One of the best experiences to have in Japan is a stay in a ryokan, a Japanese Inn. The ryokan is an embodiment of Japanese hospitality, culture, and design. Many of these establishments were founded hundreds of years ago and sometimes even still run by the same family.
Most check in times are around 3:00pm. A Japanese stay at a ryokan may differ from an international visit. The Japanese consider the ryokan to be the vacation destination. This is is contrast to a western mindsets, in which the accommodation is usually just a means to enjoy the physical destination near the place of stay. Staying is a ryokan is to enjoy the quite time and beautiful views from your room. Compared to metropolitan hotels, there will be very few people arriving in the evening. A ryokan stay is all about checking in and enjoying the amenities, atmosphere, and hospitality.
At some point you will encounter the Yukata. The yukata can be worn to dinner, in your room, or evening during a stroll around the ryokan grounds. Put it on, make sure the left flap goes over right flap(the opposite way is how deceased are dressed). Tie your obi and you are set.
You may have been asked what time you would prefer to dine. Preparation of a ryokan meal is time-consuming, precise, with utmost care given to the esthetics, presentation, and selection of in-season ingredients. Your reservation time also gives your room attendant an opportunity to set up your futon for the evening.
Many rooms have private bathing facilities, but the communal hot springs are not to be missed. The hot springs are one of the main reasons for a ryokan stay. Here are a few tips and guidelines to follow to help you enjoy a dip.