RYOKANS providing rooms with private open-air baths
June 22, 2017 update
ABOUT THIS RYOKAN: Biwako Hanakaido
Onsen Ryokan (traditional inns with hot-spring facilities) are a type of accommodation unique to Japan. It’s not the same as staying at a hotel. So, in the hopes that people staying at an Onsen Ryokan for the first time can get an idea of how their stay will unfold, I’ve written a diary of my stay. I hope that this article will be a useful reference.
Arriving at Ogotoonsen Station (おごと温泉駅), 20 minutes from Kyoto Station (京都駅).
Lake Biwa, which is the largest lake in Japan, can be seen from the platform at the station.
A car from the inn picked came to pick us up as we had notified them of our time of arrival ahead of time.
Arrival is about five minutes after leaving the station.
The staff greeted us with a smile.
Checking our baggage and going inside.
There is a relaxed atmosphere and even a garden on the premises.
We were welcomed with tea and sweets.
We checked in while enjoying our tea. We requested dinner at 6 p.m. as we had a one-night, two-meal plan.
Ladies can choose which Yukatas (浴衣) they would like to wear.
You are shown around the premises as you are being taken to your room.
The guestroom is a special room.
Shoes are removed before entering because the floors are made with tatami.
The two pieces of footwear are for travelling through the premises outside the guestrooms.
The view of Lake Biwa is beautiful from the special room because it is located on the fifth floor, which is the highest floor.
The special room includes two Japanese-style rooms.
There is also a bedroom.
The special room includes an open-air hot spring bath!
The washroom has amenities such as towels, a hair dryer, toothbrushes, and space to place the clothes that you remove.
On the other side of the washroom is the open-air bath.
A view of the lake can also be enjoyed from the open-air bath.
There are Sudare blinds (簾) for those who may feel uncomfortable in this setting.
Includes soap, shampoo, and a shower.
The bathroom offers a private hot spring bathing experience for couples as well as families as it is large enough to fit four people.
We decided to relax in the room while enjoying the sweets that were provided.
There is also tea for guests to enjoy at any time.
The tap water in Japan can be drunk, but there was free water available in the refrigerator.
There are vending machines on the premises that sell products such as beverages so you can purchase them and put them into the refrigerator to drink later when you want.
After relaxing for a while in our room, we went over to a main bathhouse, Daiyokujo (大浴場), before dinner.
We change into our Yukatas because Yukatas are what are worn when going to a main bathhouse.
Both a large and small towel were provided.
There were separate main bathhouses for men and women on the second floor.
Marking for the men’s main bathhouse.
Marking for the women’s main bathhouse.
Guests can enjoy both the men’s and women’s baths as they are switched in the morning.
This is a main bathhouse for men from the time of arrival until the following morning.
There is also an open-air bath, Rotenburo (露天風呂).
This bath is for men as of the following morning.
Paid chartered hot spring baths, Kashikiri Onsen (貸切温泉), with reservations after arrival (no advanced reservations).
Thorough Step-By-Step Guide on How to Enjoy Your Stay at Onsen Ryokan
Part 1: From check-in to entering the washitsu with open-air bath (first day)
Part 2: From soaking in the public bath to kaiseki dinner and futon bedtime (first day)
Part 3: From breakfast to check-out (second day)
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