We stayed in a Western style hotel in Yokohama, but chose a Japanese style inn called a ryokan in Kyoto. Tomoko kindly booked us into “Ryokan Ginkaku” from Tokyo, and our experience was priceless. 

The ryokan room has a tatami mat floor, rice paper sliding doors and traditional Japanese furniture. Kneeling on cushions to eat a meal at a very low table is custom, as is sleeping on a futon that is laid on the tatami mat. The same space is used for both the table and the beds. At night, the chambermaid sets up the futons and moves away the table and cushions. In the morning, she comes in again to pack away the beds and set up the table for breakfast. 

I’m not a breakfast person, but Japanese breakfast at the ryokan has been one of my favourite experiences in Japan so far. We had two variations of it at Ryokan Ginkaku — once in our own room for just the two of us, and a second time with Brian and Tomoko in a larger room.

The breakfast was made up many very small dishes that you ate with rice and miso soup. Little burners keep the hot food bubbling away as you feasted on the other delights. We had a variety of delicious seafood (cooked and raw), egg, seaweed, vegetables and tofu, along with green tea and water. Everything about the ryokan breakfast was MAGICAL.

Ryokan Ginkaku strayed slightly from the pure traditional version of a Japanese inn. Although there was a communal bath area, there was also a private en-suite shower in the room. It was also acceptable to wear shoes in most of the public areas, though not in the room itself. In a more traditional ryokan you would remove your shoes at the entrance and wear slippers throughout the hotel.

We saw a few more sites in Kyoto before heading out on the bullet train to Tokyo. While waiting on the train platform I stole some time to catch up on our daily expenses. My outfit for the day day was sightseeing and traveling friendy. Skinnies, blue linen shirt, black sleeveless top worn as a vest, cropped ink blue blazer, flat booties and a scarf.

The sun was out and we were excited to get to Tokyo. We were also looking forward to sleeping in a proper bed. As fun as it was to stay in a ryokan, the tatami mats were a little harder than we expected. I guess we appreciate our creature comforts a little too much!