Staying in a traditional Japanese inn – ryokan – must be the epitome of the Japanese experience. I’m yet to get into a kimono and walk the streets of Kyoto or participate in the formal tea ceremony, but I somehow sense that staying in a ryokan could be, by far, the most authentic.
We stayed for two nights in a Ryokan in Yudanaka, and for two nights again in Takayama. In Yudanaka it seemed that almost sixty percent of the guest were Japanese, who visited the area for the weekend. The onsen at the hotel was fantastic, being a big lure in this area. In Takayama, we had no idea how many other guests there were, as breakfast and dinner were served in the privacy of our room.
The rooms were all in Japanese style, with tatami mats (woven rice straw mats, that change from sage green to straw color when aging), futon Christmas beds (the kids loved those), a decorative alcove, and a place to sit. The table is moved away to make space for the futons.
As for the food, in true to Japanese style, everything is done beautifully. Food is theatre, and here they do it well. Herewith a few photos of one of our dinner(s). Many tiny portions, always accompanied by rice and miso soup. May these photos leave you hungry and wanting to taste a titbit.