Don't forget to take off your shoes

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 June, 2007, 12:00am

Ryokan are usually family-owned and offer a traditional atmosphere and service. Breakfast and dinner feature multi-course local delicacies served in your room. Decor typically includes shoji sliding screens, tatami reed mats and painted scrolls. Guests sleep on futons with Japanese pillows and most ryokan offer communal bathing in onsen (hot baths).

Rates vary from as little as 7,000 yen (HK$450) per person to 100,000 yen for luxury establishments. The rate usually includes meals.

To maintain traditional etiquette:

Remove your shoes and slippers before walking on tatami.

Yukata robes are worn with the left side wrapped over the right.

Don't put luggage or other objects inside the ornamental alcove in your bedroom.

When drinking green tea, hold the bowl with two hands.

Wash and rinse your body before entering Japanese baths - soaking in the water is for relaxation only.

Although there's no tipping in Japan, it's customary to give your room attendant a few thousand yen in an envelope at the end of the stay (don't tip the madam of the house).