan which comes with a room. You are purchasing the rights for a Japanese tradition of serving two meals
to the guests. Therefore if you have accompanying children of any age, it is important that you include all of them in the count of the
total number of guests.
If you would like to experience authentic “ryokan” while in Takayama please consider staying at Honjin Hiranoya Bekkan Annex.